NEW chairperson Paula Henley has issued a "cry for help" to save Wimborne Town after due diligence uncovered debts of approximately £110,000.

Henley revealed monthly losses of between £6,000 and £8,000 with manager Simon Browne's £1,000-per-week playing budget set to be completely axed within a fortnight. The club has also made redundant a full-time member of staff.

The brutal truth was laid bare at Monday night's emergency fans' forum at Cuthbury with Henley launching a plea for volunteers to muck in to reduce monthly overheads of £16,000.

Henley anticipates being able to save the 138-year-old club, which famously won the FA Vase in 1992, without an immediate cash injection but confirmed the club would not be able to pay its players unless funding could be found.

Henley told the Daily Echo: "We have three options. The first is to just fold and disappear, which nobody wants, the second is to enter a CVA (creditors' voluntary arrangement) but that has ramifications in terms of points deductions, or we can look at what we have, steady the ship and move on.

"If nothing was to change, we might as well close the doors now. I am dependent on help from people in a voluntary capacity to get everything running as it needs to.

"We have to acknowledge the old board did all they could. We thank them for that and I don't have an issue with any of them as individuals but we have to question some of the commercial decisions made.

"A financial injection would certainly be welcomed but with the things we are putting in place internally, by cutting unnecessary spend, I believe we can make it through to the end of the season without it.

"Being a realist, I don't expect one so we are planning to work with what is in front of us by reducing our outgoings."

Around £50,000 of the debt has been described as "friendly loans" from parties prepared to negotiate or wait for their money with the rest owed to creditors being repaid on an ongoing basis.

"Everyone is paid to date," added Henley, who confirmed she did not anticipate any winding up orders in the near future. "We don't owe the taxman so it is not horrible debt, it can be managed with the right approach."

With regard to on-field matters, Henley insisted voluntary relegation back to the Wessex League was not on the agenda but accepted survival would be difficult to earn without player funds.

"I don't know whether I am speaking from the head or the heart but we do not want to go down to the Wessex League," said Henley.

"If it becomes a question of that or nothing, then of course it will have to be considered but nothing we are doing in terms of trying to secure the future of the club is with relegation in mind.

"Nobody in our position is safe and it would be stupid to assume we could be. We run the risk of putting out a non-competitive team which would be bad for us on so many different levels.

"There is a Plan B in place and if we were in real danger, we may try to entice some experienced players to make sure the worst doesn't happen. By stemming the losses now, we hope to have built up an amount of money for that."

On the futures of Browne and assistant Brendon King, Henley said: "They know exactly what the position of the club is and at the moment, Simon and Brendon are offering their support.

"I have known them for 10 days and have had to take a lot of their vision away from them. We have one or two weeks' worth of playing budget, we probably don't have that but in fairness to them and to the players, I am trying to work round it in the hope this cry for help will bring something about.

"Nobody wants a zero playing budget and Simon has tried to buy a couple of weeks to see if we can get something sorted out before taking such a drastic measure."

Ex-chairman Paul Miller has now decided against returning to the club but former manager Steve Cuss and finance director Ken Fergus remain on the board with local businessman Paul Mayer.

Harry Redknapp and Paul Barlow are initially set to take advisory capacities with Henley hopeful of naming two more directors in the near future.

And despite the rocky start to her second spell at Cuthbury, Henley is adamant her enthusiasm remains undiminished.

"I can't say that I am not stressed and I am aware there is a lot more to come but I feel compelled to do something for this club," she said. "All I can do is my best and tell people how things are in the hope that they want to help.

"If they do, then I think we can build a really good future but if they close the door, I don't think Wimborne Town has much chance of survival."

  • Following the meeting, club president and ex-chairman Ken Stewart confirmed he would write off his loan to the club while retaining his 19.84 per cent stake in Parmiter Holdings, the company that owns 77 per cent of Wimborne Town Football Club Limited. 

Former director Tony Grant confirmed he would convert his loan into shares in Parmiter Holdings in full and while he has resigned from the board, will assist by continuing his voluntary duties.

Director Ken Fergus, who is set to continue with the club until he relocates at the end of the season, confirmed he would write off his loan to the club and donate his 7.44 per cent share in Parmiter Holdings to an appropriate party with the club's best interests at heart. 

The value of the loans set to be wiped out by the three former directors is understood to total approximately £40,000. 

There were also several pledges from generous supporters, some of whom offered cash on the night, to help towards a players' fund.