“I have spoken with Graham twice on the telephone about his offer to purchase the Club and have proposed a number of purchase scenarios to him. When I took over the Club, the debts were approximately £160,000, but they are nearer half that at present. Although we are not yet out of the woods, I am confident that our position is much improved,” said Harding.
“This morning (Tuesday) we spoke again on the telephone and I accepted the offer Graham made in last week’s Observer to take over my shareholding and therefore the Club, as it currently stands, for just one pound. The only matter that will then require an agreement is my director’s loans. I am happy to write off the vast majority of my loans and Graham agreed that he would come back to me later in the week to advise if he wishes to pursue his interest,” he added.
Commenting on some of the remarks made by Mr. McDougall in last week’s Observer, Lee Harding expressed his disappointment: “I don’t agree with some of Graham’s points about the Club. His suggestion that we have lost a lot of goodwill within our community is, in my opinion, inaccurate. It should not be forgotten that we had universal cross-party support to upgrade our Clarence Park facilities to meet the Conference ground grading requirements and our recent ‘Kids for a Quid’ initiative offering children entry to the ground for just one pound has proved to be very popular, with the next ‘one pound day’ scheduled for our last home match of the season against Grays Athletic on Saturday, 28th April.”
As to being remembered as ‘the man who put up the fence’, Harding accepted that it was true: “Yes, enclosing our ground was one of the primary requirements of our obtaining both a safety certificate and Conference grading for our ground, but I do not accept that we have alienated ourselves from the City and District that we are proud to represent. Our recent Kit Sponsorship Draw has proved to be an enormous success, with over thirty new companies introduced to the Club as sponsors and the proceeds of the draw have already been used to prepare our side for Conference football, with the signing of players like Gary Wraight from Conference neighbours Stevenage Borough for £4,700 and Football League striker Ben Strevans on loan from Barnet.”
As to the future Harding remained upbeat: “We unveiled our latest plans for the new stand at Clarence Park on Saturday and, subject to the views of our supporters, I shall be writing to Paul Tonks, Director of Community Services, at St. Albans City & District Council, as our landlords next week to seek his permission to erect the new stand. If Graham does take over, I would be delighted to remain involved, if invited, to assist in pushing the Club on to bigger and better things.”<p>... ends<p>511 words<p>hmm......<p> images/icons/mad.gif" border="0<p>[ 23 January 2002: This message was edited by: webbo ]</p>