TOUGH LOVE IN FIGHT TO SURVIVE
The Hayes & Yeading chairman cannot enjoy team matches any more
CHAIRMAN Tony O’Driscoll has admitted the pressures of staving off the threat of extinction at Hayes & Yeading United have seen him fall out of love with football.
It has been a constant struggle for survival for the Conference South club since O’Driscoll took over the reins from Derek Goodall in the summer of 2013.
O’Driscoll has been working tirelessly to keep the club in business but finances have been put under increased strain as building work stalled on their proposed Beaconsfield Road home.
Crippling fees of more than £1,000 per game to play at Maidenhead’s York Road only make matters worse and £300,000 is needed to get the club’s incomplete ground up to scratch.
O’Driscoll had originally set a deadline of Thursday to have the funds in place, but a planned meeting with supporters was cancelled with no resolution of the matter.
It is understood that good progress is being made in fundraising and more than half of the target has been pledged but O’Driscoll says the stadium saga has left him drained and unable to enjoy watching his team play every Saturday.
He said: “I’d like to enjoy my football again, which I must say I haven’t been doing lately. People are still talking to us about investment but they are not making decisions as quickly as I would like – but we are still going.
“Every week we are still finding some money to keep us afloat. I hope that we will just get over the line and make it to the end of the season. What I didn’t want to do was be pulling out mid-season.
“It’s not the aim [to get to the end of the season and then reassess this situation] but I think that’s what may happen. What I was trying to do was get 10 people to invest £30,000 to give us the £300,000 to get us back in there.
“I can’t take anybody’s money until I’ve got the whole 10 though. Until I get the 10, I can’t move forward. It is very frustrating. It should never had gotten to the stage we are at now. The ground should’ve been built two or three years ago.”
United who have slid from being early-season play-off contenders into yet another relegation battle, have a crucial game at home to basement boys Staines Town at the weekend.
O’Driscoll added: “Staines is crucial. The league table won’t lie at the end of the season and the players are focused on the football.”
United were denied a muchneeded three points on Saturday when Dean Inman’s opener was cancelled out by a late Bromley equaliser. Meanwhile, Nicholas Bignall and Mason Spence have left the club, but Kadell Daniel and Christian Smith have joined, from Charlton and Chelmsford, respectively.
n DEPARTED: Hayes & Yeading’s Mason Spence has left the struggling club