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Non league club set to fold as manager and players depart

A certain non league club are set to fold as their manager and players depart, leaving supporters saddened by what news is coming out.

Whyteleafe confirmed that first team manager Harry Hudson has resigned amid talk that a Singapore-based firm has bought up the Isthmian League club’s ground.

Because of this half-million-pound deal, it could see them having to leave their Church Road home and go homeless, giving them an uncertain future with times tough already.


Harry, who has been with the club for three seasons, said in a statement that he felt that he had taken the club as far as he can.

His decision to leave follows the FA’s decision to curtail the 2020-21 season and was made now to give the club as much time as possible to find a replacement before the start of the new season in August.

“I have enjoyed every minute of my time with the Leafe and fully appreciate the opportunity that the Chairman gave me to manage at Step 4,” said Harry. “It was a very difficult decision for me to make and I should like to thank everybody at the club for their trust in me and the fans for their phenomenal support. I will always have fond memories of my time with Whyteleafe Football Club.”

The club has expressed its thanks to Harry.


“This could end up finishing the club,” sports website The Athletic has reported Whyteleafe’s chairman as saying – with ground’s purchasers, Irama Sport, having “close links” to former Liverpool and Wales player Ian Rush.

Whyteleafe is one of three non-league football grounds around the country that has been bought by Irama, and that they have expressed interest to buy at least eight more.

The freehold of Church Road was owned by Astrosoccer 4 U Ltd, and the company had been in administration for three years, with the ground offered for sale by Savills Auction back in September. Irama paid £495,000 for a considerable chunk of Tandridge property as reported by Inside Croydon.

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Whyteleafe – which has been forced to abandon the last two league seasons due to pandemic, having income stream for the past year – has given notice on its £1,000-a-month lease.

The Athletic reports that Irama plans “to focus on providing grassroots for the long term”.

Yet Whyteleafe chairman Mark Coote told them: “Irama don’t seem to grasp football clubs, it’s as if they’re landlords.

“This could end up finishing the club and the community I’ve built over the last 25 years. We’re in a very difficult position. Terminating the lease means Whyteleafe don’t have anywhere to play.

“This isn’t all Irama’s fault. The current climate doesn’t help. We are getting bits of help from the Football Association but it will be very difficult for our club to survive.”

The Rush Foundation, set-up in the name of the former international, has stated charitable objectives to encourage and enable youth sport. References to the Foundation are included on Irama Sport correspondence.

An Irama statement to The Athletic said: “We want all teams to continue playing at our grounds and welcome them to contact us directly if they wish to continue playing at our properties.”

