Neil Cugley has made the decision to step down from the Folkestone Invicta board of directors.
The club’s long-serving manager has also been their director of football since 2014 but has now decided to bring that part of his commitment to the club to an end.
After almost five years in the role, Cugley is to concentrate solely on the football after a season which has occasionally been marred by bad feeling and terrace rumours.
Cugley said: “I was going to come off (the board) earlier in the season but there were certain allegations – that were unfounded – and I felt I couldn’t just walk away because I’d have been (seen to be) guilty as charged.
“I stayed on a bit longer and waited to see if they did call an EGM but they never did. We had our AGM a couple of weeks ago and it all went very well for the club so we move on.
“It was the perfect time to get that out of the way and get back to the football.”
A small minority at the Fullicks Stadium have questioned Cugley and other board members this season.
But he said: “I’ve got the minutes of every board meeting I’ve been to. I’ve never missed a board meeting since my time there and I’ve got various emails that will clarify exactly what has been said and done.
“Some of the people who were upset have left and they haven’t helped the club at all but there you go.
“The last few board meetings have been really enjoyable. They all get on well now together and I’m sure they can help keep the stability of the club going. That surely has got to be the aim.”
Cugley has been more involved with the club’s finances since his appointment as a director.
He said: “When I got involved, the club had been a shambles before that. To get into a debt of £180,000, I’m proud that in the five years I’ve done it we’ve not owed any money. That’s a big difference – and we got promotion and carried on all this hard work and the club’s in an excellent position now.
“It’s been unbelievable and that’s another reason I’m coming off now, because I’ve done everything I wanted.
“The pitch is brilliant, we’ve revamped the changing-rooms, we’ve gone up a league, we’ve re-done what was Stripes to Bar Invicta and that’s pushing on nicely. My wife helps run the bar upstairs and she’s miraculously turned that round from a non-profitable bar to raising around £40,000 in the last four years.
“I’m absolutely delighted and very proud of what I’ve done as a director.
“I’ve raised in the region of £250,000 for the club so I’m proud of that and I’ll carry on doing any sponsorship and hopefully raise £50,000 for them this year. I’m not a commercial manager and don’t pretend to be but I know a lot of people and can work on those figures.”
He may be leaving the board but Cugley has no plans to stop managing the team he’s led since 1997.
“I love every minute of it,” he said. “Sometimes it’s difficult because you get rumours flying around on social media and forums that we’ve got millionaires coming in. Well, great, I can’t wait for them to come in but I’ve been at the football club for over 20 years as a manager and I played for the old Folkestone Town. We’ve never had that before but it’s a great opportunity if these people are about.
“We never stopped Paul (Morgan, chairman) getting involved or other directors. We want people to come in and get involved at Folkestone Invicta.
“That’s what hurt when some allegations were made to say different.
“We have a way of doing it, of course, like any club, but people have got to realise directors, committee members and secretaries are very important to football clubs. They don’t exist without them.
“They’re a bit like referees: you can moan as much as you like about them but you can’t do without them.
“We’re not the only club going through that at the moment so people should get behind the people that run football clubs, not always be against them.
“We want people to come in. Our chairman’s the first to say he’s not a sugar daddy; there’s only so much money he can put in and he needs help.
“The great thing about Folkestone is that it’s always been a club where we all pull together. That’s what’s been so enjoyable. We’re not a rich club but we work hard and when people put sponsorship money in, they know that it’ll go to the team. That’s what people want.
“We sponsor every game, we get all the players sponsored, and the programme, and not many clubs have that.”
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