CHRIS Blight has stood down as chairman of Newport County , admitting that abusive calls to his family home were the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Blight has been chairman of the Exiles for almost a decade but last night he was drafting a statement to supporters announcing his departure as chairman and as a director, with immediate effect.
The Argus can also reveal that Blight has remained in contact throughout the week with former director Acorn managing director Matt Southall, who as revealed on the Newport County unofficial messageboard that he has been in discussions about potential investment into the club. Rumours that Southall has closed the lines of communication are false.
However, who will sit on the County board next season and who will succeed Blight is up in the air, with Howard Greenhaf currently the only serving director. It is understood he will not covet the position.
General manager Steve Dance and director of football Tim Harris remain with the club and Harris has vowed it will be “business as usual” in terms of Justin Edinburgh’s plans to make further signings this summer.
Talks have begun with one player who has been a long-term target.
The Argus understands that Blight sees criticism as part and parcel of the role of chairman but felt anonymous abusive phone calls over the weekend were a step too far. We can confirm that Blight’s partner asked him to take this course of action and, after 48 hours of consideration, he decided to quit.
Blight will also stand down from his role as a director on the board of the Football Conference.
He was due to tell supporters: “Recent events within our club have brought certain issues into the arena of our local media and fan forums – some favourable, and some to the contrary.
“However, directors are simply custodians of the business for the time that they are involved, and the board environment is one that is always subject to change.
“I knew that one day I would need to leave the role and, sadly, the time has come for me to do so.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to stand down, as chairman and also as a director. At the same time, I will have to stand down from my position as a director on the board of the Football Confer-ence.
“My departure will offer the opportunity for a new chairman to be found and appointed in the superb new surroundings of Rodney Parade.
“I would like to sincerely thank everyone that has had a role to play in my time with the club, including all of the hard working volunteers upon whom we have relied for so long, together with club staff, directors, and most importantly our supporters, many of whom I have had the experience of travelling with up and down the country in these last 10 years.
“In addition, I would like to wish Justin and his squad every success for the forthcoming season. I am fully aware of his desire to see this club succeed.
“And finally, I wish to thank you all for allowing me the opportunity and privilege of being a part of the history of this wonderful club.”
Speaking to the Argus last night, Blight added: “I’ve got to look after those nearest and dearest to me and that is my priority.
“I understand full well that it was a tiny minority of fans who contacted my home and upset my partner, but that does not undo the hurt it caused.
“This certainly isn’t a decision I’ve taken lightly and I have no doubt that the likes of Howard (Greenhaf) and Tim (Harris) will help in the transition.
“The club is very lucky to have them both and a manager in Justin Edinburgh whose desire to succeed is incredibly strong.”