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1964-65 – SUR SEN – 7/15 POS
1965-66 – SUR SEN – 5/16 POS
1966-67 – SUR SEN – 9/17 POS
1967-68 – SUR SEN – 14/16 POS
1968-69 – SUR S-P – 1/15 POS
1969-70 – SUR S-P – 7/14 POS
1970-71 – SUR S-P – 8/15 POS
1971-72 – SUR S-P – 12/17 POS
1972-73 – SUR S – 12/16 POS
1973-74 – SUR S – 6/16 POS
1974-75 – SUR S – 5/15 POS
1977-78 – LON S-P – 13/16 POS
1978-79 – LON S-P – 15/18 POS
1979-80 – LON S-P – 7/16 POS
1980-81 – LON S-P – 3/16 POS
1981-82 – ATHEN – 13/19 POS
1982-83 – ATHEN – 8/20 POS
1983-84 – ATHEN – 4/21 POS
1984-85 – ISTH-2S – 5/19 POS
1985-86 – ISTH-2S – 5/20 POS
1986-87 – ISTH-2S – 12/21 POS
1987-88 – ISTH-2S – 7/22 POS
1988-89 – ISTH-2S – 2/21 POS
1989-90 – ISTH-1 – 14/22 POS
1990-91 – ISTH-1 – 9/22 POS
1991-92 – ISTH-1 – 20/21 POS
1992-93 – ISTH-1 – 14/21 POS
1993-94 – ISTH-1 – 16/22 POS
1994-95 – ISTH-1 – 11/22 POS
1995-96 – ISTH-1 – 15/22 POS
1996-97 – ISTH-1 – 9/22 POS
1997-98 – ISTH-1 – 19/22 POS
1998-99 – ISTH-1 – 18/22 POS
1999-00 – ISTH-1 – 7/22 POS
2000-01 – ISTH-1 – 9/22 POS
2001-02 – ISTH-1 – 20/22 POS
2002-03 – ISTH-1S – 5/24 POS
2003-04 – ISTH-1S – 17/24 POS
2004-05 – ISTH-1 – 9/22 POS
2005-06 – ISTH-1 – 18/23 POS
2006-07 – ISTH-1S – 20/22 POS
2007-08 – ISTH-1S – 11/22 POS
2008-09 – ISTH-1S – 18/22 POS
2009-10 – ISTH-1S – 15/22 POS
2010-11 – ISTH-1S – 16/22 POS
2011-12 – ISTH-1S – 21/21 POS
2012-13 – KENT-P – 6/17 POS
2013-14 – SCE – 1/17 POS
2014-15 – ISTH-1S – 5/24 POS
2015-16 – ISTH-1S – 15/24 POS
2016-17 – ISTH-1S – 14/24 POS
2017-18 – ISTH-1S – 8/24 POS
2018-19 – ISTH-1SE – 8/19 POS
2019-20 – ISTH-1SE (ABANDONED)
2020-21 – ISTH-1SE (ABANDONED)

SEE MORE: Two non league clubs merge and change team name

Fans reacted after hearing that the non league club could be set to fold as their manager and players depart…

@EducatedLeftFt: that’s a shame. Good memories of regular visits there with @MUFCYorkRoad in the 90s

@MarchinAlready: A huge shame. I moved to the area in the summer and watched a fair few games. Harry had the team playing the right way – some phenomenal stuff for that level. Not sure where they go from here with him and so many players going. Communication from the club isn’t great

@AdrianVanAalst: 1 manager & 5 players leave in a day and strong rumours the club have given notice on the lease. Not looking good is it?

@nickyseaside771: Harry was so helpful to our family, at the darkest of times. I will be forever grateful for that. Good luck in your next venture

@felixrbaker: Fantastic manager, and such a same to see him leave 🙁 Whyteleafe have been superb to watch over the last couple of years. He is also a top bloke. All the best for the future!

@gbarber117: Really sad to see Harry leave…. built a good squad and tried to play free flowing football with some very young players. A firm fans favourite from the moment he took over .

@sussex_w: Absolutely gutted 😔

@martinjfiler: No way. Best side up here for several years, promotion was on the horizon.

@SHindson: “Taken the club as far as he can” – 2 seasons haven’t even finished.. Don’t really agree with that reasoning.. But good luck to him, he built a good squad..

@gbarber117: Think its a diplomatic statement…. other things behind the scenes we think.

@AdrianVanAalst: Christ on a bike!! I’m almost scared to look at Twitter, is there anyone left at Leafe?

@barnes_east: Sorry to see him go.

@CPFCbeard1967: Really sad to hear this. Great guy and a great manager who got us playing good football with a young and hungry squad. We will miss you Harry but all the best for the future.

@Official_rics: Don’t even need too talk too much but he’s one of the best about

@dacey831: Loved it with H, Cal & the boys but I will be a keyboard warrior for this man on anything that’s written by anyone if it’s bullshit. One statement doesn’t tell a story. Truth always comes out. I say that with my chest.

@Matt_CAFC: Such a shame that the good work Harry Hudson, @CalumMcfarlane1 and @dacey831 put in along with all the players efforts last few seasons wasn’t rewarded with a promotion. How different it could’ve ended up if last season and this season didn’t end the way they did…

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