THE STAND-OFF between Windsor Football Club and The Crown Estate has reached an all-time low after the asset manager continues to renege on its commitment to provide the club with a lease, writes Andy Fitzsimons.

The Estate had said it would ensure football would continue to be played at Stag Meadow but has done little more than to prevaricate when it comes to issuing a sustainable lease.

Back in March, the Estate confirmed that it was not in a position to issue or even discuss the details of a new lease until the club had brought their rent arrears up to date.

However, when Windsor chairman Kevin Stott raised a bankers’ draft for £6,250 to bring their account into the black, the Estate was never available to accept it or meet to discuss the terms for a viable lease.

The Estate has declined to comment on why it has been unavailable to meet with the football club in eight months and whether it has another agenda for the commercial use of the land.

As a result, the club continues to operate on a month-to-month tenancy at will, which does not meet the standard requirements of constitution to play in step five of the National League System.

Speaking to the Observer, Stott said: “I’m appalled by The Crown Estate’s conduct. It says that it has the best interests of the football club, yet in reality does the polar opposite, which makes the club unsustainable.

“Windsor is one of the largest membership clubs in the whole of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. Football has been played at Stag Meadow for 125 years but the current debacle is preposterous.

“The definition of insanity is when you do the same things over and over again but expect a different result.

“How can the football club be sustainable without a lease, and how can we pay the for the outstanding rent if Estate representatives won’t meet with us.”

“There is no resistance whatsoever from club to pay the outstanding rent.”

With no easy solution on the table, Stott has served The Estate with an invoice, which shows the current rent arrears deducted from the revenues the Estate has accrued from the telephone masts at Stag Meadow.

It leaves a balance of £75,206.71 (as of 30 September 2017) owing to the club, based on a 50/50 share of the commercial gains.

Following the dissolve of Windsor & Eton Football Club (Holdings) Limited in 2013, Stott formally purchased the fixtures and fittings including floodlight pylons from the official Crown Receiver, acting for the former club.

Yet, Estate representatives still dispute this, and continue to profiteer from 100 per-cent of phone masts’ revenues that reside on Stott’s personal property, which brings into question the integrity of the Estate and its long-term plans for Stag Meadow.

Stott has now contacted Alison Nimmo, chief executive officer for The Crown Estate, and has said that he will escalate through the parliamentary channels to bring about a resolve.