Claridge edges closer to Whites' hot-seat

Fans speak out to board members

Fans speak out to board members

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STEVE Claridge looks set to be unveiled as Mikey Harris’s replacement when Salisbury City’s finances are in order.

The ex-professional frontman was joined by members of the new consortium at a meeting last night to answer questions from anxious supporters on the club’s current situation.

“To have a football club is more important than anything else at this stage,” declared prospective 48-year-old boss Claridge.

Sitting alongside Claridge were three board members Mark Winter, Jackie Goddard and David Phillips, who, along with absent co-owners Jeremy Harwood and Graeme Mundy, confirmed they they’ll be going to High Court early next week to resolve the ownership issue, costing £45,000 in legal fees.

The trip will cost the new consortium an additional £50,000 to ratify the new ownership of the club after buying it from former chairman William Harrison-Allan, who voided the initial sale of the club to Moroccan businessman Otail Touzar and Mr Winter.

If the hearing is successful, the club will present ownership evidence to the Football Conference with the aim of being reinstated in Conference South following expulsion earlier this month.

Claridge, who has managed Portsmouth, Millwall and non-league Weymouth, says he can start planning for the 2014/15 season, which starts in two weeks’ time, once things are confirmed.

The Football League show pundit added: “The £50,000 used for court will come out of my budget.”

“People have been working incredibly hard to get where we are. No one is asking for a thank you but fans need to consider what needs to be done.

“I’ve got nothing to gain from this but to take a club from where it has been, to now, is quite incredible.”

“Let’s get over the line now.”

After the Q and A at the Ray Mac, Claridge held a training session with previous Leicester City teammate Steve Guppy with a small squad of youngsters.

Whites’ CEO Paul Smith, a good friend of Claridge’s, has been working tirelessly for the club since the ownership saga began.

He believes that Claridge is the right man for the hot-seat.

“Steve sees the game,” said Mr Smith.

“He’s a brilliant fit for this football club and given time will be fantastic.”

Mr Smith says the club is in talks with Chris McPhee, Will Puddy and Ryan Brett – the remaining few who are yet to sign elsewhere – about re-signing.

They hope to arrange a friendly with Pompey once a squad has been assembled.

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