Howell questions motives of St Albans City owners

Former Saints boss speaks out after being sacked on Monday

FORMER St Albans City boss David Howell believes it will be the club’s supporters who suffer as long as the current owners are in place at Clarence Park.

Howell was sacked on Monday evening after 18 months in charge, with the club citing poor results on the pitch as the reason for cutting the 54-year-old’s tenure short. The latest reports have suggested Potters Bar manager Adam Lee has been approached to take over the job.

Howell’s sacking meant the second significant departure from the club after Ian Ridley resigned as chairman last week in part due to his opposition to a move to increase ticket prices by 20 per cent.

Howell, pictured right, says the way the club’s owners have treated him in recent weeks has been unprofessional, and says the fact ‘they are not football people’ could spell trouble for the Saints’ future.

“I think losing the FA Cup match to Lowestoft was the start of it, to be honest. That meant we wouldn’t be getting any of the prize-money, and it changed the board’s views on things,” Howell told the Herts Advertiser.

“They [the board] then had to look at ways at saving money as not enough sponsorship was coming in and not enough people were coming to games, and I understand all that.

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“But I know for a fact they have approached another manager, even though they told me they hadn’t.

“They wanted to cut the budget by two-thirds and hoped I’d walk away from the job and take the players with me. But I wasn’t going to do that as me and the players still wanted to achieve promotion.

“We agreed the budget would only be cut by a third until the end of the year (December), and I said I’d help bring in sponsorship – which I managed to help bring in �3,300 from various friends – which would help the playing budget.

“Unfortunately the cut came before the Bideford match last week, and I had to tell the players that they were having their wages cut. But the players wanted to keep fighting for promotion and to turn our fortunes around.

“I felt that we would have been able to turn things around, and push on in January. But the owners aren’t bothered about achieving promotion this season and would rather save money – and I think the way they went about it was very unprofessional.

“The writing was on the wall as soon as Ian Ridley left. Ian had worked hard to reach a compromise with the owners in terms of the budget, but the board saw an opportunity to get rid of me with one win and two draws from the last eight matches.

“The owners want to stabilise the club until they know what is happening with the new ground and everything, but trying to make those things happen is very difficult.

“The supporters will now suffer in my opinion and the board’s actions will speak volumes. The owners aren’t football people, and they want to run the club like a business. One owns a chain of pubs while the other owns a recruitment company. I even had to explain to one of them how the play-offs work.”