The life and potential death of a football club – The chairman’s view of Hendon FC

The sentiment that football is a cruel game is often echoed by disgruntled managers, players and fans alike.

Usually this is made in reference to an incident confined to the 90 minutes of a match, but evidence that this isn’t always the case can found at Hendon FC, who could soon find themselves consigned to the history books.

There are no Sky Sports cameras here, hoping to grab an interview with someone from the club or an over-exuberant fan, but the pressures felt by chairman Simon Lawrence are just as strong as those felt in the top flight.

Having beaten Lewes in the second round qualifying round of the FA Cup, the Isthmian Premier League club will be guaranteed a share of FA prize money as reward.

However, the game took its toll on Lawrence who revealed he spent “the entire game shaking” such was the financial importance of the match to the club.

The win in the second qualifying round of the competition netted the club £4,500 in prize money, but Lawrence is adamant that fans need also need to contribute; otherwise the very future of the 104-year-old club could soon be in doubt.

“It’s been well documented at the [Supporters’] Trust annual general meeting that the club can’t sustain itself based on revenue income and current gates” he said to me on Tuesday.

“Anyone who professes to be a supporter needs to act as in time there won’t be a football club to follow.

“Soon they won’t be able to look for the results on Sky Sports, as they’ll be hidden at the back of the Sunday papers.

“It’s a drum we’ve been banging for six years now and it’s alarming how few people are coming through the doors.

“I’m asking people to at least join the Hendon Supporters’ Trust, as if around 500 extra people sign up then that’s £10,000 for the club.”

Without after a permanent home after moving from Claremont Road (top) in 2009, they are currently ground-sharing with Harrow Borough and from next season home will be Wembley’s Vale Farm.

And without that vital source of revenue, Lawrence feels it is time to ensure that fans are fully aware of the club’s financial situation.

“I don’t want people to turn around and say I’d wish I’d known about it and I wish I could’ve done something.”

The Greens will face Eastbourne Borough in the next round of the cup and an additional £3,000 if they progress. A win could determine the future of the club.

“Fortunately, we successfully negotiated our way through our difficult FA Cup tie and into the 3rd Qualifying Round with an excellent performance from the players. This means, we’ll be £4,500 better off with the prospect of further prize money to come” he wrote in an open letter to fans on the club’s website.

“However, should we lose in the next round, be under no illusions – it won’t be too long before the consequences really start to kick in.

“For those who understand the FA Cup, clubs of our size die a thousand deaths hoping we get the result.”

And such was the importance of the Lewes game the 90 minutes had a harrowing effect on Lawrence.

“I spent the entire game shaking, as I know what a win means to the future of the club.

“We have a tricky draw against Eastbourne, who are mid-table in the Conference South, the level above us and I wouldn’t give us a chance as they’re a strong side very well equipped to deal with us.

“I’ll be there ready and I’ll be shaking as I know what’s at stake.”

Further information about how you can contribute to the survival of Hendon FC can be found here. Tags: Hendon, Non-League, Ryman Premier

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