A developer has stopped paying a football club’s players after almost three years, following the decision to bar the firm from moving its stadium onto protected land to build homes on the current pitch.
House builders Meadow Residential (MR) has handed responsibility for Dulwich Hamlet’s cash payments to club majority shareholder Nick McCormack.
But they have not given them back control over paying security guards and match stewards, whose cost has increased as gates have soared past 2,000 in recent months.
MR, who own the club ground Champion Hill, told the Hamlet football committee on October 26 that the firm would end its contractual obligations to pay players and other staff from November 1 – and hand that back to McCormack.
Hamlet chairman Liam Hickey said: “The only thing that is stopping our many volunteers from walking away is the love of this club.
“It is left to us to try and find a way to make this work.
“We need all of our fans to donate as much as possible to our 12th Man Scheme to ensure we can continue having a realistic chance of promotion this season.”
The club sit top of the Ryman League Premier Division table after their 1-0 win at Thurrock on Saturday after playing 16 games – six points ahead of second-placed Hendon, and eight points ahead of third-placed Billericay, whose players include Jermaine Pennant, Jamie O’Hara and former England star Paul Konchesky.
MR claim the club is losing more than £100,000 a year – but gates of 2,000 would translate to about £20,000 a week – while manager Gavin Rose’s wage bill is just £4,800.
A statement on Hamlet’s website said: “We were told that as of November 1, all financial management and payments would revert back to DHFC Ltd’s majority shareholder and director, Nick McCormack.
“As a football committee, made up of fans of the club who volunteer thousands of hours a year to help run the club we love, we were asked to take on what we feel are untenable positions and responsibilities without detailed information on the health of the club in terms of its finances, or without a say in the management of what we see as club facilities.
“We have been told that as per the terms of our licence, we are entitled to net profit from match day activities, after costs have been deducted from the turnstiles and the bar. However we have no say in the management, pricing or efficiency of the match day operations, therefore our profit is dictated to us.
“We sent a large list of concerns on November 2, and urgent questions to be answered to try and make sense of the situation, that have yet to be fully addressed.
“We hope that Meadow and its subsidiaries will be forthcoming with information ASAP, in an effort to rectify what has been a very worrying period for the football club since their planning appeal was pulled after the Greendale lease appeal was lost and ending Meadow’s development plans.
“We want to assure the fans, players, and all those associated with the club we will do all in our power, along with our partners at DHST and at Aspire, to secure a future for the football club that puts the community and club first.”
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