Pinchbeck United Football Club has moved to answer critics and end continuing behind-the-scenes unrest.
In a period that the club has appeared in two cup finals and promotion was confirmed, it is matters off the field which is driving much of the chatter.
Now the club has issued a strongly-worded statement, criticising the actions of two people behind some of the unrest – former committee members Pete Chapman and Emily Chappell – and outlining why a decision was taken to remove them from the committee for “gross misconduct”.
Mr Chapman, who called an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) because he was unhappy with how the committee was being run and concerned over thousands of pounds of expenditure, is accused of “indirect racial abuse” and letting off a firecracker while junior players were training. The club has also pointed to a court case involving Mr Chapman as another reason why it wanted to distance itself from him.
Mr Chapman told The Voice on Wednesday (May 17) that he has yet to receive formal notification that he was booted off the committee on April 29.
Miss Chappell, who managed the clubhouse bar, is said to have reacted badly to a decision to appoint Coronation Bars (owned by former club chairman Bruce Patterson) to run it from May 1. The club claims she held a party at the club on April 28, selling stock cheaply and then left the clubhouse and bar in such a state that access had to be forced the following day.
The club says it did not recognise the EGM as it was not properly convened.
About 20 people turned up on Tuesday (May 16) to find the clubhouse locked. Mr Chapman says ordinarily it would have been open from 5pm. Instead a meeting was held at The Ship pub in the village. Former club chairmen Tom Healey and Pete Roberts are understood to have been among the attendees.
Mr Chapman claims the club is in big debt to at least one supplier, despite having been about £15,000 in the black at last June’s AGM.
Referring to chairman Andrew Withers, secretary Richard Withers and vice-chairman Gary Coomes, Mr Chapman said: “It was agreed that we are going to give the three top ones an option to call an AGM before June 26. If not, we will be calling an AGM on June 26.
“We still want answers to our concerns and we want to see accounts for the year. We want an explanation about where all this money has gone.”
Mr Chapman insists that the EGM was properly called and should have taken place in the Glebe Field clubhouse, as advertised. The club says a fans forum will be held soon on a date to be fixed, with committee members present.
The statement by Pinchbeck United Football Club in full:
In light of recent social media allegations the club now feel it is time to put the record straight with regards to the recent call for an EGM by some supporters of the club, themselves supported by one current club committee member, two former club committee members and two life vice presidents.
As a football club we are governed by FA rules for a Charter Standard Club, copies of which are freely available online. These rules were adopted at the start of the season to comply with FA rules. We are not a members club and the only members we have are either on the committee or players who pay a £5 registration fee to our club. Any other person that uses the facility is a member of the public or casual drinker whom we encourage to use our facilities. They have no rights as a member nor any say in how the club will operate.
The EGM was called by Mr Pete Chapman.
FA rule 9 subsection (c) states:
“(c) An EGM may be called at any time by the Club Committee and shall be called within 21 days of the receipt by the Club Secretary of a requisition in writing, signed by not less than five members, stating the purposes for which the Meeting is required and the resolutions proposed. Business at an EGM may be any business that may be transacted at an AGM.” Copies of this can be found online.
Our club Secretary has not to this date ever received a request in writing and there were not five members of the club who supported it. We responded in the press to the advert calling for an EGM by saying it would not happen.
Furthermore no resolutions were proposed 14 days prior to the meeting so even if it was a bona fide meeting it would have been wrong to proceed.
The advert itself wasn’t correct either. We are PINCHBECK UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB not Pinchbeck Football club. Secondly there was no start time stated on the advert either.
Regarding two former committee members who are driving this campaign. Firstly, Mr Pete Chapman had previously been warned about indirect racial abuse several months prior to this, plus we had received complaints from our Junior section about his language and letting off a fire cracker whilst the juniors were training. We as a club have the duty of care to safeguard everybody that uses the facility, children included and the actions of Mr Chapman contravene the FA’s Safeguarding Children Policy. Finally he verbally abused our club Chairman in front of a visiting team in the bar after a fixture and now has a pending court case for 3 criminal convictions, he is someone we don’t want associated with our football club. A club meeting on the 29th April democratically decided to remove Mr Chapman from the committee and bar him from the facility with immediate effect for gross misconduct. A letter was sent by recorded delivery to advise him of this decision.
Emily Chappell was asked to manage our bar and she started work on the week commencing the 16th October. She was paid a set rate and given two days off per week. Emily was informed on the 24th April that a professional bar company would be managing the bar from 1st May and despite this she would still have the hours of work that she wanted. On the 28th April, a Friday night, Emily held a party at the club which used almost all of our stock which didn’t match the very low takings for the evening. On getting to the club on the 29th of April our Vice Chairman found there to be padlocks on the facility not allowing access to our football team for our vital home game against Leverington Sports that afternoon. The Vice Chairman had to force entry to the club to find that keys for opening the internal bar door had been taken, the door had to be broken to gain entry. Upon entry the place was found in a state. Not only had nearly all our stock been sold it was filthy and not fit to open. At a meeting on the 29th April it was decided that the actions of Emily Chappell on that night were deemed to be detrimental to the club and her social media output until now has been nothing but damaging to both our club and committee. At that meeting it was democratically decided that Emily Chappell would be removed from the committee for gross misconduct and barred from the facility with immediate effect. A recorded delivery letter was sent to Emily Chappell advising her of this.
We no longer feel the need to be quiet and let things pass over as the continued campaign against our club carried on. Emily Chappell has played the victim very well, however it was decided that the club did not wish to take any further action against her. It is something we may wish to consider should any further such output be continued.
Pinchbeck United are a proud football club who have achieved great things on and off the field this year that should be applauded. The retaining of the President’s Shield was a highlight as was getting promoted to Step 6 of the football pyramid. We were runners up in both the PDFL Premier League and the PFA Senior Cup final.
We will be holding a fans forum in the near future where as many of the Committee as possible will be there. This will be communicated by our social media outlet on Twitter which is currently our only form of online presence. Any other form of communication is not affiliated to Pinchbeck United Football Club. The date of the forum will be advised shortly.
Pinchbeck United Football Club