Harrogate Town Q&A: Weavers address fans’ issues

28/11/12   Manager and Chairman of Harrogate Town , father and son  Simon (left)  and Irving Weaver  high above the Wetherby Road ground   getting ready for this weekends FA Cup Second round tie againts Hastings.
28/11/12 Manager and Chairman of Harrogate Town , father and son Simon (left) and Irving Weaver high above the Wetherby Road ground getting ready for this weekends FA Cup Second round tie againts Hastings.

Chairman Irving Weaver held clear-the-air talks with Harrogate Town’s supporters on Wednesday night after three torturous weeks for the club.

Town’s management called a meeting with fans to discuss their three points Skrill North deduction and their worrying form, having lost four games in a row.

Weaver apologised to supporters for the club’s handling over the three-point penalty and for taking a swipe at “fragile, insincere supporters” on the club website.

Town were deducted points for fielding three unregistered players, Adam Bolder, Shane Killock and Craig MacGillivray, in their opening day 2-1 win at Oxford City.

The club had issued a statement announcing the deduction alongside the resignation of former club secretary Charlie Lockwood.

Weaver told supporters: “We were wrong. We put a statement with the clerical error that implied it was her fault.

“We are apologetic for the way it came across. In light of events, she was not in error.

“We should have said, the chairman takes full responsibility.”

A club statement has since added: “The chairman and directors apologise to both Charlie and her family for any distress this may have caused.

“The chairman has met with the family, and had a constructive discussion covering all relevant issues, all of which have been brought to an amicable conclusion.

“The chairman and Directors would all like to go on record to thank Charlie for her contribution, particularly for her efforts throughout the successful cup run last season, and wish her all the best in her new role.”

The chairman explained he “bit” to abuse when he released a statement about fans’ attitudes on the club’s website.

And he insisted the club would clamp down on personal abuse.

He said: “We have been unlucky. But all I get is verbal abuse.

“I got a really bad email at 7.50 after we had lost two matches.

“I wasn’t careful with it because I don’t mean everybody. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself.

“People are really trying in this club and people think it doesn’t matter what they say.

“Sometimes there comes a point where you think, ‘that’s not quite right’.”

Ged Maloney, Town’s commercial director added: “I have been staggered by the amount of abuse that the Weavers have received on the forum.

“How would you feel if you were on the receiving end of it?”

Town’s FA Cup exit at Colwyn Bay on Saturday capped their poor run but boss Simon Weaver, Irving’s son, bemoaned a lack of luck for the results rather than lack of effort.

He said: “We are disappointed with the last four results. We have lost by very fine margins. The first six games we won four, lost one, and drew one and we were thinking, third

“Nine new signings, it does take time to bed in. It takes time to break through the anxiety barriers.

“In the first six games, results wise we achieved more than we deserved. Since then we have progressed performance wise. We now need to move performances into results.

“In my opinion, at the end of the season we will be up there challenging in the top eight.”

And the gaffer reaffirmed his stance that new strikers are not needed as he insisted he will keep the faith with the current players.

Asked about Simon’s future and whether his son is untouchable, Irving asked “What would you think was failure for Harrogate Town?”

“Anything less than sixth would be disappointing. But would it be failure?

“We have to realise we are in Conference North. We are not in the Championship.

“The wand is not magic. We can’t jump at the first bad run.”

The chairman also answered questions on the sustainability of the club and his relationship with his son.

He refused to reveal his personal financing of the club.

“We are pushing above our means because we have to compete,” he said.

“People want a sustainable club because they don’t want me to be the be-all-and-end-all but they also want success.

“How do you balance the sustainability without getting the balance of success?

Irving took over the club in May 2011 after a chance conversation with former owner Bill Fotherby.

Simon had been in charge of the club for one season, and from finishing bottom in Conference North the club finished last term in sixth.

Town lie 12th in Skrill North this season.

Irving confirmed the club would start work on the Hospital End stand at the end of the season. And a club shop will open full-time next month.

He added: “We want to build a football club and not just a team.

“But to make that, it’s about step by step.

“We have to compete but I want to make it so someone else can pick it up.

“If we don’t go up we have to be proud of what we have. Yes, there have been a couple of cock ups but we are learning.

“People are working their socks off to make things secure.”