St Albans City FC co-owner “totally shocked” at Mervyn Morgan resignation

Mervyn Morgan (left) of St Albans City Youth alongside former Arsenal, Leicester City and England st

Mervyn Morgan (left) of St Albans City Youth alongside former Arsenal, Leicester City and England striker Alan Smith at the opening of the Nicholas Breakspear 3G pitch in 2012. - Credit: Archant

The co-owner of St Albans City Football Club has said he is “totally shocked” by the resignation of the youth club’s chair of trustees.

Mervyn Morgan issued a statement last night announcing his departure after St Albans council decided not to go ahead with the club’s proposals for a new stadium near Bricket Wood as part of the Noke Lane Community Village.

Upon hearing the news, the club’s co-chair John McGowan said: “I am totally shocked and very disappointed that he is leaving us.

“Mervyn has been a loyal and passionate supporter all the way through this and this puts us all in the frame to reconsider our direction going forward.”

Mr Morgan had been with the youth club for 32 years and managed its major projects, such as the 3G pitch at Nicholas Breakspear.

The Herts Advertiser reported he had been considering his role for a while, but the final straw was the meeting of the council’s planning policy committee last week, where councillors confirmed they would not support the community village proposal.

Mr Morgan told the paper: “[The council] do not deserve a club like St Albans City Youth FC, a club run by hundreds of volunteers for the youth of our district, a club that has achieved great things in its 47 years despite the obstacles sometimes put in its path.”

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Planning policy committee member Jock Wright said: “The councillors sat on PPC are fully aware of the value the club presents to the community - hence the explicit instruction to officers and unanimous support from all members of the committee for the policy relating to the club to be improved upon in the draft plan, which let’s not forget will be back before the committee on June 12 in 18 days time.

“So it’s quite clear he’s jumping the gun and trying to force the council into a decision that wouldn’t be defensible in law to the Planning Inspector.

“He may well want us to discard the law for the benefit of Lawrence Levy and the club, but councillors have a duty and obligation to get this new plan created in compliance with the law. To do anything else would be a dereliction of duty to all the residents of the district, not just those associated with the football club.

“The other point to stress here is the club’s outline plans were not judged poor or insufficient, but it was the site itself that the club presented to build upon that was deemed inappropriate purely in terms of Green Belt - protecting the Green Belt is something that matters to residents.”