HAPPY ENDING FOR BORO!
New owner saves club at 11th hour
NUNEATON BOROUGH’S future has been saved following a takeover by former Non-League defender Nick Hawkins.
The NLP revealed at the end of September the National League North club’s existence was in jeopardy unless a new owner was found.
Hawkins, who played for Hucknall Town, Gresley and Chasetown, was unveiled ahead of yesterday’s defeat to Leamington and has promised to rebuild links with local businesses and the community.
“I’m under no illusions, there is lots of work to do,” the 33-year-old said. “But hopefully by Christmas fans will see the benefits of our new direction.”
NUNEATON BOROUGH boss Nicky Eaden has welcomed the takeover by former Non-League centre-back Nick Hawkins.
The beleaguered National League North club were on the brink of going out of business with serious concerns as to how they could pay wages this month without a takeover.
Effectively a rudderless ship since the summer departure of previous owner Lee Thorn, boss Eaden and his assistant Lee Fowler were keeping the club going alongside secretary Adam Etheridge and general manager Carly Morrey.
Port Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite had purchased their Liberty Way ground in June but, under FA and EFL rules, was unable to have a say in day-to-day operations.
A broken boiler meant cold showers, while the electric was being powered by a diesel generator – when it stopped working, Eaden had to conduct a team-talk in near darkness.
But after ex-chairman Ian Neale and Lee Thorn waived their directors’ loans, Hawkins has been able to step in. The NLP understands the wage bill has to be cut and it’s expected some players will be leaving as the club shifts to a part-time model.
Hawkins completed his takeover ahead of yesterday’s game against Leamington and Eaden hopes it can be the start of something brighter for the club.
“The most important thing is the club’s been saved,” Eaden said. “The players are going to be paid and the future is looking brighter.
“Nick is coming in with a plan to move things forward and hopefully in the same division next year. It’s still going to be tough but a big cloud has been lifted. The fans have really rallied around. At the Bradford PA game you could see a marked difference in the crowd, it was a bigger gate, they were vocal and were backing the team. It was great.” Hawkins, 33, runs a refurbishment business and played football for Goole, Shepshed Dynamo, Hucknall Town, Gresley Rovers, Long Eaton United, Dunkirk and Leicester Road, as well as brief managerial stints at Eastwood Town and Bedworth United. Ground improvements have already begun with the new owner keen to re-engage local businesses. “I’m under no illusions, we have lots of hard work to come,” Hawkins said. “The next few months will be hard for everyone as lots of things will change, but hopefully by Christmas fans will see the benefits of our new direction.”