At the time of writing it’s now been two months since the Family Vaughan picked up the keys to the villa in sunny Malta and embarked on a bold new era as Patron and Chairman of Floriana FC.
After the stresses and strains of steering a number of football clubs to the brink of destruction in Britain, I’m sure you will be hoping that Stephen Vaughan Snr. has learnt from past mistakes and is now establishing himself as a trustworthy pillar of the community; carving out a new life as a man who thinks before he acts, values those around him, and does not act rashly or just throw Monopoly money at a situation when things start to get ugly.
After all, doesn’t everybody deserve a clean break every once in a while?
Unfortunately, it won’t come as a surprise that our least-favourite boxing promoter has had no such luck. Even in the middle of the Mediterranean, Vaughan’s ‘ghosts of football past’ are still coming back to haunt him. Mark Wright, installed as manager at the start of Vaughan’s reign, went AWOL after two matches, citing “important family matters” as the reason he has been unavailable for the past seven weeks. Injuries have also plagued a squad that has failed to be inspired by the addition of Carl Tremarco; leaving them sitting in a meagre ninth place out of twelve in the Maltese Premiere League.
In early October, Stephen Snr’s quick thinking saw him draft in journeyman and ex-Liverpool stopper Anthony Warner and beloved ex-Toffee and footballing jug-head Francis Jeffers. Lady Luck did for once shine on Floriana, as the ink on their contracts was dry in time for them to play in the hotly anticipated derby match with Valletta, on October 20th; but their debuts were doused by a miserable performance that saw The Greens crash to a 2-0 defeat in front of a home crowd of around 2,000.
The background of these recent transfers is uncertain; what kind of money is bankrolling such ex-Premiership talent? Are Messrs Warner and Jeffers simply content with a ‘place in the sun’? Or is Franny looking for an in-road to restart his boxing career…?
The BBC have described Vaughan Snr. as a ‘British investor’ in their report on the transfer of Jeffers. Unfortunately no clarification is given as to why Vaughan would now find himself in Malta and as far away from his directorship ban, and the North West of England, as he can afford to get.
The sceptre of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations looms large over Floriana, the withholding of prize money owed to the club has been put down to “back-dated issues” that “the new committee is dealing with…”
We await this most, worryingly, predictable of outcomes.