It’s been a baptism of fire for Hungerford Town chairman Pat Chambers.
Now into his second full season at the helm of West Berkshire’s Vanarama National League South side, the Crusaders chief has revealed all to the Berkshire Football Stories podcast.
Chambers took over in April 2019 at the end of a season that saw a remarkable escape from relegation, but 2019/20 brought it’s own challenges – not least a global pandemic that shut down football across much of the world.
That pandemic though allowed the club to reset and avoid what looked an almost certain relegation to step 3. Speaking to hosts Rob Davies and Tom Canning, Chambers, who is open and frank throughout, said: “When Covid hit, we had our last game March 14th, it probably saved us if I’m honest. We were still about two or three weeks behind on player wages at that point, we were able to furlough the players then to the end of April, and they accepted the 80%, as did Ian [Herring the then manager]. But it gave me the chance to then just recalibrate the club.
“I said to the committee look, what we need to do is not think that we can’t afford to compete at this level, we need to just spend what we can afford and see where that takes us. If that means you get relegated on the pitch then so be it, but we were in a situation where every penny was being pumped into a squad of players. We had a leaking roof on the clubhouse, no maintenance had been done and I think it became unbearable for the committee. You’re not enjoying your football, your skint, you’ve got committee members putting extra money in to pay player wages, it was just a bad spiral.”
Chambers has plenty of praise for his new manager Danny Robinson as well, and revealed a little bit about how he got his man, plus how the Crusaders might have almost missed out on the former Thatcham Town boss.
Listen to the podcast below, or download it to your favourite podcast app by clicking here.
Find out more about the Berkshire Football Stories podcast, including new episodes here – Hungerford fans especially might want to search out our Harrison Bayley interview.