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Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 14:22 UK
Cambridge saga Rolls on

By Greg Keane
Non League blogger

Cambridge Utd
Cambridge Utd during 2008/09 season.

Cambridge United chairman George Rolls has now relinquished his role at the helm of the club in light of recent astonishing and comical proceedings at the club - but only after pressure from the U's supporters and the club's main shareholder.

With the highly respected Martin Ling taking on the much enviable and sought-after role as manager of Cambridge United and promptly leaving after a nine day tenure, United's fans, as well as major shareholder Paul Barry, may just have had enough of the upheaval surrounding the Cambridgeshire side recently.

Cambridge Fans United issued a statement demanding George Rolls step down immediately, with the latest madcap dealings leaving the supporters "aghast" and they were soon supported by Seattle-based major shareholder Paul Barry, claiming: "The fans do not deserve to witness this farcical situation at the club they love.

"In the interests of the club this situation cannot continue and we urge George to stand down as chairman with immediate effect."

These statements were questionably announced on the U's official website and have surely left either Paul Barry's or George Rolls' position at the club untenable.


While in the interest of fairness, you would hope that Rolls too would be allowed to publish his explanation of proceedings on the same domain.

Rolls also has allegedly been posting on the official Cambridge United message board since the calls for his head.

Whether the whole picture of the Ling/Rolls omnibus becomes revealed to us is another matter which many United fans do not ever envisage occurring.
Greg Keane

He apparently posted a thread under the topic heading, 'The Truth' reassuring readers with, "You will hear the truth about the goings on in our boardroom" and later, "I will let all know what's going on but I am awaiting calls or emails back from the rest of the board first".

Whether the whole picture of the Ling/Rolls omnibus becomes revealed to us is another matter which many United fans do not ever envisage occurring, especially after Ling and Rolls issued a joint statement the day Ling parted stating: "It has been agreed that neither party will make any further statement".

Since George Rolls became involved with United's Board of Directors in November 2007, and thereafter as chairman in January 2009, the former Leyton Orient keeper and now owner of the club sponsors has implemented some procedures regarding commercial activities and safeguarding of the club finances which the fans feel he does and has taken credit for.

Rolls has been heavily involved with the club even on football playing matters, which may be argued has crossed a line and has been mooted for the resignation of Martin Ling.


Martin Ling
Ling resigned from Cambridge after nine days

Former U's manager Garry Brabin was sacked by Rolls despite claiming the Conference's Manager of the Season accolade after leading United to the final of the Conference play-offs (losing to Torquay at Wembley) guiding the team to second in the division.

It was somewhat seen as a shock that Brabin had departed but reasons for this removal was down to differing opinions with George Rolls regarding the playing budget.

Some Cambridge fans did agree with Rolls at the time that Brabin's time had come to an end, being accused of a 'cheque-book manager' who was not prepared to give youth a try.

This went against Rolls' concept that the club needed to be run like a business to stay financially secure.

The players were reported to be devastated over the news of the former nightclub bouncer's firing and Brabin even confirmed that Rolls had asked him to return to his role as U's boss - talks duly broke down.

George Rolls' unorthodox man management skills were further highlighted when it was reported that Rolls had offered the Cambridge hot seat to former U's number two, Alan Lewer, as well as Ebbsfleet manager Liam Daish before in fact offering the job to former Leyton Orient boss Ling.

'Unconstructive interfering'

This has resulted in Alan Lewer claiming he is set to sue Rolls for the distress caused.

United's two major shareholders, Paul Barry and Adrian Hanauer, are both based in Seattle and both involved with the Seattle Sounders who will be for the first time plying their trade in the top flight of the MLS.

George Rolls
Rolls resigned as chairman after eight months

This has caused further worry for United fans who wonder if much time and effort will be spent concentrating on the Blue Square Premier side, especially if Rolls is still on board.

Some U's supporters are worried that these two shareholders will stop investing in the club since Rolls' constant unconstructive interfering, in many fans eyes, is deterring the duo from doing so.

Under Ling, Cambridge United would have had an experienced manager who would have cemented United's place in the top five this season.

Now, as I constantly refresh the homepage of the Cambridge United official site, I await more turbulent activity further disrupting the players preparations and surely, ready to anticipate the news, that the demise of George Rolls' involvement within the club, perhaps aided with the discovery, that Martin Ling has agreed to return?

Listen to the BBC Non League Show every Monday from 2100 on 94.9 or on the website.

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