More manpower needed to run Long Melford

LONG Melford Football Club’s owner Lee Harding believes he needs to get more people involved in running the club to keep it trouble-free, writes Russell Claydon.

Celebrations of reaching the Suffolk Senior Cup final at Ipswich Town have been dampened by off-the-field problems, now including having its electricity supply cut off (restored last Wednesday) over unpaid bills as well as the holding company being dissolved by Companies House for ‘consistent non-compliance’ with returning tax forms and annual accounts since August 2009.

The home match with Downham Town on Saturday also only kicked off on time due to a first-team player going to another nearby club to obtain the right branded football while the bar’s broken chiller means alcohol continues to be sold by the can.

Harding, who holds 100 per cent of the shares but has to entrust all matters to his chairman Alf Woodhouse and vice-chairman Simon Garden under Football Association regulations, due to his involvement as the current chairman of Braintree Town, feels recent events show sharing the load among more volunteers is now needed.

He said: “It is sensible to start the process of trying to get more people involved to share the burden.

“I understand it has been tough for them (Woodhouse and Garden).”

He added a meeting will be called once the club is back on an even keel, with chartered account Andrew Stopps currently submitting accounts back-dated to 2009 before filing an application for Administrative Restoration of Long Melford Football Club 2002 Ltd to Companies House.

Garden, who is solely in charge of the club’s finances, was unavailable for comment this week but has previously told the Free Press the company was dissolved 12 months ago due to an ‘admin mix-up’.

Harding said Garden had not returned his calls but he had spoke to him after driving to the club for an unscheduled visit this week.