FOOTBALL fanatic Steve Greaves has spoken about his desire to wake up and kick into life the ‘sleeping giant’ that is Hucknall Town.
Businessman Greaves (56), who was a police officer for more than 30 years, heads the long-overdue takeover of Town.
And although he admits his job won’t be easy after a period of decline at Watnall Road, he is passionate about his plans for the club.
He is determined to resurrect Town’s fortunes on the field and solve their financial crisis off the field.
“I see a lot of potential here,” he says. “I don’t like to use the cliche ‘sleeping giant’ but the facilities and amenities far exceed the level of the league they are playing in.
“With my business acumen and with Michael Johnson and Des Lyttle on board, I am sure things will come right. We have a wealth of experience and contacts.
“There is commitment from all of us. We want to move the club forward.
“The club is a secret success within Hucknall. It’s come from the local colliery team and has been the focal point of the community, so we’ve got to try and reinstate that.
“Our aim is to bring the folk of Hucknall back into their club. We’re just the custodians. It’s their club and every fan has an important stake.
“We will be completely transparent with the fans but that is a two-way process and we need the community to take part.”
Greaves is the boss of the burgeoning family-owned bus and coach company, Premiere Travel.
Formed in 2002 with just two vehicles, Premiere has grown to such an extent that it bought out the hire-coach operation of Dunn-Line earlier this year.
The firm now has a fleet of dozens of buses and runs 46 routes across the county, including in Hucknall and Bulwell.
Greaves, who lives in Gedling, played football for Clifton All Whites and almost made it on to the books of Notts County.
He later managed Gainsborough Trinity and Worksop Town and after moving into business, he became a director at non-league Tamworth where he spent three years.
He is a former vice-president at Hucknall and was even on the brink of making a bid to buy Notts County before the ill-fated farce of Munto Finance and Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2009.
Greaves won’t divulge how much he has forked out to take over Town but said: “We have paid Brian Holmes a considerable amount and inherited all the debt as well, which we are sorting out.
“The club will now be run on a business model. It is vitally important that we are self-sufficient — not just for this league and not just for the next one but for the next.
“It would be nice to go up this season but we have to put Hucknall Town first. Hucknall Town is bigger than any one individual.”
Greaves is full of praise for “the commitment of the playing staff” to get as high as sixth in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South table, having not been paid all season.
“Full credit to the previous manager and his staff for taking the club where they are at present,” he said.
“It also touched my heart to hear that there are people at the club who have had sleepless nights with the financial problems here. It proved there is a good foundation here and good people to take the club forward.”
Greaves’s plans for taking Town forward include the advent of the club’s first-ever board of directors and the revival of the supporters’ club.
“The chairman of the supporters’ club will be invited to every board meeting and allowed to speak to put his views across,” said Greaves.
The new owner is also keen for The Yellows to engage much more with the Hucknall community.
He added: “Michael Johnson is to go into the local schools because the youth of Hucknall today are the club’s supporters of tomorrow.
“When our new ground is built, there will be facilities for schools and youth clubs to use, bringing in much-needed revenue.
“We want to turn ourselves into a community club.”
Greaves is also promising “big-name signings” in the coming weeks and possible link-ups with other clubs higher up the non-league ladder. “And with Des, Michael and Craig Armstrong on baord, we will have probably the best coaching set-up outside the Football League,” he added.