Fleet Town’s search for a new chairman and financial backers is set to be stepped up after the Evo-Stik League Southern club’s officials were forced to tell their players they couldn’t afford to pay them.
The Hampshire club sent out an urgent SOS last week following the death of former chairman Steve Cantle before Christmas from a suspected heart attack.
Blues officials, who dedicated their EVO-STIK League Southern Division One Central derby clash with Farnborough at Calthorpe Park the end of February to their much-missed chairman, told the club’s playing staff last week that they would not be paid for ‘the foreseeable future’.
Fleet Town FC vice-chairman and secretary Richard Whittington launched the appeal for new backers and others to lend their commercial expertise as volunteers in a statement warning fans that the club’s long-term future is in serious peril despite the loyalty shown by their players and management in carrying on as normal since hearing the news.
Whittington said: “Steve’s untimely death has left a massive hole in the club emotionally but particularly financially and we are only now discovering the true financial input of Steve. He was in no uncertain terms bankrolling the playing budget.
“Firstly, I would like to thank our manager Craig Davis, his staff and the players for staying with us, despite the fact that they were informed at the beginning of February that there would be no money to pay them.
“Their performances since Christmas have been fantastic and I am proud to be associated with them so thank you boys. The players and manager have been fantastic and we have only lost one or two even though they have been told that they won’t be paid for the foreseeable future.
“The situation at the club is that we desperately need help both financially and by way of bodies to help on match days and to join the committee to help raise funds for the club. We have been looking and asking for a new chairman to lead us through these difficult times and several fans have been very generous in making donations to the club to ensure that matches go ahead.
“There are many people who are necessary to enable a match to take place and we as a committee cannot do everything as well as hold down our own everyday jobs. That is the paramount concern. If you can help or know anyone who may wish to help especially on the commercial front then please make yourself known to me or any committee members.
He added: “We would like to pay the players, they are the ones who put the numbers through the turnstile but at this moment, as the players and staff are aware, we cannot do that if it is to the detriment of the club. We cannot pay out what we do not have. Without support both physical and financial the club won’t survive.”
“I conclude with how I started by thanking the players for their magnificent loyalty to Craig and the club through these difficult times and thank the supporters for their vocal and personal support since the turn of the year.”