THE owner of Salisbury City FC has pledged to carry on fighting for the future of the club, despite the blow of its relegation from the Conference Premier.
Mark Winter issued a rallying cry to all who would listen at an open evening held at the Ray Mac on Monday.
The committed fan was joined by fellow supporters and local businesses interested in sponsoring the Whites.
Mr Winter stressed the importance of his team being a “community club” following its exit from the non-league’s top flight into the Conference South on Friday.
“Anyone is welcome to get involved in the club as long as they help steer it in the right direction,”
“If we can afford to run this club without a sugar daddy and run it as predominantly fan-based, then that’s what we will do,” said the 47- year-old, who banned business partner Otail Touzar from the club last week after he failed to invest a single penny.
Mr Touzar, a Moroccan businessman, was expected to be the major backer, with 98 per cent of the shares, when he bought the club with Mr Winter from William Harrison-Allan last month, taking on £160,000 worth of debts.
But Mr Winter, who has ploughed £75,000 of his own cash into the club, is contesting Mr Touzar’s rights to the shares and wants them signed over to him.
He says it’s still a “work in progress”.
“We’re all in this together,” added Mr Winter, who has been working round-the-clock with “trusted advisers” with the aim of regaining the club’s former glory.
“I want this to be a club people want to get involved with,” he added. “We all want the club to move forward and we need it to be part of the community.
“We have got some amazing people who will help guide this ship in the right direction.
“We believe in taking this club forward to be stable and prosper.
The only way we are going to do that is work with local people, schools and clubs.
“We need to make a club that people want to be involved in.”
He emphasised that it was not all about take: “It’s about what we can do for you during the season. It is about giving back and working with people, whether that is a local business, Chamber of Commerce, Wiltshire Council, or simply individuals.”
Mr Winter said the club had received legal advice that they would win a challenge to the decision by the Conference Board to demote them, but said this step would have to be considered very carefully in the light of the cost of a challenge.
“My gut feeling right now is that if we are in the Conference South we could be a competitive club without over-stretching ourselves and taking too much of a gamble,”