New North Ferriby United owner Jamie Waltham has given his first interview since acquiring the club from Steve and Eman Forster. Waltham explained how he took over the club, his initial ambitions and discussed a potential move away from the village of North Ferriby.
He began by explaining how the deal happened and revealed he has been persuing the club for a long time. “The deal itself is a transfer stroke handover situation where there was quite a lot of outstanding debt with the club but the previous owners have cleared that. I made my first enquiry 18 months ago, the timing was wrong when I first made an enquiry, the club had just been promoted to the conference so it wasn’t the right time. Once I got the green light it has been done start to finish in three weeks ”
Waltham wouldn’t be moved on a rumoured clause inserted into the takeover agreement by the Forsters relating to revenue earned from a potential FA Cup run next season, “I’m not going to comment on that, there is an agreement in place but I’m not legally in a position to talk about that.”
When asked about the current state of the club and his initial goals Waltham explained that the aim is to survive this season “The club at the minute is not good the league position is falling, the goal this season must be to stop it falling and to stay in the league we are in. That would be a good achievement this year, I’m not saying it will be easy but that has to be the goal”
He went on to emphasise that the mindset of everyone involved needs to change and he wants to bring a more local feel back to the club, “There needs to be a change in mindset, sometimes within a business or organisation there can be a collective mindset that we are up against it and don’t have a chance, I don’t think that should be the case. I think the area has always provided good players, as you go up levels managers look for players further afield but for me it needs a more local feel on and off the pitch, Russ Fry is the only local Hull player and Ferriby needs more than that”
The most pressing part of the interview concerned Waltham’s potential plans to move the club away from the village of North Ferriby, where it has been based since it’s inception in 1934, to Dunswell Park. He made it clear that all avenues would be explored as he aims to grow the club, “If we can look at growing the club we will explore all avenues, moving the club is something that needs to be explored. To be honest with you there are two or three governing bodies that will make a decision on that so its something we will explore, if we believe it to be in the best interests of the club we will do it”
He was keen to point out that this would not be a snap decision and everyone would have a say but he also mentioned the concerns of residents of the Village that have been well documented in the past, “You would put it to the fans, do polls, you would find out general what everyone would like to do, it will be explored, if it turns out it’s not the right thing and people don’t want the move it won’t happen and the club will stay where it is. I will say this though, I have spoken to residents of North Ferriby, sometimes the perception at the council and with the residents of North Ferriby it that the level the club has attained and we want to maintain the village location has not stifled it but it’s at capacity when some of the big clubs come and a lot of the residents are not happy with it”
He continued by emphasising that the process would start almost immediately but wouldn’t happen overnight, “I will explore any avenue that could lead to growth of the club, that’s going to be a case of asking everyone involved, the fans, members, residents, councillors ect it will be a big process and not something that can happen overnight. One of the first things I want to do is sit down and talk to the fans, the head of the supporters club committee want to speak to me and know my intentions. They want to speak to me on Saturday at the game so it all starts on Saturday really”
Waltham ended by summing up both sides of the argument on moving the club, “Some might say the village location has stopped growth while other might say maybe you will lose the identity If you take the club away, you have to consider everyone involved namely the fans who will come and watch”
Decisions like this are never easy and you will never please everyone so it is good to see Waltham is keeping an open mind. He is an ambitious person though and he will want to take any opportunity he can to grow the club. It’s going to be an interesting few months ahead for North Ferriby United.