United chairman Houchen ‘forced’ to quit

WORTHING United Football Club chairman Glenn Houchen has said he will be walking away from the club with a heavy heart after internal politics are forcing him to step down.

ehind the scenes goings-on at the club have forced the chairman to quit his role and leave the Lyons Farm outfit – with former chairman Gary Downie set for a return to the hot seat.

Having taken over as chairman two years ago, Houchen has over seen the club re-establish its County League Division 1 status and undergone much-needed ground improvements.

Houchen, aged 45, has been involved in some capacity on and off at the club since he was 16 years old, but now from what he described as “back stabbing”, “lies” and “personal grudges” against him, his position has become “untenable”.

It comes just a week after manager Tobi Hutchinson quit – after just a season at the club – the fourth successive manager to last just one season at United.

A disagreement arose at the club over running a reserve team next year, something that Hutchinson felt was key to establishing the side as a solid Division 1 side, but the club blocked the plan over financial reasons.

Houchen admitted he was all for the reserve side and backed Hutchinson for it, but other committee members at the club disagreed.

Houchen said: “It’s going to be very hard to walk away as I have been there since I was 16 on and off and I’ve spent part of the past two years building it up.

“I’ll be resigning at the AGM as I’ve been getting a lack of support from some of the committee.

“Dominic (Di Paola) did a fantastic job getting the club back into Division 1 and Peter Saywell has done a fantastic job helping us develop the ground and improve that, before this season Tobi did superbly to keep us in the division and our highest finish in 20 years, so it’s really hard to walk away.

“It’s very difficult as I’ve spent the last two years of my life trying to build the club up and I just hope it keeps going forward and not backward.”

Ex-chairman Downie is expected to take over his old role again and Houchen said there was absolutely no problem between them both, “I have nothing against him, we’ve been friends for a long time and won’t fall out – I feel a bit sorry for him as he’s been caught in the middle a bit,” he said.

Downie will be standing for chairman at the AGM later this month and is hoping to establish a local set-up at the club again.

He said: “What we want is basically people from the local area if we can, and spend two or three seasons building the club up again in Division 1.

“We need a reserve team, we all agree on that, but funding is an issue at the moment.

“Our first priority is the first team, building that again, and then look at the reserves, from which we are probably just a year away.”

On the manager situation, Downie said he was working hard on appointing a new manager. Anyone interested in the position or in joining the club, can contact him on 07958 164309.