The Camrose is “nestled within the heart of the local communities”, a key reason why it should return to being the home of Basingstoke Town FC, according to the Supporters’ Club Chairman, Martin French.

“Although within the heart of South Ham and close to Brighton Hill, Buckskin and Kempshott, it’s also within walking distance of the town centre, whilst the numerous bus lines drop fans off outside the ground,” he said in an open letter. “A large number of our fans, don’t drive so its location and good transport links were ideal for fans from other areas of the town.”

In the letter, French spoke of the additional social benefits that The Camrose could bring many fans as it did for him and his family: “It was not long before my son joined me to my fortnightly trips to the Camrose. We loved the atmosphere and soon made friends with other fans of all ages and walks of life. We fell in love with the team and counted the days to the next time we could meet-up with friends to watch our team. It was not long before my wife not a football fan back then, joined us and made it our regular family outing. A couple of years on, I was then persuaded by a couple of well-known older fans to re-form the Supporters Club, and as Chairman, this brought me to meet and make new friends, many that I would never meet in normal circumstances.

“The clubhouse was the local area’s social home, many other teams called the clubhouse their home, men’s and women’s darts teams, numerous pool teams, there was even a bingo night once a week. At weekends there were kids football parties, and of evenings, birthday parties and wedding receptions were weekly events in the Camrose clubhouse. It simply met many people’s needs, football, socially and mental health-wise. This Clubhouse, which also generated income for the club, has not been replaced.

“Why is the new Community football club fighting to return to our Camrose some ask? Simply, with the right thought and investment, it would be sustainable and continue to be the home for this expanding Town’s football team, as well as a major sports community hub for the whole town.”

The thoughts of a return to The Camrose as a new community hub are echoed by 10-year-old Lily-Ann Beckingham who was the first and youngest girl to have ever played for Basingstoke Town.

Whilst playing for Basingstoke Town in the Junior Premier League, Lily-Ann was spotted by Southampton Girls Academy under 11s, where she plays now.

“To be asked to play for Basingstoke Town from a grassroots team was a great honour. I may play for Southampton now but my roots will always be at Basingstoke Town,” she said.

“This is why it’s so important for Basingstoke Town to have its own identity, its own home ground - not just for the Basingstoke Town first team but for Basingstoke’s whole community.”

Lily-ann is willing on the Council and the people of Basingstoke to come together to bring the plans of a new modern facility to reality, that the Basingstoke community can be proud of.

“I’m proud to have been a part of it and when it’s time for me to give back I will but for now this is your time, how will you help?”