Pope insists Hawks can still follow promotion dream

Tony Taggart is congratulated by Perry Ryan, left, after scoring the Hawks winner. Picture: Dave Haines
Tony Taggart is congratulated by Perry Ryan, left, after scoring the Hawks winner. Picture: Dave Haines
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Derek Pope insists the Hawks can still realise their ambitions despite the shock exit of Jim Fallon.

Fallon resigned as vice-chairman of the Westleigh Park club on Monday.

Having pledged to bankroll the club’s rise into the Blue Square Bet Premier, his departure has left a gaping hole in the Hawks’ budget.

Along with his board, Pope has been left to pick up the pieces.

But the chairman insists this does not mean the end of the Hawks dreams of promotion out of Blue Square Bet South.

‘It makes life difficult for us and it means we have to put more money in,’ said Pope.

‘We have brought Lee Bradbury in as manager on a two-year full-time contract.

‘But Fallon’s departure won’t affect what Bradbury has been brought in to do.

‘If Lee wants to bring new players in we will do everything we can to make sure he gets them.

‘But it will obviously mean some of the current squad will be moving on.

‘Lee has inherited a squad of 24 players and we budgeted for far less.

‘We are determined to see things through, though, and do whatever we need to do.’

When Fallon’s exit was announced, Hawks secretary Trevor Brock said the club felt ‘let down’.

He also claimed Fallon had failed to meet financial commitments he made with the club.

While Pope stands by Brock’s statement, Fallon insists he has put a significant amount of cash into the club.

He added: ‘I resigned because of the non-issue of share certificates I was due for the money I had put in.

‘The club also refused to pay compensation to sacked management duo Stuart Ritchie and Barry Blankley which led to a row.’

Pope is now keen to move on and get the Westleigh Park outfit back on an even keel.

‘Over the years we have run this club honestly with the intention of not going down the road of getting into debt,’ said the chairman.

‘It has been hard work but we pride ourselves on it and we are still determined to push forward.

‘We can move on from this and believe it can only make us stronger.

‘It is a time for everyone to stick together and obviously the more people we can get through the gate the better it will be.’

Meanwhile, a Tony Taggart screamer gave the Hawks a 1-0 win over the Nike Academy in their friendly at Westleigh Park last night.

The winger struck four minutes before the break with a thunderous shot into the top corner from outside the area.