'Worksop Town will be in safe hands,' says prospective chairman Pete Whitehead

Pete Whitehead believes debt-laden Worksop Town will become a self-sustaining football club under his stewardship.

By Matt Brooks
Thursday, 20th February 2020, 11:51 am
Updated Thursday, 20th February 2020, 12:01 pm
Worksop Town FC ground, Sandy Lane, Worksop.
Worksop Town FC ground, Sandy Lane, Worksop.

That is if the club can raise the £30,000 required to satisfy creditors by the end of the month - fulfilling the agreement to have Whitehead installed as Tigers' new chairman.

The cash-strapped club is currently still at risk of going bust if the money is not found but with fundraising efforts mounting there is a confidence the target will be reached.

If Whitehead, who owns the football ground on Sandy Lane, takes on the Tigers then his first order of business will be to make the club stable and sustainable going forward.

"I've done a lot of work over the past three months and I've said to the fans I would invest money," Whitehead told the Guardian.

"But we need to raise £30,000 to satisfy the creditors.

"Some of those creditors are local companies in Worksop and they are owed money. They've done work for the football club and they deserve to be paid.

"I'm going to make sure we raise this £30,000 and any creditor who is owed money will be paid.

"Once we've got the club stabilised the club will then be in safe hands. I can guarantee people that there would be no problems going forward."

Whitehead was first approached by Tigers life president Keith Ilett three months ago and has since paid off a substantial amount of the debt the clubs currently carries.

"No-one has asked me for any money," he said. "I have contributed.

"I'm a football man and I don't want to see any football club go to the wall, especially one I'm associated with in a small way.

"I didn't hesitate to help. As soon as Keith [Ilett] asked me to help them I was only too pleased to do so.

"I've done my best to help the club since I took on the ground.

"We've not always got on but if people are good to me then I'm good to them and I see a very healthy future for both myself and Worksop Town."

Whitehead wants to make improvements to the ground and install a new artificial playing surface, which he believes will help achieve their sustainable goal.

"I am speaking to Bassetlaw District Council and The FA with the intention of putting a 3G pitch down which would help with sustainability," he said.

"I want to help make sure Worksop Town Football Club can build on its already successful history.

"I'm looking forward to it.

"I had a break from football 12 months ago and I've missed it.

"I've had a number of offers from all types of clubs from the National League down to the Northern Premier League.

"Worksop just fits. I own the ground, they've got a fantastic supporter base and I believe I'm the man to take Worksop Town forward.

"It's a great opportunity for Worksop Town and for me."

He arranged a meeting to discuss the club's present and future with fans at the clubhouse on Sandy Lane last week, which saw more than 100 people attend.

"I'll never say to the fans that we're going to do this or we're going to do that.

"What I can promise is stability.

"On the field, there will be a competitive side put together and hopefully the people of Worksop can start talking about the football instead of the problems off the field.

"We're not going to start throwing massive amounts of money about.

"I'm here long term.

"At the meeting, I told all the fans this is a long term project but I will commit in the short term to two to three years as long as the community gets involved and supports me.

"I think the club will become self-sufficient very quickly.

"They will continue to play in the Northern Premier League.

"A lot of clubs in semi-professional football have big budgets. We need to be realistic in our short term plans and aims.

"First and foremost is getting the club sustainable.

"If I don't join the club and another investor doesn't come to the club will go bust."

All those wishing to make a donation to the Fund to help save the Tigers can visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/worksoptown.

Further details of how to make contributions to the Fund to help save the Tigers can be obtained from Worksop Town life president Keith Ilett on 07734 144961.