Earl’s death prompts new twist in Cromer football ground saga

The death of an elderly earl looks to have re-triggered a countdown to eviction for Cromer's football club.

At one stage it looked as if the championship winning club would have to move off its historic Cabbell Park ground in January next year under a quirky clause of its lease which ends it 21 years after the death of the surviving relative of King Edward VII.

Town mayor Greg Hayman however uncovered another relative, the Earl of Harewood, which meant the lease run down had not yet been actioned - a claim being checked out by legal experts.

But the earl has now died too, at the age of 88, meaning the 21-year countdown appears to have begun again.

But Mr Hayman has urged the various parties involved in talks over the ground - from the trustees and club to young footballers also hoping to find a home if the senior club relocated to the edge of town - to keep on talking.

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'It is difficult to know what will happen in 21 years' time, and what the complexion of the local authorities will be,' he said. 'I personally feel we should be making sure there is a Plan B and there is a need to keep on talking.'

North Norfolk District Council has already brokered meetings and discussions between all the parties in a bid to find a way forward.

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The football club has voiced reluctance to move off Cabbell Park fearing an out of town site offered on the Roughton Road was not viable.

The local doctors' surgery was hoping to relocate to the current ground - a development which would have helped finance the relocation - but is now looking or other sits because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the ground.

And the town's youth football club was keen to join forces with the relocation, to end its 30-year search for a ground in its home ground - instead of teams having to play in outlying villages.

The new twist in the long-running saga was sparked by the death of the earl, a first cousin of the queen and grandson to King George V on July 11 at his home Harewood House near Leeds.

He was well known in the music world as managing director and later chairman of English National Opera, and as a long-standing co-author of the opera-goers 'bible' Kobbes Complete Opera Book. He was also a former chairman of the British Board of Film Censors.

But he was also known in the football world as president of Leeds United from 1961 until his death and president of the Football Association from 1963 to 1972.

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