Wealthy businessman Rob Northfield to motivate Harrogate Railway to beat Evo-Stik drop

Rob Northfield

Rob Northfield

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Wealthy businessman Rob Northfield has insisted he is "not staying around” at Harrogate Railway after making a surprise return to the club.

Northfield will take up an advisory role at Station View until the end of the season in a bid to help the struggling club beat the drop.

Nigel Corner will remain as chairman but Northfield may add some financial clout to the cash-strapped outfit.

Railway lie second-bottom in Evo-Stik First Division North after a run of just one win in 15 matches.

Northfield, who owns the Harrogate-based motivational speaking company 2inspire, said: “I really want to make sure that they stay in the division. If they go down it will take them 20 years to get back into it.”

Corner said: "He has seen the club struggling and thinks he can help.

Luck has gone against Harrogate Railway in recent weeks and they lie second bottom in Evo-Stik First Division North (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Luck has gone against Harrogate Railway in recent weeks and they lie second bottom in Evo-Stik First Division North (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

"If he can help in any shape or form it will be good.

"It will ensure the club have a successful end to the season, and that would be to survive relegation."

As well as adding funds at Station View, the motivational speaker is likely to have an impact in a support role to boss Lee Ashforth – which the boss is happy to accept.

Northfield added: "I help people think differently for a living and therefore behave differently. That’s what I hope to do in supporting Lee.

Northfield took over as chairman at Railway in 2007 and was in charge of the club's run to the FA Cup second round in the same year

Northfield took over as chairman at Railway in 2007 and was in charge of the club's run to the FA Cup second round in the same year

"I don’t believe in change. I do believe in supporting him and supporting the players."

Ashforth added: "Everything he said to me was positive about the way he would want the club to go forward for the rest of the season.

"He came up with some ways that he could help me. He’s made me have a bit more of a positive outlook on it and help me get that across to the players.

"I think Rob will be really influential over the next few weeks with the support that he can add."

Northfield was chairman at Railway in 2007 prior to the club’s historic FA Cup run in the same year.

However, his exit at Railway in November 2008 left a mixture of feelings among the club’s supporters.

He approached former chairman Alan Smith with a view to returning earlier this season.

Northfield said: "If you’re at the bottom of the league, it’s a dangerous point. I have just fulfilled my offer to help short term.

"I am going to see if I can get them secure in the Evo-Stik and I will do all I can for that to happen.

"If some funds are needed, I am happy to support them in a way that helps them short term."

The businessman was last in charge of a club at Tadcaster Albion where his financial backing helped the club win NCEL Division One.

He left the club debt-free but walked out shortly before the 2013/14 season. He has also owned National Premier side Guiseley in the past.

Northfield said: "I am not a football fan, I am a fan of football. I want to help clubs that are in trouble if I can."

Corner added: "The guy has vast experience in non-League and hopefully he can help me.

"It gives us a really good chance to stay up now, even though I thought we had a good chance anyway.

"It’s a great bonus and asset for the club."

Asked whether his involvement could become permanent at the end of the season, Northfield added: "Nigel Farage said he was going to resign from UKIP but two months later he was back as the leader.

"I'm wise enough to realise that things can change."