TOWN IN TURMOIL: chief executive defends her stance

CHIEF EXECUTIVE LIZ MORLEY -- 'a lot of what Steve Greaves has said is absolutely false'.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE LIZ MORLEY -- 'a lot of what Steve Greaves has said is absolutely false'.

LIZ Morley, chief executive at Hucknall Town, is not one for shouting from the Watnall Road rooftops — nor indeed for seeking any kind of publicity.

As she explains, she has been at pains throughout the latest Hucknall Town ‘soap-opera’ not to get involved in a public slanging-match with ex-chairman Steve Greaves, who has been ousted after a vote of no confidence from club members.

But she now feels it is vitally important that some of Greaves’s allegations about the financial management of the club are answered.

And she vehemently believes that many fans have been sucked into supporting Greaves, and sympathising with his removal as Town chairman, because they have heard only one side of the story.

“As chief executive of the club, I report to the committee and to the trustees — and I duly reported my concerns,” says Morley.

“Steve says he has pumped more than £20,000 into the club. This is not correct. The funds that the club saw amount to about £12,500.

“But from the period that he walked through the door to when he left, there are still £15,000 worth of bills outstanding — for things like electricity and water.

Of Greaves’s claim that his injection of cash was a loan, Morley retorts: “He didn’t have the authority to take out a loan. Loans need to be approved by the club.”

Of Greaves’s threat to go to the courts to retrieve his money, Morley retorts: “We have all the evidence we need to fight any legal action.”

And of Greaves’s claim that he was never allowed to see the club’s books, Morley retorts: “I have an e-mail from his finance man, confirming that he had all he needed.”

Morley does not pretend to deny that she did not see eye to eye with Greaves. But significantly, she has won the admiration of club president Brian Holmes, who has nothing but praise for the efficient way she has guided Town through their financial and administrative minefield since they almost folded under the burden of their £87,500 VAT debt.

That debt is now well on its way to being paid. A total of £50,000 was paid off to HMRC immediately, via £25,000 raised through a public appeal, plus £25,000 via a loan from ground-owners, Welbeck Estates. The rest is being paid off in monthly instalments of £1,500.

However, other debts linger — and Morley believes Greaves was in danger of neglecting these, in favour of the club’s playing budget.

“As part of our agreement with HMRC, we must convert to a limited company this summer,” she explains.

“But to become a limited company, Notts FA says we must have all our football debts paid off. These are for things like ground repairs and bills for buses to away games.

“There are other creditors, with whom we would have to have an agreement to transfer their debts to the new company.

“A lot of people were convinced by Steve. But I don’t think he would had the funds to put the kind of team on the field he wanted and pay off all the debts as well.

“If people could really see what happened to the club’s finances during Steve’s reign. I think they would be shocked. We can prove that a lot of what he has said is absolutely false.

“I am going to write to all the members with the details.”

Morley accepts that there would have been controversy whichever way last Sunday’s vote went.

But she says she was personally hurt by the criticism of the decision by former chairman Dave Gamble (SEE PAGE 34), especially as she says she supported him during his time in charge, which was often plagued by health problems.

“I am mortified by the way Dave has behaved,” said Morley. “After all, the club was virtually bankrupt when he appointed Tommy Brookbanks as manager on a three-year contract worth about £470 a week.”

Morley also revealed that Brookbanks had a bigger budget for players’ wages than Des Lyttle’s current package, which is believed to be about £1,200 a week.

Despite the dramas and the disputes, Morley remains upbeat about the future of Town. She reiterates Holmes’s call for more volunteers to step forward. But she disclosed that three new committee-members had already been attracted since last Sunday’s vote.