TERRAS have been rocked by the resignations of its four longest-serving directors.
Dave Higson, Mick Archer, Terry Bennett and Peter Shaw dramatically quit the Wessex Stadium club last night.
In a joint letter to chairman Ian Ridley, the quartet said they were leaving to allow others to take the club forward.
However, Echosport understands they are unhappy with the increased level of financial commitment the club is facing next season following the appointment of Steve Claridge as player-manager.
The resignation letter read: “We write to inform you (Ridley), of our decision to resign our positions as directors of Weymouth Football Club.
“You are now in a position where you have established a new board of directors and the time is right for you to pursue your vision for the club with your own team.
“We have given over eight years loyal service each, expended mountains of energy and provided extensive financial support to the club, and now feel that it is appropriate for the new regime to take the club forward.
“We would like to thank the fans, club officials and players past and present for their support, hard work and friendship. We wish Weymouth Football Club every success this season and in the future.”
The loss of the four, in particular Higson and Archer, will be seen as a massive blow to the Terras.
Through their company, Park Engineering, the pair have pumped close to £400,000 into the Wessex Stadium coffers over the past eight years and are credited with having saved the club from bankruptcy on numerous occasions.
Meanwhile Bennett and Shaw, who have both served as Weymouth chairman, have also ploughed thousands of pounds of their own money into the club over recent seasons, with each having played major roles in plans to re-develop the Wessex Stadium site.
Park Engineering had been due to pay a further £30,000 to be the Terras shirt sponsors next season, however it’s unlikely that will now happen.
Speaking on behalf of all four former directors, Archer said: “There is a hold on any agreements involving our companies and Weymouth Football Club until further notice.”
Ridley, who has seen the size of board half overnight, said he was shocked by the departures.
He added: “Weymouth Football Club can only accept these resignations with regret. They came as a surprise, unexpected as they were so close to the start of the season. We thank the four for their support and service.
“My wish, once my rescue package was accepted, was that the new members of the board would work alongside the existing ones to provide the club with a mix of new money and ideas allied to experience.
“The programme of modernisation and professionalism that has seen the recruitment of a class player-manager and the assembling of a better and more motivated squad of players will continue apace, however, and all our efforts, on and off the field, remain focused on a successful and exciting start to the season.
“I expect to be able to announce in the near future new board members willing to invest time, effort and money and who share the vision of making Weymouth what it could and should be.
“Park Engineering in particular have been significant backers of the club and we hope that arrangement will continue with the main sponsorship deal they agreed for this coming season. They deserve to see their names on the shirts of a successful team after several years in the doldrums.”
* Former Terras manager Geoff Butler has instructed the PFA to begin legal proceedings against the club.
Butler, who was sacked at the end of last season, claims he has not received his settlement payment from the club.
The ex-Chelsea defender had a year to run on his contract when he was dismissed and it is believed he is also owed commission from a number of commercial deals.
Butler said: “I’m not prepared to mention the figures involved,
however its a reasonable sum of money. When the new chairman Ian Ridley sacked me, he thanked me, told me he’d treat me with the respect I deserved and settle my outstanding contract in full.
“I have waited patiently and not received a penny from the club and so I have reluctantly placed the matter in the hands of the PFA.”