Widnes Vikings chairman Stephen Vaughan has announced he is to quit the club and put his shares up for sale after disagreements with fellow board members, who he says have done little to help him.
Vaughan has been at the Halton Stadium for 15 months, putting £840,000 into the club’s coffers, and was seen by many Widnes fans as the man who would lead them back into the engage Super League.
But the Chester City FC owner said that he had had “no support from certain directors” in trying to get the club into the financial position to compete either for promotion or the award of a Super League franchise.
“I have put £840,000 into this club in just over a year – more than anybody has put into the club in its history” said Vaughan after the announcement.
“But apart from Jimmy Quinn's company no other big companies, which are owned by existing board members, are giving me the financial support I needed. I needed more help from the other directors. It's frustrating.
“A board member calls a meeting and then doesn't turn up and the money is still coming out from me. They are not prepared to put their hands in their pockets to help and I have put in a massive investment.'
Vaughan issued a final challenge to the remaining board members, commenting: “They say they are Widnes through and through and now they need to put the money in to prove it, as from today this is my last act with the Vikings.'
Vaughan is also to take legal advice over his takeover at the club after claims previous chairman Tony Chambers concealed the full extent of the club’s debt when talks were being made.
The announcement comes just before Widnes open the Co-Operative National League One season against Leigh Centurions in a televised clash at Halton Stadium this evening.
A statement on the club’s official website read: “Following the news of Stephen Vaughan's decision to quit the Viking's Board, it's 'business as usual' as the Co-operative National League gets underway this evening.
“The remaining directors on the Vikings' Board are due to meet later today when the subject will be discussed and plans made for the future of the Club.
“In the meantime everybody at the Club is focussing on tonight's game with Leigh Centurions and getting our Co-operative National League campaign off to a winning start.”