SUPPORTERS of Farnborough Town are planning a series of drastic measures in order to save football in the town after news of a possible merger between themselves and Ryman Leaguers Kingstonian were leaked by the Surrey club late last week.

Fans and the entire local football fraternity alike have been incensed by a statement released by Kingstonian's administrator Nick Hood on Thursday which confirmed that ambitious Boro chief Graham Westley had made an official approach to bring the two units together and return to the club he once managed.

But, while admitting that negotiations with the cash-strapped K's had taken place over recently, including two previous failed attempts to groundshare, Westley still insists that it is far from a done deal.

He said: "There has been a flurry of press activity because the administrator at Kingstonian mentioned that I met with him last week.

"I met with him back in October and November of last year and I've been in dialogue with Kingstonian for a long time. Discussions have continued and are continuing but there is no more fuss due now than there was three or four months ago.

"We've got a lot of trouble with Rushmoor (Council). We need our ground up to Football League standard otherwise we can't compete in the Conference even with effect from 2004.

"We have got an urgent need to do something, they [Kingstonian] have a Football League standard ground that suits us and we will continue to be in discussion.

"I wouldn't rule any options out and will continue to explore all of these options. As soon as I've got something to say about the matter, I will say it."

While it hasn't come to much surprise that news of discussions between the two parties to create this 'marriage of convenience' dubbed Kingston & Farnborough United, had been confirmed, this is the first indication yet that such a move could actually become reality.

Kingstonian have been in administration for four months and are on the brink of death, while Boro desperately need their Football League standard ground of which to harbour Westley's ambitions.

If this is realised, very few Boro fans have said they will travel to Kingsmeadow to watch a side with precious little local connection.

Meanwhile, the battle against Westley to keep senior football played in Farnborough, gathers further momentum.

But before such a merger can go ahead, several issues need to be considered. It would require the approval of the Football League, the Nationwide Conference and the Ryman League — and that is where Farnborough fans could get their way.

John Moules, chief executive of the Nationwide Conference, offered Boro fans a ray of hope when saying: "Farnborough failed in their bid to share after falling foul of the league's conurbation rule. I won't prejudice, but if a club moves, the Conference has one simple rule - and that is conurbation."

The Football Association are also eyeing the idea with caution, previously insisting that the new club play in the lower division of the two [the Ryman premier division], while Ryman League chiefs seem a little more flexible.

While seething at an apparent lack of consultation from Westley, Boro fans claim they need assurances that football will return to the town within the next five years at the most, in order for them to back him. Indeed, the prospect of using Cherrywood Road as a Youth Academy for the 'new super club' might not be enough to convince them.

Naturally, reaction to the move is far different across the county border with Kingstonian looking to gain all that Farnborough have achieved since Westley's reign started in the summer of 1998.

Both parties agree that any new team must be in the Conference [earning the K's automatic promotion], while their debts will be written off.

They will also inherit the talented FTFC squad, including the likes of former favourites Gary Patterson and Steve Farrelly, who made the switch to the AIMITA Stadium in the summer.

Boro fans are now actually talking the possibility of protests at the forthcoming derby match with Woking next Tuesday, while a group set up to battle against previous rumours three years ago, is likely to re-form to decide its stance in the coming weeks.

The Farnborough Town on the Web (FTOTW) website team collectively believe that Rushmoor Council must also take their share of the blame for Westley pushing for a merger.

An official statement read: "The alternatives are stark. Either relocate to another site in the Farnborough area with planning permission for the hotel, leisure complex or whatever will pay the bills, or pursue a merger that will achieve the same end.

"The first option has been afflicted by, let's be charitable, some of the most embarrassing attempts at negotiation ever seen.

"There has been a complete failure by FTFC to understand the needs and concerns of a local authority that has lost ratepayers' money before by getting involved with football club finances (Aldershot FC RIP), while, for their part, Rushmoor has given every impression of not recognising an opportunity if they tripped over one."