latest news, march 2009

Ridley's return
By Ky Capel

Thursday 19h March 2009

RETURNING chairman Ian Ridley believes it is “absolutely vital” that Weymouth avoid relegation from the Blue Square Premier.

Ridley was unveiled as the Terras’ new chairman at a Press conference yesterday afternoon and returns to the Wessex Stadium for a second spell at the helm, having originally left the post four and a half years ago.

The Mail on Sunday journalist will be joined on the board by new vice-chairman, and former main sponsor, Dave Higson and directors Shaun Hennessy and Paul Cocks, whose rescue package was accepted by the previous regime on Monday.

Ian Winsor is set to remain on the board while representatives from the Terras Trust and supporters’ club will be co-opted in due course.

The Terras, who have been forced to field a patched-up side in each of their last six games, have suffered seven defeats on the spin and are six points clear of the drop-zone.

And even though the club is some £500,000 in debt, Ridley is adamant that Blue Square Premier football must be retained.

He said: “The easiest thing in many ways would be to go down because the costs go down, but the problem with that is we spent a lot of time trying to get into the Blue Square Premier and we don’t want to give that up lightly.

“This is the Premier League of non-League football and we want to stay in it. In terms of revenue, AFC Wimbledon could come into this league next season and they’ll bring 1,000 people with them, which is money into the football club.

“We want to be playing Oxford United and other big clubs – Luton Town next year maybe. We want to be in amongst that and it’s easier to attract revenue, sponsorship and TV money so we want to be in there – it’s absolutely vital we stay up.

“The easy and safe option would be to go into the Blue Square South but we don’t want to do that.”

And funds have been raised to bring in fresh blood in order to boost the Terras’ chances of survival.

Ridley added: “We’ve given Alan Lewer a bit of leeway to get players in and hopefully he’ll be able to do that to get the six to nine points we need to stay up because we definitely want to stay in the Blue Square Premier.

“Off the field it’s about managing the debt, and our finances, and we’ll re-evaluate where we are at the end of the season.”

Boss Alan Lewer, who added midfielder Ben Gill to his ranks on Tuesday, is looking to sign two new faces before Saturday’s home clash with Kettering Town.

He said: “I’m waiting on things at the moment. I’ve got to bring people in quickly and hopefully there’ll be another two in time for Saturday.

“Budget-wise? I don’t know. The immediate thing is to bring players in and that’s what I’ve started to do. Whether we can afford it as a board I don’t know, all I can do is ask the questions. If I can’t have it, I can’t have it and if I can then I can. I’ve just got to get on with it day by day.”

Lewer also revealed that James Coutts, who was on the verge of joining Dorchester Town last Friday, is set to stay at the Wessex.

The manager added: “He’s staying. I’ve spoken to him and there’s no problem there. He didn’t want to go and no one wanted him to leave so he’ll stay at this club.”

Supporters were given the chance to meet the new board last night at a fans’ forum at the Wessex Stadium.


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