These are dark times at the club I love. That may sound dramatic but sadly it’s true, Just a few short years after the most successful period in the clubs history North Ferriby United are on the brink of extinction.
They say two weeks is a long time in football and that has proven to be true in the last fortnight. No sooner had 360 people attended the Non-league day fixture against Stafford Rangers, thanks to the sterling efforts of the several supporters who promoted the day, did we learn that the clubs manager Chris Bolder had been sacked.
Chris is a hero at our club who achieved great things in a green and white shirt. He took on the role of managing the team he loved under the most difficult of circumstances and despite uniting a young and inexperienced dressing room he was given the boot. I would challenge Sir Alex Ferguson to do a better job than Chris was doing with that squad but he was sacked anyway. If that wasn’t enough of a kick in the teeth just a few days later the worst kept secret in East Yorkshire was exposed.
It seems clear now that Carl Chadwick was not the owner of the club and he never was. It was all a lie, he is simply fronting the club for the poisonous retch Jamie Waltham who has brought this club to it’s knees. The inevitable Dunswell rumours resurfaced and yesterday we learned the shocking news that an official name change application has been made to the FA to rename the club “East Hull FC” for the 2019/20 season onwards with the inevitable move to Dunswell to coincide with this. Our club is just the latest on an infuriatingly long list of clubs being torn apart by owners who frankly don’t have a clue, don’t give a toss about heritage and history and are only in it for their own selfish reasons.
Reading the news made my stomach churn, how has it gone so wrong so quickly? Just three short years ago I had my greatest day as a football fan, watching Ferriby win an epic FA Trophy Final at Wembley against Wrexham. This was footballing utopia for us but it would also prove to be the biggest missed opportunity in the the history of the club.
Over 3000 Ferriby “fans” went to Wembley yet by the end of that season we were back down to attendances of just over 300 home fans at the then Eon Visual Media Stadium and that spoke volumes. The club never managed to capitalise on the success and despite gaining promotion to the Conference Premier the following season, a feat many never thought possible,the crowds never really improved. Steve and Eman Forster decided they could do no more and decided to stop putting money into the club and the decline has been rapid since then.
No one celebrated in the clubhouse after the playoff final win over Fylde. It was the strangest experience I have ever had, what should have been the party of the century felt more like a wake as we all already knew that great team would be broken up and so it proved to be. Since that fateful day the club has lurched from one disaster to another. It was hoped we would pick up many disenchanted Hull City fans in the wake of their name change battle, just look at FCUM and how successful they were but the sad fact was with an Allam running Ferriby that was never going to happen and once they stopped putting money in that was the beginning of the end.
Back to back relegation have followed, the second under the stewardship of Waltham whose ridiculous rants and threats did nothing but damage the club. Albeit on a much smaller scale the Ferriby fans made it as clear as the City fans did that they did not want the heritage of their club to be messed with and Waltham finally “walked away” in the summer with his Dene Park plans shelved. Carl Chadwick came in and in a meeting with fans he said “Jamie is my mate, but I would never do business with him”, we were all taken in, a breath of fresh air had come to get us back on track. I feel stupid now for falling for it.
Waltham was always lurking in the background and he now it seems he has emerged from the shadows to press forward with his plans to uproot the club and move it to Dunswell. Now he wants to compound that by ripping the heart out of the club and calling it “East Hull FC”. Dene Park isn’t even in East Hull which sums Waltham up really but that isn’t the point. If his plans are accepted and go ahead North Ferriby United will be dead. 84 years of history will be torn to pieces and one of non-league footballs real gems will be gone forever. We will fight this, like the City fans did a few years ago, and we can only hope the FA see sense and reject these proposals.
Even if the move is blocked Waltham will still be in charge and a third relegation on the trot looks inevitable even with the clubs all time top scorer Gary Bradshaw returning under another Ferriby legend Paul Foot who has replaced Bolder. The club needs help and quickly from someone who cares and wants to make Ferriby the club it once was again. Under Les Hare the club was a great place to be. It felt like a family with an infectious friendly proper football atmosphere. Those days seem like ancient history right now.
Time and again fans of the club have tried to drum up more support and it has largely fallen on deaf ears, especially amongst resident of the Village itself. That in some ways has led to this because Jamie Waltham would never have been involved otherwise. He had an easy excuse to move the club due to the lack of supporters at games but that doesn’t make it any less painful for the 150-200 die hards who have been going to Ferriby for years.
Waltham never wanted to help the club, he bought the club’s league position and then tried to move it to Dunswell. If he wanted to help the team he would have given Chris Bolder a budget he could have at least competed with but with the peanuts he was provided with Chris was effectively trying to knock out Anthony Joshua with both hands tied behind his back and his shoelaces tied together.
As I said at the start, these are dark times and right now it’s hard to see a positive outcome. I for one will not be following Waltham’s East Hull side and I hope no true North Ferriby United fan sets foot in Dene Park if the move goes ahead. Make no mistake we will fight this all the way. The club means too much to us for us to let this go ahead but right now we need some sort of divine intervention to get us out of this mess.
I have had some of the best days of my life following North Ferriby United but right now the club really is on the brink and that is truly, devastatingly sad.