Town boss calls for fans’ backing

HUCKNALL Town boss Des Lyttle
HUCKNALL Town boss Des Lyttle

COMMITTED Hucknall Town boss Des Lyttle has called on fans to back his players as dust begins to settle after the club’s latest upheaval.

The Watnall Road outfit has been thrown into turmoil in recent weeks by an off-the-field saga.

It has resulted in chairman Steve Greaves being ousted after a vote of no confidence in his stewardship at a special meeting.

It is still unclear what the future holds for The Yellows but fresh investment of £20,000 has been secured to steady the ship.

Those at the helm in the wake of Greaves’s acrimonious departure have also been boosted by Lyttle’s decision to stay in charge.

Now the ex-Nottingham Forest defender wants supporters to get behind him and his players as they battle to force their way into the promotion play-off picture in Division One South of the Evo-Stik League.

He was speaking after several fans used social-networking sites to declare they would sever ties with the club and walk away because of their disquiet over the Greaves decision.

“It would be a shame if we lost fans,” said Lyttle. “Every fan who comes through the turnstiles will be a big help to us until the end of the season.

“Anyone who comes can help us on the pitch as we go for promotion.

“We are there to entertain and give the supporters a fun or winning afternoon. None of what has gone on off the pitch has changed that.”

He added: “I’ve had the backing. The club want me to stay and I am happy to stay. I’m assured that things will get back to normal and things will be a lot better next season.”

Lyttle and his players had been hoping to make it three wins on the spin with a league match against former boss Tommy Brookbank’s Stamford on Saturday February 4.

But the match — along with the Third-Round Notts FA Senior County Cup tie against Gedling Miners Welfare on Tuesday February 7 — were both postponed due to frozen pitches.

The league match at Watnall Road against Belper Town on Saturday (February 11) is also in jeopardy as forecasters predict more sub-zero temperatures.

Lyttle said: “It has been a big disappointment not to play. We want to keep that winning feeling going.

“All we can do is stay ready and prepare the lads for the next game, whenever that might be.”

During a week when Town have been out of action on the pitch, chief executive Liz Morley says there has been a chance to “regroup” after the fast-paced changes at the club.

She said: “Des has done a good job settling the lads in the face of the upheaval in the boardroom.”

She went on to express disappointment that the Stamford match was axed as “some of the fans have a lot of affection” for Brookbanks.

Morley also took the opportunity to set the record straight by confirming that a salary quoted in last week’s Dispatch for Brookbanks during his time at Watnall Road at £470 a week was incorrect.

Morley has played a key role at the club and has helped guide them through a repayment package after last season’s discovery of an unpaid £87,500 VAT bill owed to Her Majesty’s Revnue and Customs (HMRC).

She said this week: “So many people involved in the club regularly go over and above the call of duty and volunteer an awful lot of their free time to the club, including Dave Gamble (former chairman) and his wife, Gill.

“Gill has given up her Saturday afternoons for many years to look after the officials and committee of visiting teams. It’s easy to forget it is just 21 weeks since the agreement came into place with the HMRC.

“It was a terrible season last year with the discovery of the tax debts, floodlight failure, break-ins and mother nature playing her part with five weeks of football completely wiped out by bad weather.

“We began the season not certain we would have a club at all and Tom (Brookbanks) and Gary (Gary Stones, former assistant manager) agreeing to manage the team for free.

“Dave had wanted to retire for some time but he stuck it out during some tough times. We are about halfway through the season. To date it has turned out to be just as eventful and unexpected as the last.

“We hope the match against Belper will be on but looking at the weather forecast and the state of the pitch at the moment, it is doubtful.

The next step in the bid to resurrect Town’s fortunes is an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Sunday when a new chairman will be elected.

There are hopes that secretary administrative guru Tony Knowles will continue in his role at Watnall Road.

ONCE The Yellows do eventually return to action on the pitch, boss Lyttle will have 26-year-old new signing Craig Reid to choose from. The left-back counts Rugby Town, Loughborough Dynamo and Coalville among his previous clubs.If the Belper game does go ahead, Lyttle will be missing striker Phil Massingham (working in New York) and defender Chris Timons (re-planned holiday) unavailable.