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The GTFC Crisis

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 17/05/2001

The details of the sensational events over the last two days with mass resignations from Grimsby Town Football Club's board have now come to light with the main participants giving their versions of events to The Fishy and the Grimsby Telegraph.

Bryan Huxford who said that the progress of Grimsby Town has been 'thwarted by a personality clash' after both he and chairman Doug Everitt resigned at an emergency board meeting yesterday criticised Dudley Ramsden the majority shareholder after the meeting.

"My biggest disappointment is that this is not about Grimsby Town Football Club, contrary to what might be said, it's all about personality clashes,"

To The Fishy he said, "I had for sometime known that certain members of the Board wanted me to take over from Mr. Everitt as Chairman of GTFC, not I might add for any apparent failure by the Chairman, but for what I can only describe as personnel differences, I had and still have great admiration for Mr. Everitt a man of integrity, strong character, high business acumen and a nice man, how and why should I want to stab him in the back, it is not my way."

This was in response to the proposal that the chairman Doug Everitt be replaced.

Talking to the Grimsby Telegraph he said, "This football club has been thwarted by personality clashes for as long as I can remember. "I'm saddened by it all. It's thwarted the progress of Grimsby Town and I can't be party to that."

Describing the events Bryan stated "Mr Ramsden said he wanted to take a vote of no confidence in Bryan Huxford because if we'd have got relegated the club would have gone into administration,"

"Criticism was levied at myself and the chairman's financial management and administrative control of the football club."

"We stayed in the first division this year and last year under our stewardship. We've not done a bad job and we were criticised because if we had been relegated we would have gone into liquidation - but that didn't happen."

"I then said to Mr Ramsden that I took his concern at the viability of the football club as a lack of confidence in my abilities, 'I therefore resign'."

"That's what happened, it's got nothing to do with what they said in that statement." Said Mr Huxford referring to the club's press statement, which said that replacing the chairman was never discussed but, said Mr Huxford, it was the sole purpose of the meeting.

"They all knew about this because they wanted to replace the chairman with me, but I didn't want to be a party to that."

"I would only have said yes to that at some stage in the future if Doug wanted to have a rest."

When Colin Graves was disqualified from the board for having failed to attend a meeting for six months, the power base swung, Mr Huxford said.

"Mr Ramsden put this on the agenda but when Colin Graves was disqualified from the board at the beginning, Mr Ramsden knew he wouldn't have a majority and couldn't force it through."

"He then tried to have it stricken from the agenda and said it could be left for seven days."

Mr Huxford denied that the meeting had been called because of fears Grimsby Town would have gone into administration had the club been relegated last season saying that was common knowledge among everyone on the board.

"I had made that painfully clear all the way along the line. "I told Ramsden that in January and said that to avoid it taking place, money had to be injected.

"I was the only one on that board prepared to put any money up and I've got copies of the minutes of board meetings to prove it."

The Grimsby Telegraph published the following sequence of events:

12-noon: Board meeting begins with first item on agenda the appointment of a chairman.

Before that Mr Huxford ensures the disqualification of Colin Graves as a director as he has not attended a board meeting in six months.

Mr Huxford then moves a vote of no confidence in Peter Furneaux. This is defeated.

Dudley Ramsden wants to delay the issue of the chairmanship for a week and then questions whether Mr Huxford should face a vote of no confidence.

12-35pm Mr Huxford took this as a slight on his and the chairman's management of the club and resigns, walking out of the meeting.

12-40pm: Richard Lake also resigns and walks out.

12-45pm: Chairman Doug Everitt resigns and walks out. Richard Jackson chairs the remainder of the meeting.

Peter Furneaux is appointed as the new chairman.

2.30pm: Mr Jackson closes the meeting and is believed to have resigned.

Shortly afterwards Mr Ramsden departs, leaving Mr Furneaux and Mr Jim Arnell with club officials drawing up a statement.

4.30pm: Two hours after the meeting is closed, the club release their official press statement.

Mr Huxford then concluded his statement with him saying

"Grimsby Town is bigger than any individual and it will go on. I didn't want it to turn out like this. "My main concern is that the business does not get injured in any way, shape or form. That's not my intention.

"I hope under the stewardship of Lennie Lawrence it's got every chance of going forward and I just hope they've got the wherewithal to retain his services. He's done only good for the club.

"I cast no dispersions on troubled waters and I say one thing, I shall never return to the scene of the crime."

The Club Press Statement:

Grimsby Town Football Club regrets to announce the resignation of chairman Doug Everitt, vice-chairman Bryan Huxford and director Richard Lake from the board at Blundell Park.

At a meeting to discuss the general and financial administration of the company, the three directors resigned from their positions.

The meeting had been called amidst fears for the club's existence had the team been relegated, and several board members expressed a wish to introduce more stringent controls to guarantee the future of the club.

The position of the chairman was not discussed prior to the resignations.

Peter Furneaux will succeed Mr Everitt as chairman, a position he previously held between 1987 and 1994.

Speaking after the board meeting, Mr Furneaux said: "It is unfortunate that Doug, Bryan and Richard chose to resign.

"However, there were major concerns about the club's financial position, and the majority of the board wanted more control over the way money was spent."

He continued: "During my previous seven years as chairman, and indeed under the guidance of Bill Carr, Grimsby Town has always worked within it's financial limitations, and to ensure the future of the club, it is imperative that it is on a firm financial footing.

"The present board will continue to ensure that the club is able to challenge successfully in the first division, and looks forward to the continued support of the fans."

Mr Furneaux also confirmed that the new stadium proposal was still very much in the club's future plans.

Next Story: Stand By Your Man!!

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