Town off-the-field soap opera takes new twist

FIELD OF SCREAMS ' all eyes are once again on Watnall Road, where a motion of no confidence in chairman Steve Greaves will be discussed at a special meeting on Sunday
FIELD OF SCREAMS ' all eyes are once again on Watnall Road, where a motion of no confidence in chairman Steve Greaves will be discussed at a special meeting on Sunday

THE FUTURE of Hucknall Town Football Club is again in doubt after the ‘soap opera’ surrounding Watnall Road took an unexpected twist that could see the new owners ousted.

For a one-off ‘special meeting’ has been called on Sunday (January 29) with just one item on the agenda — a proposed vote of no-confidence in chairman Steve Greaves, who has been at the club for only three months.

More than 60 people connected to Town are eligible to vote at the showdown meeting. These are committee members, social club members and those who have signed up to a shares scheme to help turn The Yellows into a limited company.

The summit has been arranged after an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) last Sunday, aimed at resolving the crisis engulfing the club, was called off at the 11th hour.

But worried fans fear that Town could collapse if Greaves and fellow owner, ex-professional player Michael Johnson, are ejected.

With them could go thousands of pounds of promised investment, which is needed to solve Town’s financial crisis, plus high-profile manager Des Lyttle and many key players.

Greaves has been out of the country on holiday but is scheduled to be at this Sunday’s key meeting.

Chief executive Liz Morley said that should the motion be passed, it would demonstrate a “lack of faith” in Greaves.

Any outcome would have to be ratified at an EGM but it would lead to Greaves being asked to relinquish involvement with the club.

Greaves has been unavailable for comment. But Jamie Swift, who is Greaves’s public relations officer at Town, said his boss was “flabbergasted” at the way things have developed.

He added: “Our position is completely unchanged. All we want is some control over the finances and to make sure the money is being properly spent.”

The Dispatch reported previously that Greaves and former Birmingham City, Notts County and Derby County defender Michael Johnson were prepared to walk away from the club.

They arrived at Watnall Road last October after the club was plunged into the doldrums by a shock VAT bill of more than £80,000 and forced to return to amateur status.

But the duo promised a bright new start, appointed ex-Nottingham Forest defender Lyttle as boss and returned the playing staff to semi-professional standing.

However, they now say their vision for the club is being blocked amid a breakdown of relationships at a high level at Watnall Road.

Greaves even stated that he had “never known a business run so haphazardly”.

He and his team prepared a list of proposals for last weekend’s meeting under the banner ‘The Fightback Begins’. Many centred on the overhaul of financial management at Town, complete with the removal from her post of Morley.

These proposals were made public this week but have been overtaken by the arrangement of the special meeting.

The latest crisis has sparked a storm of comment on the club’s unofficial fans’ forum website and the social-networking sites, Twitter and Facebook.

Fans have made it clear that they back ‘Team Greaves’ and their proposals for the club.

But a statement from current officials at Town declared: “The club were very disappointed that the meeting of members scheduled for January 22 was adjourned.

“The EGM was called with the full knowledge of the chairman, who had communicated to the club before his holiday that he felt his position was untenable and was standing aside.

“After the club’s struggles in the summer to deal with the debts to HMRC, we had hoped for more stable times ahead.

“We understand it is a very frustrating time for the fans and look forward to the matter being resolved, one way or another, this Sunday.

“Des Lyttle and the lads did a tremendous job of putting the trouble off the pitch to one side last weekend (in a 2-0 home victory against Romulus).”

A FREE coach is being laid on by Greaves’s Premiere Travel bus company to ferry 49 Town fans to the Brigg game.