Basingstoke Town former player and youth coach Steve Frangou made an emotional appeal to the planning inspector as he presented his statement before the hearing to decide on the future of Camrose Stadium.

Steve, one of the five-member group that has been campaigning against Rafi Razzak’s plan to demolish the Camrose ground, pleaded with the planning inspector to listen to the fans during his opening statement.

Referring to the opening statements of counsels for Basron Developments Ltd and the Basingstoke Town Community Football Club, Steve said: “We have seen two highly qualified legal gentlemen putting their foot in their case.

“You're now hearing it from the street, from the shop floor, the fans, who will always be there at a football club, no matter what happens to that football club.

“It's always the fans that suffer.”

Steve then went on to make his points on why demolishing the Camrose ground and moving to Winklebury Stadium permanently is a bad idea for the Basingstoke Town.

His group, named ‘The Case For The Camrose Stadium’, has four other members who have been fans of the club for several decades.

Steve said he started supporting the club in 1973, at age 13.

“Shortly after that I became a ball boy for the club, then a kit boy, before training eventually with the reserves, and then playing for the reserves,” Steve said.

“I made my debut for the first team in 1978 and became a full first-team player and was a member of the team that won the highest honour so far in its history in the 1984-85 season when the club won the southern league division without losing a home game all season.

“I went on to coach the youth team and was the Youth Development Officer before leaving the club in the 1992-93 season for pastures new, having spent 19 seasons for the club.

“However, I follow the club ever since attending games here and there with time.”

David Patridge is another member of the group whose family has a very long tradition of supporting the football club.

His granddad had kept the goal for the club and his cousin had captained the club for many years.

His late father was a fan and a board member of the club for many years, while his mum had been a patron of the club.

David, also a fan of the club, was at one time employed full-time by Mr Razzak as general manager of the club in charge of the day-to-day running of the club between 2009 and early 2013.

Although during that period he quit the general manager position, he was still on the board.

David’s wife Julie Partridge used to run the football club supporters club for Basingstoke Town between February 2012 and May 2013.

“During this time she put on a range of different money-making events in the clubhouse, which were well-supported by the public,” Steve said.

“She also organised all the club mascot Stokey the Dragon’s appearances at schools around the town, which included a penalty shootout for any children against that Basingstoke town goalkeeper.

“Julie resigned from the supporters club when David was forced out of the club. Shortly after this, the supporters Club was wound up. However, the remaining funds were split between the Basingstoke Strikers’ disability team, which the club ran, and around £1,500 went to the club for disabled supporters and a memorial bench.”

David Graham, another member of the group, has been a supporter of the club since 1973.

He has written a book on Camrose, titled ‘Camrose Scandal’. David for a short while, also gave his services to the club, helping the various youth teams during the early 90s.

The fifth member Adrian Donnelly had a stint at the club playing for the first team on a couple of different occasions in the 70s.

“He is a well-known figure in local football around the town and has set up a very successful Facebook page for ex-footballers in the Basingstoke area, and he has done wonders for raising the profile of 'Save our Camrose' appeal,” Steve said.