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‘We want a club’ say supporters of 7th tier side amid uncertainty over its future

‘We want a club’ say supporters of 7th tier side Stalybridge Celtic amid uncertainty over its future as more details emerge.

Fans speaking via Tameside Correspondent insist that they’re not trying to control the club, and instead say they just want to have them around to support.

A statement was published onto their website back in January, with manager Chris Willcock’s budget cut by 20 percent.

The Northern Premier League Premier Division outfit also required in the vicinity of £25,000 to get through the 2022/23 season.

After Rob Gorski, chairman and majority shareholder, put his up for auction, funds will be available to them to purchase shares.

But, it creates uncertainty about its future of the company, with Shaun Bishop, the head of the Stalybridge Celtic Supporters Association (SCSA) insistent that the group can help them through their struggles.

Shaun said: “As a supporters’ association, we’ve set up a community benefit society (CBS), which is similar to how FC United of Manchester is run.

“Our aim is to get equity in the club by buying shares, we’ve already had donations and we currently own about 10 per cent of the club.

“The aim is to get to 25 per cent and ideally get seats on the board going forward. We don’t want to dictate but work with the could going forward, so we’re never in a position where we’re scratching around for money to save us.

“It’s galvanised everyone because they see the struggles the club’s having and if we don’t do anything about it, we might not have a club.

“We’ve had meetings with the board, which is a link that had ever been there before.

“I don’t think there’s been a supporters’ voice for a long time. As soon as the chairman put his shares up for sale, we were invited to board meetings within a day, so the link’s there for all to see.

“We want to make it a better club for everybody, we want it to be here in 50 years’ time.”

SCSA has 60 members with another 50 also looking to signing up in the near future.

Glen Taylor, who is from Stalybridge but who lives in Florida and works for Disney, created a Florida based supporters’ association.

Vice-chair Alasdair Brown spoke: “If we have 25 per cent of the shares, we’ll have the power to say, ‘We’re happy to work with you but we need to know what your aims and intentions are.

“Are you happy to work with us? All we want is a voice.

“It was mooted in the summer that we wanted to get it going – then it was along the lines of sell a few t-shirts, get some coach travel.

“Then as we found out with the issues with the chairman leaving, it became from desire to necessity that we’ve gone forward with this in a completely different direction to the one we started in.

“You could tell the passion on the terraces. It was just we needed that focal point to focus everything towards a goal.

“Once we got that sorted, you saw men and women who were maybe a little disillusioned go, ‘We’re trying something here, lets push it forward. Let’s try to help out and see where we can take it.’

“People who hadn’t been for a few years have come and said, ‘We can notice that feeling of community is so much stronger.’

“A club without a club is nothing, which is why we’ve got to do this.”

CLUB STATEMENT IN JANUARY

A statement from the Board of Directors at Stalybridge Celtic Football Club.

The general economic climate, resulting in lower than anticipated commercial income and increases in utility bills and other costs has severely affected the club’s cashflow situation.

This has been exacerbated by the loss of income from two consecutive Saturday home games being postponed in December, which has meant that the club has had to seriously look to reduce its operating expenditure. Clearly, the biggest expense the Club has, is the playing budget.

The Board has consequently had to make the extremely difficult decision to reduce the playing budget by approximately 20%, which will result in some players being released from the squad. This decision has not been made lightly, but the ongoing financial stability of the club must be paramount.

The Board would like to thank Manager Chris Willcock for his understanding of this decision and for his continued commitment to Stalybridge Celtic FC.

The Board has, in recent weeks, held several meetings with the officials of the newly re-formed Stalybridge Celtic Supporters Association (SCSA), at which discussions have been held as to how the association can assist the club, both in terms of volunteers helping in match-day operations, but also in helping the club meet some of it’s financial commitments outside of footballing costs.

The club is planning several fundraisers over the next couple of months, and the SCSA will be a huge asset in helping to promote those events, and help bring funds into the club.

Both the Board and the SCSA are committed to work together in the best interests of Stalybridge Celtic FC.

Support from fans this season has been absolutely superb, both at home and away, and we hope this will continue and grow, and that all fans will help continue to get behind OUR club in any way they can.

Everyone will know that Rob Gorski is seeking to sell his shares and find a new majority shareholder. Hopefully that new majority shareholder is able to invest in the club and propel it onwards, as we all want.

Keith Smart, Interim Chairman/Director.

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