Once upon a time there was an ambitious young rugby club, playing on a scrap of a ground in Exley, nothing more than a mud bath near to a one-time zoo. Club officials realised that in order to progress, they needed a much better ground to call home. They approached the council about using a former rubbish tip on the edge of town, a much more suitable location for a club with aspirations of representing the town in the Football League. The council agreed generous terms for the first few years, and club officials, players and supporters set about converting the place into a home to be proud of.
For the next 77 years they remained the sole, faithful tenants. Apart from a short period in the 1980s, the club always paid its rent and fulfilled all related obligations such as paying rates, etc. In fact, the plucky rugby club showed their ambition by not only maintaining the facilities but by improving them whenever finances allowed. It wasn't particularly glamourous but it was home nonetheless, built by the club and paid for by the club.
In 1997 circumstances presented themselves which would allow the rugby club to convert the Shay into a truly modern stadium. At the same time, the town's local football club, struggling under a heavy weight of hidden debt, saw an opportunity to solve all their problems. They petitioned the rugby club with a request to share the Shay, a controversial proposal given they had earlier refused to countenance allowing the rugby club to share their ancestral home, but they sweetened the deal by agreeing to help pay for the redevelopment of the stadium. Within a few weeks they had not only convinced rugby club officials to share their home, but also to be braver and bolder with their plans for the stadium, pushing against the boundaries of what both could collectively afford.
The football club moved in, immediately changed the wallpaper and gave the stadium a new name. The rugby club tutted but concentrated on the redevelopment, keeping a careful log of what the football club would need to repay. Alas, when it came time to pay their share, the football club simply turned their pockets inside out and shrugged their shoulders. There was no cash. No promised pot of gold. There was, however, a giant comedy cheque which they used to pretend to pay, and happily the local newspaper obligingly took a picture to help make the local community believe the lie.
The rugby club began to struggle to keep up with the mounting redevelopment costs and works eventually ground to a halt, but not before - in desperation - club officials had made some stupid decisions, cutting corners and choosing completely inappropriate contractors so that work could continue.
It was a sad state of affairs that ultimately contributed to the club going bust.
The football club wasted no time in telling the world that they alone would save the Shay. Within a few years, with the rugby club having reinvented itself against all odds, the football club decided to stop paying rent, inventing spurious excuse after spurious excuse to justify their actions. They used this mountain of debt as a bargaining chip when a southern spiv decided to try and buy the stadium from the council. Luckily - and thankfully - supporters of the rugby club spotted the rouse and managed to put a stop to it.
Many supporters of the football club realise how badly their club had behaved since moving to the rugby club's ground in 1998. Many more think the sun shines out of the football club's arse, and that supporters of the rugby club are unreasonable for not wanting to hold hands and sing kumbaya.
The football club sold their ancestral home and then tried to take the rugby club's from under them. They are a disgraceful nest of thieving, unscrupulous bastards.
Wait. Stupid autocorrect. Swap the clubs around.