A FOOTBALL club has admitted scoring an own goal after an official labelled neighbours “nimby dog-walking Daily Mail-reading blue rinse septuagenarians” in a row over its clubhouse opening times.
The Whitehouse Road pavilion, which is expected to be completed in June, will be used by Hinksey Park Football Club and has agreed opening hours of 9am to 6pm.
But the club has applied to pavilion owner Oxford City Council for a closing time of 11pm from Mondays to Saturdays and up to 10pm on Sundays.
Club chairman Jim Smith last week said it was to accommodate “children’s parties and sports activities... it will not be a social club.”
But members of the Salter Close and Whitehouse Road Residents’ Association have protested against the plans, claiming they would result in “increased noise, traffic and parking issues as well as light pollution” and affect the nearby Grandpont Nature Park.
This week, an official of Hinksey Park FC sent an email to club members to rally support against the neighbours and wrote: “There are some local residents living adjacent to the [pavilion] who are strongly hostile to our club.
“They have been liberally leafleting apparently.
“There is an important meeting taking place next week... if you can possibly make it along to support the club, please do so.
“Let’s not let these nimby dog-walking Daily Mail-reading blue rinse septuagenarians have their way. We Shall Overcome.”
After obtaining a copy of the email, the Salter Close and White House Road Residents Association issued a statement strongly criticising the club.
The residents said: “This is an indication of the contempt the management of the club holds towards our local community. It is inaccurate and offensive.
“There have been perfectly reasonable concerns and the strength of community feeling is very high. Fundamentally, there is a great deal of disappointment from residents who generally supported the original [planning permission] application.”
Hinksey Park FC chairman Jim Smith apologised for the remarks and said the club retracted them.
Mr Smith said: “I cannot deny that the email was sent out and I have spoken to the individual involved, who retracts the statement totally.
“And I speak for the club when I say we apologise profusely if any harm or upset caused to anyone by the remarks.
“It was an internal email, though I would stress that it did not represent the general view of members of the club, about half of whom are South Oxford residents themselves.
“We work extremely closely with the community and hope to continue doing that.
“I am happy to meet with any residents who have concerns about the proposals.”
The club will be leafleting the area over the weekend, Mr Smith added, to explain its plans further to residents.
The club’s application is due to be considered by the west area planning committee when it next meets on Tuesday.