24th May 2001
E's fans plan to start from scratch
Enfield Football Club fans are seriously considering ditching the E's and forming a brand new club next season. They had agreed to take over Enfield from chairman Tony Lazarou, but negotiations have been going nowhere. So this week they told him that unless he re-opened the takeover talks by next Tuesday they would start their own club.
If it happens, a new team, possibly called Enfield Borough, would join one of the lower feeder leagues to the Ryman League, in which Enfield currently plays. The E's are still homeless, ground-sharing with Boreham Wood FC. But a new, smaller Enfield could easily adopt a ground in the borough without the need for costly redevelopment.
'We don't really want to have to do this,' said chairman of the Enfield Supporters' Trust Dave Bryant. 'But we are very, very seriously considering doing it. For many of us, leaving would be a very difficult thing to do. But I am confident a new club would be able to adopt the great traditions of the old one'.
Mr Lazarou, who was unavailable for comment, has told the trust that he is not prepared to continue with the takeover negotiations whilst he pursues a claim for compensation against Enfield Council over the sale of E's former Southbury Road ground.
The trust will hold its next meeting on June 5th at Brimsdown Sports and Social Club where members will be asked to vote on the proposals for a new Enfield Football Club.
FA probe fears
The FA's review into Enfield's financial affairs took a step nearer completion next week when E's directors were asked to comment on the draft report. And one of them, John Jefferson, revealed on Monday that many of its findings gave him 'serious cause for concern'.
The FA still insists the report is merely part of its general review into finances of all Ryman League clubs. But Jefferson suspects it could end with more than just advice on how best to run the club. There are even suggestions from inside Enfield that E's chairman Tony Lazarou could be banned from his current role in fooball.
Whatever the outcome, chairman of the Enfield Supporters' Trust David Bryant thinks the whole process is far too slow. The FA admits the report into Enfield began last September. 'Frankly I'm amazed it's taking this long,' said Mr Bryant. He is still trying to negotiate a deal with Mr Lazarou that would see the supporters' trust take over the club. But Mr Lazarou refuses to continue talks while other matters are on-going. As well as the FA probe, Mr Lazarou is also pursuing compensation from Enfield Council over a detail concerning the sale of the E's former Southbury Road ground in 1999. He says part of the sale included giving him the use of a retail unit now on the site and known as the supporters Link. But the council, which owns the land, insists it must go out to tender.
Bryant, who fears time is running out for the trust to be able to successfully take charge of Enfield next season, sees no reason why all the matters cannot be progressed simultaneously. He has given Mr Lazarou until next Tuesday to reopen talks before he asks the trust's members to vote on an astonishing new idea - to leave Enfield behind and form a new club. Mr Lazarou, who was unavailable for comment, and the board of directors, have until June 10th to reply to the FA's draft report. At this stage, its precise details remain confidential. Daniel McCrohan