Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hill Fights Back after Cash Shock

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hill Fights Back after Cash Shock

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

HORNCHURCH, the club dubbed 'Chelsea of the Conference', were still scratching around for a team today, just over 24 hours before they were due to meet Boston in the FA Cup.

Manager Garry Hill was calling in favours, telephoning old mates and trawling through lists of names in an effort to field a half-decent team for tomorrow's first-round tie following the departure of most of his players after the news that owner Carl Williams's company, the Carthium Group, had gone into liquidation.

This wasn't what Hill had in mind when he was tempted away from Dagenham & Redbridge, the club he had so nearly taken into the Football League. The main focus of Williams's business is double-glazing which may have been why, when Hill accepted the challenge to join Hornchurch, he insisted that a substantial amount of the salary from his three-year contract be paid up front.

Estimates vary from [pounds sterling]80,000 to [pounds sterling]125,000 but Hill said today: "All of that is private but amounts bandied about are just not true."

What is undeniable, however, is that Hill firmly believed that, with Hornchurch he could finally achieve his ambition of managing a club that would bridge the gulf between the Conference and League Two.

All that went belly-up just over a week ago when Williams's financial problems first surfaced.

"It was so sudden," said Hill. " Noone had an inkling of what was about to happen. There we were, top of the Conference South, having just had nearly 1,700 fans turn up to see us beat Gravesend & Northfleet in the Cup, and suddenly someone pulled the rug out from under our feet."

By a cruel twist of fate, the bad news surfaced just before Hornchurch were due to play in a Carthium Cup tie, sponsored by Williams's company, and Hill admitted: "I was in shock for a while. The players here were fulltime and suddenly the cheques were stopped.

They weren't being paid and they had to look elsewhere. That left us without a team though."

While most of his players left immediately, Hill has remained to pick up the pieces. …

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