Club in a Jam: Maldon & Tiptree FC supporters’ association banned from fundraising at stadium after fans criticise club management

By The Editor

2nd Oct 2023 | Local News

Maldon & Tiptree FC and the Jammers Fans Association have locked horns over the last few weeks. Inset: Jammers Fans Association Chair Tony Williams with Maldon & Tiptree Chairman Daniel Barber at a JFA Foodbank Collection in August. (Photos: Ben Shahrabi)
Maldon & Tiptree FC and the Jammers Fans Association have locked horns over the last few weeks. Inset: Jammers Fans Association Chair Tony Williams with Maldon & Tiptree Chairman Daniel Barber at a JFA Foodbank Collection in August. (Photos: Ben Shahrabi)

AGAINST a background of its controversial General Manager admitting involvement in a fraud scheme, friction between fans and the club's management has spilled over at Maldon & Tiptree FC.

Last week Mitchell Cowling, 36, the son of Colchester United's multi-millionaire chairman Robbie Cowling, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court after admitting being involved in a £182,000 fraud scheme. The offence is not linked to Maldon and Tiptree FC, known locally as the Jammers.

His sentencing was delayed until later this month.

Meanwhile, Cowling is facing a battle at the football club, which plays in the Isthmian North Division.

Maldon & Tiptree FC is struggling on the field, third from bottom in the table and having dismissed the latest in a succession of managers earlier in the season.

The club's administration and a group of supporters have locked horns and now the club has banned its supporters' association from fundraising at its stadium, after fans criticised club management.

The fans have published an open letter, raising concerns about the club's debts, leadership changes, and rumours of potential site development.

The Jammers Fans Committee's (JFA) letter, published on September 7, raised issues over the club's financial accounts, performance, and strategic direction.

Following the departures of managers Adam Flint and Peter Taylor in the last nine months, fans have asked for clarity over the short and long-term plans for the club. In August, Liam Bailey was appointed Head Coach, following years of dedicated service as Assistant Manager.

Adam Flint was sacked last October, after a few weeks as Manager. One-time England manager Peter Taylor met the same fate in August, when Liam Bailey took the reins. (Composite: Ben Shahrabi)

After the recent demise of East Thurrock United, the JFA says recent events have "exacerbated fans' fears" regarding "a significant amount of debt" built up against Maldon & Tiptree FC. They feel the club's "over-reliance" on specific individuals for investment is "unsustainable".

Fans also expressed concern regarding attendance at the club, which it says is "on the decline". However, Maldon & Tiptree FC management says it has seen "an incredible" 400 per cent increase in ticket sales during the 2023/24 season.

The JFA's letter reported on "unsettling rumours" circulating over the future of the Maldon Stadium complex. It claims AMGPS (Park Drive) Limited, which owns the stadium, is rumoured to be considering development of the land for residential or commercial purposes.

Following publication of the JFA's open letter, Chair Tony Williams received a phone call from the club's General Manager, Mitchell Cowling, on September 10. A subsequent JFA statement reported fans "remained concerned".

The Jammers Fans Association held a foodbank collection at the Maldon & Tiptree FC stadium in August:

Last Tuesday (September 26), the management team responded to the open letter, saying they did not maintain "any form of partnership" with the JFA. In a statement published on the Maldon & Tiptree FC website, the club clarified it would not discuss "certain private matters" publicly.

The club stressed the JFA is an independent association, and members do not receive "any privileges or benefits".

"Effective immediately, we will not permit the Jammers Fans Association to raise or collect funds within our stadium, nor will we accept any sponsorship or funds from the association," a spokesperson added.

Newly-appointed Fan Liaison Officer Lee Witney presented 250 Easter Eggs to local charities following a JFA collection in April. (Credit: Roy Warner)

In the same statement, the club announced it had appointed two Fan Liaison Officers, JFA Media Manager Lee Witney and committee member Alan Taylor.

The JFA Committee is currently seeking advice from the Football Supporters Association, a national body which represents fans in England and Wales.

Meanwhile, both the club and the JFA have encouraged fans to continue their support during the ongoing season.

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