I have to feel sorry for the true supporters of Hornchurch FC who have seen
their club hijacked by the ambitions of a few guys who wanted to play real
life Panini sticker collecting and are now, no-doubt, left to
pick up the pieces. Crowds before the money arrived were regularly under
100 and it is that group of fans that will elicit sympathy.
The sudden demise of Carthium and the club have already started speculation
that there was something more sinister going on and more than one observer has
been heard muttering "money laundering". A recent
Observer article looking into the finances at Bridge Avenue failed to
unravel exactly where the money was coming from and mentioned two offshore
companies that were involved.
The majority of the "fans" at Bridge Avenue though had probably not even heard of
Hornchurch FC before the last two or three years and now the party is over
will either slope off to watch the next big thing, or back to the Hammers or
Sky TV's coverage. Some may even turn up at the Daggers. If you do, welcome to a real
football club guys.
The new Urchin fans had not made themselves popular by behaving like Harry
Enfield's "Loadsa Money" on the message boards and generally larging
it about how great it all was at their council owned athletics stadium and
will get very little sympathy now. Even yesterday some of their fans were
asking if this meant that there would be no free coaches to the FA Cup game at
Boston United now, while another was astounded to find out that a train cost
£32. Welcome to the real world!
It seems like the players and staff at Bridge Avenue have not been paid
wages owed for the last month and that the squad has been given carte-blanche
to go and find new clubs. The ridiculous wages that they have been drawing at
Hornchurch for playing below their natural level will have branded them mercenaries
though and with them all being cup-tied their options may be restricted.
Certainly a few will be of interest to John Still who, it is understood, spent much of yesterday
on the phone. They must understand real football economics though and be
prepared to play for a realistic wage.
One feels real sympathy for Danny
Hill (left) who left the Daggers only
on the 21st October to rejoin Garry Hill at Bridge
Avenue and presumably has never actually been paid a bean for it. If Garry had
any kind of inkling that this outcome was on the cards he must be very ashamed
of himself this morning for that alone. For the other ex-Daggers that took the
Hornchuch wedge there is considerably less sympathy.
(right) is the one
man that seems safe out of all this, it is understood that his wages were
guaranteed for three years in some kind of trust fund. Whether Garry will want
to continue managing a club with no money to spend which will now inevitably
slide down the leagues remains to be seen, but I very much doubt it.
the Conference South has been skewed as a competition by Hornchurch's
mid-season demise. Those clubs that have played the Urchins already have faced
a team that is probably the strongest ever to play at that level of football.
Those that play them now will, if the rumours prove true, be playing pretty
much a youth team. Gravesend & Northfleet who were knocked out of the FA
Cup at Bridge Avenue on Saturday will be fuming that a potential Cup run has
been taken from them.