Date: May 12 2012
ST KILDA is quietly eyeing a return to Moorabbin. In a move certain to be embraced by players, coaches and supporters, the club has begun talks with the City of Kingston that could lead to the club splitting its training time between its old home and the Linen House Centre at Seaford.
While Saints chief executive Michael Nettlefold would only confirm the club was negotiating with Kingston and AFL Victoria over plans to resurrect Moorabbin as a community football hub, The Saturday Age understands the club harbours hopes of training two out of four days a week during the season back at Linton Street should the renovation take place.
The City of Kingston, which fell out with the Saints in 2007 over a proposed redevelopment of Moorabbin, said this week it would welcome the club back. Kingston chief executive John Nevins said the proposed plans were an ''exciting prospect'' for the local community.
''If St Kilda is keen to continue using Moorabbin, we'd be very keen to look at that,'' Nevins told The Saturday Age. ''It is on the drawing board. They have a very strong local supporter base and the people of Kingston remain very proud of their relationship with St Kilda.''
St Kilda's lease at its old home still has 28 years to run.
While the club remains sensitive regarding its relationship with the City of Frankston, which contributed close to $4 million to the Linen House Centre, it has struggled to make the best of the move to the relatively soulless Belvedere Park in Seaford, which both the football and administration arms of the club have already begun to outgrow.
The club's longest-serving captain, Danny Frawley, said last night of the decision to leave Moorabbin: ''The administration who oversaw that move got a lot right during their time at the club but they got that one terribly wrong. It shouldn't have happened and it just seems like it could have been prevented.''
Frawley, who this week went to his old home to have a kick with his 11-year-old daughter, described the Moorabbin playing surface as ''unbelievably good''. Added Grant Williams, the chief executive of AFL Victoria: ''It's a beautiful surface.''
Williams said the AFL was looking at contributing to the funding of the new Moorabbin facility, which houses the Southern Football League in a substandard old building alongside the Huggins Stand. AFL Victoria also has an office at Moorabbin and recently held a meeting at the site of the old St Kilda disco.
Both Williams and Nevins confirmed ''a shared interest'' with the Saints in opening Linton Street up for community use, as well as creating a community football hub to be used by the VFL, the TAC's Sandringham Dragons, the Southern Football League and the 430-team South Metro Junior Football League.
As it is, the Saints still train at Moorabbin at least once a month and more often over the off-season.
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