Ritchie Woodhall interviewed by Capital Gold
The boxer and Albion fan talks about the Power Struggle between Thompson and Hale
Celebrity fans Richie Woodhall and Matthew Marsden joined Albion legend Tony Brown in calling a Press Conference, at which they put their full support behind Tony Hale's bid to continue as Chairman. Tom Ross of Capital Gold Birmingham spoke to Richie afterwards.
TR: West Brom - it's all building up - the Power Struggle. You've got Paul Thompson on one side, who's called an EGM, he wants Tony Hale not only off the Chairmanship but out the Club, off the Board, gone, finished, done with. Tony Hale, who's been the Chairman for some time, in many people's eyes has done a good job. Two of the Directors, Barry Hurst and Clive Stapleton have resigned and gone with Paul Thompson, they've had meetings the last two nights and in the papers Tony Hale has been blamed for everything apart from the weather. Everything apart from the weather! And that disappointed me, they blamed him for buying Murphy. For buying Paul Groves. The Director who actually looked after those two things in the tribunal, went to the tribunal and fought the cases to get those players was Clive Stapleton for goodness sake! So he must have been in agreement with buying them. And now, all of a sudden they're bad buys and the Chairman's to blame. I read the article - he was a dictator, Tony Hale. And then it says he was weak - you can't be both! Well let's hear what three people who've come out today - Matthew Marsden, the actor, the Coronation Street actor, Tony "Bomber" Brown, striking legend at the club, and Ritchie Woodhall the World WBC Super Middleweight champion of the World, three famous fans of the Club, they've all come out and supported Tony Hale - Ritchie Woodhall's giving Hale his full support:
RW: Yeah, we're all backing Tony Hale, because we believe that Tony Hale is the man who's going to take us into the Premiership. There are people waiting to come into this club with money, and I wouldn't be lying, Tony has told me that himself. Three Board members have resigned, we thank them for their services, but now we've got the perfect platform, the perfect opportunity to bring some money into this club, have a united board and get us into the Premiership. It's going to happen.
TR: What about, you know, the fact that many people are going to think that you've been put up to this?
RW: Put up to it, yeah, they might think that, but from me Tom, you know me - I don't tell lies, I ain't been put up to nothing. If Albion turned round to me tomorrow and said "Richie, thanks for your services mate, but we don't want you any more" then I'd just go back up the Brummie Road and pay my money just like any other supporter, because I am a supporter, and a fan, and I'm a worried fan, Tom, because I believe that if this club gets into the wrong hands, I really believe that if Thompson gets the Chair that this club is going to go down the hill, down the chute, and we're going to be finished, and that's how worried I am - and I've got to get it home to other Albion supporters out there that the only way is up, with Tony Hale.
TR: What is it about Tony Hale then, I mean obviously your passion comes through, that you're backing him but what is is about him?
RW: Right, well I think first of all, Tom, people are being unfair about Tony Hale. There's a lot of criticism aimed at him saying "the club hasn't done this, the club hasn't done that" - when Tony Hale came to this club we were in big financial difficulties. Tony Hale and Graham Waldron put their own personal money into this club, knowing that they weren't going to get it back, or it's going to be a very long time before they got it back, we didn't have a youth policy - our youth team was rubbish, quite frankly. Now we've got one of the best youth teams in the country, we've got more youth Internationals than Manchester United, and that speaks for itself. So I think people have got to see the whole story about Tony Hale, it's alright aiming criticism at him but he's had board members who I believe have been holding him back, if anything. The fans aren't happy with the board here, I recognise that there's got to be changes, the fans know there's got to be changes, three board members have gone. Now is the time - and I trust and believe in Tony Hale to get the people back into this club, directors who are going to pump big financial money into this club. I really believe that is going to happen, I've spoken to Tony, he's told me that personally. Now is the opportunity, we've got to seize the opportunity. I really believe if Mr Thompson gets in that that's not going to happen - more than likely the old board members are going to come back - the crowd don't want them. They'll want the Board the way it is anyway, and literally we're just going to have a different Chairman. The one thing Thompson hasn't done - and Tom, I don't want to just run people down, but I've got to speak from my heart, I've got to speak the the truth how I feel, he hasn't brought to the table what he's going to do. Where's the money, where's your financial backing, Mr Thompson? I'm asking, where's your money going to come from?
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