THE worst season in Hucknall Town’s history will NOT result in the club disbanding, officials promised this week.
And Town have also disclosed that they will NOT be relegated from the Evo-Stik League after winning an 11th hour reprieve.
The Yellows’ existence is hanging by a thread. On the field, they are bottom of the Division One South table after picking up only one point in their last 17 matches. While off the field, they are crippled by debts that amount to more than £80,000.
But defiant Liz Morley, the club’s caretaker chief executive, told the Dispatch: “We are definitely carrying on until we can’t.
“It will be a challenge to meet the agreements we have with our creditors. But as long as we can, we will continue.”
Morley is confident of ironing out a new deal with HMRC over Town’s long-standing VAT debt, which now amounts to about £25,000.
And once that has been sorted, the Evo-Stik League will rubberstamp their stay of execution.
The league have decided to relegate just one team, which will be Rainworth Miners Welfare, who made a specific request to drop back into the Northern Counties East League because of financial pressures.
However, Morley accepted that the decision was greeted with “mixed emotions” at Watnall Road, with many wondering if Town would be better off trying to rebuild their reputation at a lower level.
“We can see both sides of the argument,” she said.
“It is exciting to stay in the league because, once you’ve dropped out, it’s a long road back.
“But we do realise that the quality of football we are playing has to change. The fans can’t keep watching the kind of performances we have had this season.
“We have a loyal core of supporters, who deserve medals for coming along week in, week out.”
Staying in the Evo-Stik might make the club more attractive to potential investors.
But until one comes along, Morley says Town’s financial troubles mean they will remain an amateur club for the foreseeable future. So they will be the only side in the division unable to pay players.
“You never what might be round the corner,” she added. “But until our debts are cleared, we can’t pay players.
“We will not jeopardise our repayments. The club cannot make the same mistakes again.”
The one outstanding question Town need to resolve now is the identity of their manager for next season.
Caretaker Darren Kelk is yet to win a game since arriving in January, but he has worked wonders to field a team every week and has made it clear he would like to stay with the club.
“I have outlined my plans, and I am confident we can consolidate in this league,” Kelk said.
“I have a lot of contacts in the game, and I have an extensive list of players I would like to sign. They would come for nothing but I would like to aim for a stringent, structured budget whereby we pay out-of-pocket expenses.”
Kelk is also certain the relegation reprieve is good for the club. “It would be ideal if we had a crystal ball and could say that by going down, we could return in three years’ time.
“But we haven’t got a crystal ball and I believe it would take ten years for this club to get back into this league.”
Said Morley: “We can’t fault Darren for putting a squad together in recent months. We are pleased with the level of commitment he is showing, especially as he’d doing it for nothing.
“We need to sit down and talk with Darren about the future to see what he thinks he can achieve next season.”