Future looks bleak for Borough
Crisis club to start next season at their lowest level FOOTBALL
HILLINGDON Borough FC are facing a summer of uncertainty on and off the pitch – and perhaps even a battle for survival.
Boro finished rock bottom of the Spartan South Midlands Premier this season and will start the next one at their lowest ever level, unless they get a reprieve.
It is an ignominious fate for a club which, less than a decade ago, was playing Southern League football and reached the FA Vase final and whose predecessor (having gone bust but reformed in 1990) reached the FA Trophy final and twice applied to join the Football League.
For chairman Mick Harris, it is keeping alive that history which keeps him and the board going, but he admits it is becoming more of a struggle to do so with each passing year.
He said: “It’s been a very diffi- cult season season, we don’t know if we will be relegated or not yet, but that’s just part of the problem as we don’t know what’s happening with the club itself.
“We’ve heard the ground has been sold. The club used to own it but the previous committee had to sell it and it’s now privately owned.
“Hopefully the new owner will still let us play there as we can’t afford to move to another ground, but we’ve not heard anything yet.
“Folding is a possibility possibility, but we have a picture on the boardroom wall which shows when the club was founded, and that’s the history I look at. “I can’t walk away.” A season of turmoil saw Hillingdon finish bottom of their division by 10 points after winning just four league games all season.
It was always going to be difficult to replace the previous campaign’s top scorer, Rob Laney, who moved to Ryman Premier side Wingate & Finchley, where he has just been named Fans’ Player of the Year.
But the controversial departure of manager Sam Hurrell, a former Chelsea academy player, further destabilised the club, leaving Jason O’Connor and then Mick Byron, who finished the season in the hot seat, to pick up the pieces before resigning last week.
Harris added: “Sam did the dirty on us. He said at the start of the season that he couldn’t carry on due to work commitments, and the next thing we knew he was turning up to play against us for Harefield. Jason tried hard but had just got married and left soon after.
“But lots of teams have survived these situations. Cockfosters lost their manager and 22 players earlier in the season, and a few years back we lost a manager and nine players five days before the transfer window shut. Surviving what happens next is the big question.”
Hillingdon are now on the lookout for Byron’s replacement as boss. HAYES & Yeading United veteran Gary MacDonald is nott ready to hang his boots up yet.
MacDonald (pictured) finished the season on the treatment table at the Conference South club after damaging his ligaments.
He was combining a playing role with a new spot on the United coaching staff alongside manager er Tristan Lewis and assistant Delroy Preddie.
Lewis has made it known he is on the lookout for another coach to come on board at the Beaconsfield Road club but is not planning on turfing out MacDonald.
There is a place for him at the club next season but the sticking point could be how much playing time the former Woking and Ebbsfleet centre-half is hoping to gain.
“Gary MacDonald wants to stay and he wants to play,” boss Lewis confirmed.
“I’ve made it clear to him that I don’t think he can play every week.
“He’s great off the pitch and I think he will also have a part to play on the field.
“It depends on what he wants to do and whether he wants to play every single week.”
Lewis has set a date of June 27 for the players to return for pre-season training and has already planned friendlies with Slough on July 14 and Egham on July 21.
He is hoping the club will be able to keep the squad together after a solid summer workout, with previous manager Phil Babb losing many of his recruits before a ball was kicked.
“We will have a better pre-season this year,” Lewis added.
“I have to say that Phil’s pre-season was good last year, but the problem was that half of the players who took part in it didn’t really ever play for us. We’re trying to move forward.”
Elsewhere, Lewis Cole has been named Uxbridge’s Players’ Player of the Year while Matt Woods picked up the award from the fans and Tony Choules picked out Kevin Warner for the manager’s prize.
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n DEPARTED: Jason O’Connor has left Hillingdon Borough, after taking over from Sam Hurrell (pictured below)