Non-league club Greenwich Borough, who resigned from their division last season, plans to make a dramatic return to football.
There were concerns of the club’s future earlier this year, however ‘The Cannons’ will be playing competitive football once again in the 2021-22 season, the dormant club has said.
The club were relegated from the Isthmian League after finishing bottom of the South East Division at the end of the 2018-19 campaign and they withdrew from the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division on the 20th of January 2020, sitting at the foot of the table with 12 points from 20 games.
Greenwich Borough cited “business interruption,” for their withdrawal, leaving much of the non-league community saddened, but the club have now employed former Manchester United director Debbie Savage as their new commercial director to get the wheels in motion of a return to playing competitive football.
“We are pleased to announce that a new board has been formed in order to give this wonderful club the opportunity to get back to playing football,” said a club statement.
“After consultation with The FA, it was approved that the club would return back into the league for season 2021-22.
“After a series of discussions with many parties, the club felt best that it opted to secure the services of ex-Manchester United director of 25 years, Debbie Savage, with the task of bringing the club forward with her wealth of experience and expertise with one of Europe’s top teams.
“This is an extremely exciting moment in the clubs history. There will be an overhaul in rebranding the club in the coming months and securing a ground to play is top of her priorities.
“There will be other members of the new board announced over the next couple of days so watch this space.”
Savage added: “I am delighted to accept the role as commercial director at Greenwich Borough FC, a club with great history and bags of potential.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the board that rebuilds and relaunches this great club – getting it back to where it belongs.”
Since being forced out of their Harrow Meadow ground in Eltham in 2009, which is now a housing estate, Greenwich Borough have hired Holmesdale’s ground in Bromley, Dartford’s Princes Park Stadium, Cray Valley’s ground, which is around the corner from their old ground in Eltham and Phoenix Sports’ ground in Barnehurst.
THE CLUB’S RESIGNATION STATEMENT (21st January)
It read: “The club have advised the following: ‘Due to the severe business interruption, Greenwich Borough FC will not be participating in the league.
‘We are not closing the business but just withdrawing from the competition. The club are not leaving for financial issues.’
“The board will meet quickly to determine next steps, and further updates will be made as and when necessary.”
The club put out an article, with the headline ‘No chance to survive’, where they blamed a number of parties for their current predicament.
Greenwich Borough said: “After season 18-19 of an unlawful eviction the club has never been able to pick up any momentum and have fought a battle behind the scenes of nothing but constant interruption. It has taken great courage from players and managers to take the steps to work through this trying time and “play football”. The club being told it’s a club to club issue for an unlawful eviction with other more severe issues going on was nothing but leaving the club isolated and confused.
“Being overcharged from the start and to have the ground sharers steal and keep property that did not belong to them and poster the grounds with notices the last day of the season with committee members from Greenwich Borough working for them.
“No court papers, no forfeiture and no court bailiff. Is this football? where is the law and do we just turn a blind eye in this modern day. Greenwich Borough need no order for this action the only order that was needed was one to show how Greenwich Borough could have been evicted.
“With the ground-sharers keeping property that if were to be removed would expel them from football as they would breach licensing, kicking Greenwich Borough FC out was a case of there were no millionaires in their club, The fact is the late David Skinner estate did every thing to make the ground what it is. The landowner had 3 leases he threw around and one in particular a one year heads of terms, formed by a well respected consultant who made admissions once this came to light that he no longer handled affairs for the ground and to leave him alone. This would be tones all over the place, former managers slandering the “new club” but the club paying £11,000 for 2 weeks of expenses and when questioned players and staff hurled abuse. False contracts created to squeeze money from the club all reported nothing done by the relevant people.
“With constant disruption the club contacted the landowner on the 14th April 2019 to inform him that we would no longer be continuing at his ground. The landlord then started to move fast to unlawfully evict with assistance this disruption was not the actions of one man but many.
“Cray Valley officials already spoke with Greenwich Borough youth teams to prize them over to play for them destroying the clubs revenue and reputation and the youth teams leaving. The 25th April we had a call from our committee member to explain he was being hurt and the cctv was taken out and locks changed…… the landlord called around for cause and effect to ensure the players and supporters were deflated before even turning up to play with laminated posters designed with Greenwich Boroughs equipment declaring a eviction with no court seal (a child like poster with no legal jargon of an eviction or bailiff notice). The landlord felt comfortable to call one of the managers to discuss “rent” and why the eviction took place, causing further unrest in the first team group.
The decision to move ground regardless of where we played was a desperate decision as the club needed peace.
“We thank the people with the good hearts that helped and supported the club and for those who joined in the bullying that’s something you will have to deal with as it was nothing but low and degrading acts of people who wanted to gain things they never purchased.
“Cray Valley PM FC over stepped their place in football and will be shamed for all the wrong doing they have done to Greenwich Borough. They used stolen equipment to promote a charity event and thought it was ok to do so.
“This a matter that one club and its officials have abused their positions and should face the relevant sanctions for their actions. No lease, no termination and no rent due, and a lock out. Cray Valley organised a party that should not have taken place but did with people laughing but not knowing they were adding to the issue.
“We still await the security of tenure from season 18/19 confirmed by both leagues and the documents supporting the eviction of Greenwich Borough FC.
“We have had to enter a number or civil cases to unravel the background into why, what and where this took place costing the club tens of thousands of pounds.
“With the Cray Valley owners breaching rulings having talks with others to take over the club Greenwich Borough had no chance. The talks the landlord had with management on the day to say there would be no game but no rent was due, he was calling the league secretary knowing this was an illegal act, he had no legal eviction or court documents if he did they should have been presented but the club was held to ransom to pay on the spot to open up the doors to play the last game.
“The process of the eviction or rent arrears: notification to the tenant and the league and then the league step with the necessary sanctions, not the landlord prints posters, calls the league and the club is evicted and has to pay to play the last game.
“Greenwich Borough were not a poor team the odds were stacked against the club and to have rental money taken from you, companies paying money directly to Cray Valley’s bank account without consent.
“The old directors had rent arrears in season 17-18 and could not pay player wages and were not evicted in this manner and the league not informed according to the landowner.
“We would appreciate the return of all Greenwich Borough training equipment, balls, goals, lights and stands so we can build our club back with the clubs property.
“The club have several legal proceedings and cannot comment on other matters until the cases are concluded. All leagues are aware and expect action no more silence on this matter, going forward.”