It has been announced this afternoon that North Ferriby United have a new owner, Jamie Waltham, a local business man who will be familiar to many from his rollercoaster ownership of Hull United AFC.
After a horrendous start to the 2017/18 season with the Villagers 13 points adrift of safety already something had to change. Steve and Eman Forster have owned the club since 2013 and have overseen the most successful period in the club’s history including a Wembley win and promotion to the top tier of non-league football.
It hasn’t all been rosy though as straight after Ferriby were promoted to the National League it became clear that the owners would not be pumping more money in to give Ferriby a chance of survival in the National League. After a spirited fight the club were relegated and Steve Forster made it clear that they couldn’t commit the time or money required to run the club anymore and were willing to transfer the club to new owners free of charge.
With the lack of squad investment clear for all to see Ferriby have become cut adrift at the bottom of the National League North, crowds are dwindling and players are leaving because it seemed like the club simply had no ambition anymore. Today’s news may change all that though. The Forster’s have transferred the club into the hands of local businessman and former Ferriby player Jamie Waltham leaving the club debt free.
Waltham is known for his period at the helm of Hull United AFC. He both managed and ran the club who played at Dene Park. The club aimed to become a Football league side one day and Waltham had a range of ideas to get people through that gates. He offered lifetime passes for free, a raffle to win a free car for anyone who attended a certain game and he even paid people £2 to attend one game. Sure enough big crowds were seen in the early matches with the club recording attendances of 800+ at some games.
Unfortunately for Waltham the early honeymoon period wouldn’t last forever and he left the club in acrimonious circumstances. After falling out with the club’s board Waltham was told he was no longer wanted and he then went on to lock the club out of their Dene Park ground because he owned it and wanted the club to sign a new more expensive lease.
Since his departure from Hull United Waltham has gone on to form another football club, East Yorkshire Carnegie so he is clearly driven and ambitious to make a success of running a football club. It didn’t end well for Waltham at Hull United but that should not discourage Ferriby fans. His ambition will hopefully be matched with cash that will help to give Steve Housham a chance to turn this season around. The transfer in ownership may just have come at the right time and it remains to be seen what Waltham’s initial plans are to help the club. He has a clean slate to work with as the club is debt free and ready for investment.
If his past is anything to go by Waltham will do his upmost to get more fans through the gate and that is absolutely vital to Ferriby. They have always struggled to attract big crowds and with their current form the crowds are dropping fast so the club badly needs new blood coming through the gates every week and Waltham will have plans to achieve that.
This news should give everyone at the club a lift. Exciting times lie ahead under Waltham and hopefully the club can start looking up again rather than down. Good luck Jamie and here’s to your successful tenure at the helm of North Ferriby United!