In a stormy meeting Chairman and owner of Royal Navy FC, Mr Cameron, met with his beleaguered manager Mr Stanhope and told him to “Put up or shut up, focus on the football while I run the club”. The meeting followed a press conference where Stanhope admitted that RNFC would struggle to win anything this season as the playing squad was now just too small. Recently RNFC has sold off some of its best players. Despite repeated requests from the manager and fans, the chairman has refused to fund any new transfers and wants to sell more players in order to make drastic savings on the wage bill. The chairman, who is said to be very keen on playing in Europe, remains exceptionally bullish in the face of mounting criticism and says he still expects the club to remain in the top 4 in the Premiership and is demanding a good showing in the FA Cup and League Cup. RNFC, once the biggest club in the world and until recently holding a consistent 3rd place, has been rapidly overtaken by other clubs and even once despised local rivals. Most pundits say that relegation from the Premiership is now a certainty because with such a small and ageing squad RNFC, simply can’t keep up in the long hard season ahead.
One of the club’s board of directors, says people simply don’t understand how much of a mess that previous owners of the club had left.“We’re doing our best to balance the books but economies have to be made although we can still be a successful club”. There have been a few new signings of very expensive British players but most agree the club paid way over-the odds for them and they have yet to really show their potential. In the long-term 2 of the world’s best players are contracted to join the club but that is sometime in the future and will be frankly bizarre as it looks likely the club could be playing in League One by then. The chairman has also been considering ground-sharing or even merger with another European club to help save costs but this is deeply unpopular with fans and quite impractical in reality .
Amongst the players the mood is sombre. Everyone agrees “the team have always given 110% on the pitch” but good team spirit and plenty of experience can only take you so far and can’t make up for lack of investment in the club. Many of the players won’t have their contracts renewed at the end of the season and several players have had to play in matches while carrying injuries. Speaking off the record to local journalists a member of the team admitted that “morale is very brittle, there is huge anger and resentment in the team, players are exhausted and struggling with the fixture congestion and everyone blames the chairman and the board”. Despite the seriousness of the situation, the national media have largely ignored the unfolding crisis at RNFC and are more interested in the chairman’s other interests. As the problems get worse shouts of “Sack the board” and “Cameron out” are increasingly being heard on the terraces.
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