David Conn: Farnborough turn romance into heartbreak and fiasco

The Conference side Farnborough scraped some of the romantic lustre off the Cup in 2003 when they switched their fourth-round home draw with Arsenal to rake in more money from the higher crowd at Highbury - a decision which led to the Football Association outlawing such moves, a frustration to Yeading, who have been advised their own ground was not safe enough and would have loved to run out at St James' Park tomorrow.

Farnborough and their manager, Graham Westley, garnered all the write-ups back then, yet the Arsenal game turned out to be Westley's last at Farnborough; he left immediately to become the manager at Stevenage Borough.

Unusually, Westley owned the club too, having scooped Farnborough out of financial crisis in 1998, and he had funded Farnborough's rise, signing players on eye-popping wages including, it is understood, one on more than £100,000 a year. When he left, he withdrew his funding, several players' contracts were then cancelled, meaning they could move on free transfers, which they did - joining Westley at Stevenage, who had to pay nothing for them.

Farnborough were left depleted, with big contracts for some remaining players which had to be settled. Westley gave his shares to Vic Searle, who came close to selling them to Tony Theo, a players' agent and Farnborough enthusiast, but sold instead to two other men, Tony Turberville and Ron Higgins. Theo reacted by holding a sit-in in the club bar for a week last August, before finally agreeing to stay on as the club's managing director.

Just last month, Farnborough avoided being wound up by the Inland Revenue only by coming up with a cheque on the day they were in court. "It is very difficult," Theo told me this week, "hard to see a future here." This is not the stuff you will see on Football Focus on third round day, a time to celebrate the innocence and Corinthian spirit of non-League football.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash