By Hugo Varley
Former chairman Les Hare says plans to re-form North Ferriby United are developing rapidly with former players rushing in to help.
Hare, who was chairman of the Villagers for 22 years before stepping down in 2015, is currently leading a consortium to resurrect North Ferriby in the Northern Counties East Premier Division at Step 5 after the club were wound up in court last Friday with unpaid debts of £7,645.25.
And the former chief, who oversaw a golden era at the club, including winning the FA Trophy in his final season, told The NLP: “It has been an extremely hectic few days, but I am so motivated to bring this football club back. Things are progressing well and we have had lots of talks with the FA and local leagues.
“In a strange way, the events of the last few years have pulled everyone closer together and there is a really strong feeling of goodwill.
“I have had players from 10, 15, even 20 years ago calling me up and offering to help in any way they can.
“I had one former player who works up in Scotland saying that even if we need someone to carry water onto the pitch he will be our man.”
Last Friday’s judgement marked the end of a catastrophic three years for the Villagers, which had seen the club plummet from the National League to the foot of the Northern Premier League.
At the same time, attempts by former owners Jamie Waltham and Carl Chadwick to both re-locate and re-name the club to East Hull FC had sown unprecedented levels of hostility and alienation among the fan base.
“It is a complete tragedy what happened over the last few seasons,” Hare added. “You wouldn’t wish it on any football fan.
“It is almost criminal that we have had a situation where a football club, which is an institution for the village, has had to endure such a difficult period. It is virtually a lifetime’s work that has now disappeared.
“I just didn’t see any logic in the previous owners’ plans; it begs the question why do people get involved when they have ulterior motives?
“We used to have one of the highest levels of local participation among teams in Non-League and the club was the heartbeat of the village, but over the last three years the ownership seemed hell bent on closing it all down.”
Both Waltham and Chadwick had previously claimed that the Villagers’ relatively low attendances had made running the club increasingly difficult, however Hare directly refutes this argument. He continued: “I know North Ferriby isn’t the most supported club in the world, but it’s the area’s club and you have got to cut your cloth to suit.
“I read comments which said that the club needed X amount of people to come through the turnstiles but from my experience gate receipts are only about 20 per cent of your overall income.
“You have got to work hard to generate money through sponsorship, commercial arrangements and general fundraising.
“Over the last three years almost every single fundraising event that the club had previously introduced was let go.
“For about 40 years the word ‘owner’ was never in the club’s vocabulary. It was a community club that operated in complete transparency and was worth its weight in gold to the local area.”
Meanwhile, Matthew Kempson, who played a leading role in the ‘Save North Ferriby’ campaign, told The NLP: “Last week’s news brought about a real sense of sadness and anger that things had got to that stage, but I think that it was inevitable.
“Talk of the re-founding of a community club gives us real hope though, and hopefully we can now have a club which has the local area at its heart.”