The Trust Board of Runcorn Linnets Football Club has regretfully accepted the resignations of three key board members – including chairman, Derek Greenwood and club secretary, Lynn Johnston.
Derek steps down with immediate effect while Lynn and Rob Johnston, board member for ground maintenance, will continue in their roles until the end the season.
All three are founder board members and their departures will leave a huge chasm at the fans-owned club, in terms of ability and commitment.
Each of them have played leading parts in the formation of the club in 2006, the move to a new hometown ground, The Millbank Linnets Stadium, in Murdishaw four years later and the successful growth of the club.
Rob and Lynn tendered their resignations on Saturday afternoon while in a further, unconnected development, Derek informed the Linnets of his decision to step aside in late Monday afternoon on returning from a three-week holiday in Australia.
The three resignations were accepted at a scheduled Monday evening board meeting with great sadness but full understanding of the reasons and appreciation of the trio’s invaluable contributions.
Mark Buckley, acting chairman in Derek’s recent absence, will continue in that role on a temporary basis – stepping up from vice-chairman – pending a permanent appointment.
Plans are already afoot with regards to a replacement club secretary in succession to Lynn Johnston.
Runcorn Linnets acting chairman, Mark Buckley said: “First of all, we would like to thank on behalf of our Trust members and supporters Derek, Lynn and Rob for all they have done over the last decade or so to ensure not only that we have a club but one of which we can be truly proud.
“They have all been pivotal to the success of the club, which has one of the biggest and best supporter bases in the country at our level of football.
“Along with that, we have a double-winning Ladies team and a thriving junior section with hundreds of boys and girls who are our future first-team players and supporters.
“Derek, Lynn and Rob have been at the hub of all we have achieved and will be very difficult personalities to replace.
“We have, however, developed lasting friendships with them and while they are stepping down in an official capacity, we are sure they will continue to be staunch supporters of the club and will be available to offer help and guidance where they can – particularly through this transitional period.
“Derek was responsible for creating the Linnets Legends section of our website, celebrating the managers and former players of our predecessor club Runcorn AFC. He is now, in our eyes, a modern-day Linnets Legend himself.
“Rob and Lynn are the lifeblood of the club and, like Derek, have put in countless hours of hard work and dedication, often unseen and way beyond their remit, to ensure that the club has continued to prosper and move forward.
“In the week that conditional planning approval was granted for our new purpose-built clubhouse, it is extremely sad that they will not be moving forward with us in an official capacity.
“But they have created their own legacies which we will look to build on over the next 10 years and beyond.”
Derek Greenwood’s resignation is for family reasons and over the last 12 months, plans have been put in place through reallocation of roles and tasks within the board to prepare for such an eventuality.
Derek, a lifelong Linnets fan, said: “I have given my heart and soul to the formation of the new club since 2006, most of that time as chairman, and I hope I have made a good contribution but I really do now feel that I would like to step down with immediate effect both from the chair and the board.
“With only a couple of months of the season now remaining, the board can look at perhaps bringing in newer (and younger! folk) to drive it forward.
“I no longer want the continued pressures that come with the role and it would be unfair of me to stay under such circumstances.”
Lynn and Rob Johnston will continue to carry out many of their regular tasks and duties until the season end.
Lynn said: “I feel now is the time for me to stand aside and give someone else the opportunity to step up to the mark. I would think 10 years is sufficient time and it’s now time for me to become a full-time supporter.”
Rob said: “My job has changed over the last month or so which will mean I am able to spend less time at the club.
“I will be stepping down from the board at the end of the season but meanwhile will update and advise as necessary on any matters concerning the ground.”