Great Yarmouth Town FC saved by cash injection
The immediate threat to crisis-hit Yarmouth Town FC's future has been averted by a cash injection which has been hailed as 'a lifesaver.'
On the eve of tonight's extraordinary general meeting which will shape the 114-year-old club's destiny, a local businessman has donated a five-figure sum, saying he could not allow the situation to deteriorate any further.
Mike Smith, managing director and owner of oil industry support company DSL (Derrick Services UK Ltd), said he felt compelled to act immediately after reading of the Bloaters' plight on Friday.
'The club is part of the fabric of the town and it is inconceivable that the situation should be allowed to deteriorate further. The level of our commitment to the club with this sponsorship will ensure that the manager has the funds to both pay the first team and, as importantly, start to build and develop a team for the future. We understand there will also be enough left over to make a significant contribution to the day-to-day expenses of the club.'
Committee member and ex-chairman John Baldry, who helped to broker a deal which has the potential to run for three years as long as the club can get more support from the public and business commmunity, declared: 'It is a lifesaver – it's as simple as that.'
The money means that Yarmouth, founder members of the Eastern Counties League over 75 years ago, will not have to drop into the Anglian Combination as a cost-cutting measure next season – which was one of the proposals set to be discussed at tonight's invitation-only meeting of members and other interested parties at the Wellesley clubhouse (7.30).
The playing budget was axed shortly after Mike Derbyshire took over as manager in September and the lack of cash has made it difficult for him to attract and retain the kind of players needed to remain competitive at Ridgeons League Premier Division level, where side has endured a nightmare season, winning once in 26 games and conceding 96 goals.
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Arthur Fisk, committee member and a former chairman, described Mr Smith's backing as 'fantastic news' but added: 'We cannot be complacent – we have got to do our bit.'
Mr Smith, whose Harfreys Industrial Estate-based company employs 200 people worldwide, hopes his involvement could be the catalyst for other businesses and individuals to come forward. A Norwich City associate director, he declared: 'Our message is simple – if you support your local team so will we.'
Those words come as music to the ears of Yarmouth chairman Colin Jones, who has blamed 'previous financial errors' for the club's dire predicament.
Last month he warned that the club was 'slowly dying' due to lack of manpower and cash and called on local people to prove that they wanted the club to continue in the town.