Cornard United

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CORNARD United owner Chris Symes has told the Suffolk Free Press he is ready to sell the club after two bidders emerged for the Blackhouse Lane outfit.

But the Ridgeons League First Division side, who despite being rock bottom cannot be relegated this season due to a dearth of teams in the division, would only be sold if he received his asking price of £25,000.

The Cornard legend, who has presided over the club as owner, secretary, manager, coach and groundsman in his 17 years at the helm, looks likely to move back to Blue Square Bet South side Braintree Town and take up a backroom role.

“I have had two offers for Cornard, one is a bit dubious and the other one is fairly solid,” said Symes, the current longest serving manager in the Ridgeons League.

“If I get a reasonable offer for the club then I’ll go.”

Cornard, whose current council-owned ground at Blackhouse Lane has a capacity of 2,000 with seating for 250 and floodlights, rose from the Bury St Edmunds & District League in 1964 to step five football in 1990 - winning the Jewson First Division league title and Jewson League Cup.

In 1996/7, after the club’s benefactor moved on, Cornard were relegated back to the First Division, their current status.

As a result, Symes dipped into his own pocket to keep the club afloat in the lower regions of the league.

This season saw Symes axe the reserve team due to a lack of funds, although he claims their under-16s are the best young crop in East Anglia. They are on course to win the prestigious Eastern Junior Alliance (Suffolk division).

Regarding a successful bid for Cornard United, Symes added: “It would not cover my investment.

“My investment has been £50,000, I would probably go for £25,000 to be honest.

“I have told them (the bidders) the figure and I have been invited back to Braintree where I was a very successful manager and director, so that is in the pipeline as well.”

He added: “My wife wants me to pack up, but it would be stupid to give up £50,000 when we have no debt and it’s in a good position to sell.”

Symes also revealed he was on the verge of selling the club last year, but the deal fell through in the hands of the solicitors.

Cornard’s renowned pitch has seen Everton, Charlton and West Ham, among others, train there before playing Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

The playing surface was considered so good in 2006, he was made East Anglia groundsman of the year by the Football Association.