Lionel Newton quits club
The club have made the shock announcement that the Chairman, Lionel Newton, has resigned his position in protest of the lack of backing from local companies and also because of the apathy from the local council and fans alike.
I had been told of the imminent news yesterday by concerned fans and had been asked to put something on Harriers-Online about it but because of the very sketchy background I thought that it was better to wait for the official announcement.
There was also the problem of being a KHISA member that I could not be seen to be propagating unrest if the rumour was unfounded.
The question now will be who will take over Lionels seat. Colin Youngjohns is the Vice-Chairman and he will take over Lionels duties in the interim but the club will now need to find a genuine replacement soon before the vultures move in.
Below is the full statement from Mr Newton as placed on the official site:
A STATEMENT FROM LIONEL NEWTON
I have decided as of today to resign as Chairman and Director of Kidderminster Harriers Football Club as I feel I cannot take the club any further.
When I joined the Board in Spring 1996 the club had huge financial debts which I personally cleared, and also in the last six years I have been the main benefactor.
During this period we have sold all the Board sponsorship in the entire stadium which has never been achieved before.
We have also sold all the executive packages, restaurant packages, corporate hospitality and many social functions that we can during this period.
I have improved the facilities in and around the stadium for the benefit of the fans, staff and the football team.
This has made Aggborough Stadium one of the nicest grounds in the Third Division.
We have raised the profile of the club nationally by appointing ex-Danish international and Liverpool star Jan Molby who has achieved league status in the first year of his management.
Jan has currently built a team of players who are playing the most attractive football this club has ever seen and are currently sitting in the top half of the Third Division.
They are only a few points from the play-off position. This is the highest position this club has ever played at in its entire history.
It has been a great disappointment to me personally, in view of the great success we have had on and off the field over the last three years, that we have not been supported by the largest companies in the town with any large sponsorships such as Brintons, Victoria, Sealine and many others during this time or before.
This is a great shame as this is a local community football club mainly for the benefit of Kidderminster people.
Also our fan base has decreased by over 16% on last year's gate attendance. This has put extra financial burden on the club because of the budgets set of gates required of 3,500 paying fans to break even.
I have reported through the press and media "many times" that I have spoken to the Local MP (past and present), Dignitaries, the District Council, the business community and the fans that unless they get behind the team I would have to reconsider my position.
It is a great shame that it has come to this as we are the first and only league club in the County of Worcestershire.
This club has a great Management team and deserves much better support by the total community.
I would like to thank my fellow Board members, Manager Jan Molby, players, management team, volunteers, local companies, Friends of the Harriers, Kidderminster Harriers Independent Supporters Association (KHISA) and hard core supporters during my time as Chairman for their loyal support over the last six years.
Both my wife and I have not taken this decision lightly, but now I hope my decision will make local MP, Dr Richard Taylor, the dignitaries, District Council, the largest companies and the floating supporters in this town and district stand up and be counted.
It would be a great shame for this club to lose its League status through lack of commitment and support which has taken 114 years of hard sweat and tears to achieve.
I sincerely wish Kidderminster Harriers Football Club every success for the future.
Lionel D. Newton
I won't say I told you so but if anyone would like to join KHISA then now is the time because I can see troubled times ahead.
We have now joined the long list of clubs in turmoil.
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