1973 - THE OFFER MINUS THE HORSES HEAD
‘THE OFFER—MINUS THE HORSE’S HEAD’
The ultimatum was as clear as it was unexpected. It came direct from the Council and demanded the attendance of three office bearers from each club (Football and Cricket) at a special meeting on a particular date.
The six ‘pigeons’ were seated on basic four legged waiting room type chairs lined up in a straight row.
The full Council was in attendance (about sixteen all up).They were seated in their leather armchairs which were arranged adjacent to each other and in a slight curve around the source of their interest.
For the sportsmen the atmosphere was quite daunting and it wasn’t about to change.
The Mayor opened proceedings with a series of photos showing the parlous state of the rooms. It was irrefutable evidence that the rooms were not being treated with respect and by extension, since the rooms were owned by the Council, they were also being disrespected. They were not happy.
The Office Bearers were at a loss to be able to present a defence. It had been the changeover period between seasons and, as had so often been the case, the outgoing club had been slack in getting around to cleaning the rooms in preparation for the takeover by the new tenant. The remnants of their final function for the season were everywhere to be seen. It was a reason for the mess but a pretty weak one as far as the Councillors were concerned.
They had the lads at their mercy and then came the offer that couldn’t be refused.
“We, the Council are going to fix up this mess and make those rooms not only habitable but functional.” So far so good - then “We are going to take out a thirty thousand pound loan over twenty years to do the job and you two clubs are going to sign an undertaking to pay off that loan via an agreed rental.”
What could the accused do but simply nod. They had been rendered defenceless. Any form of resistance had been crushed much earlier in the meeting. The offer was accepted without question.
And so, unbeknown to Ted Webster and Bob Wescott, three years of their lives had just vanished without them having the slightest idea why.