JUST four days after Farnborough Town's amazing cup run came to an end at Highbury, club owner and manager Graham Westley has walked out to manage Conference rivals Stevenage Borough.
His departure yesterday (Wednesday) has left the Hampshire club in turmoil, especially as 34-year-old Westley is expected to take up to half of his cup heroes and some backroom staff with him.
The club's only full-time employee, secretary Vince Williams - who is acting as interim general manager - is also said to be considering his long-term future.
He was attending a crisis meeting at the club's Cherrywood Road ground yesterday as the Star went to press.
Before going into the meeting, Williams said: "I believe that Graham is leaving the club in the most honourable way. The club is in a much healthier state following his leadership."
Westley had warned, prior to last Saturday's glamour tie against cup holders Arsenal, that he planned to quit Farnborough at some stage.
But no-one thought he would disappear through the door so soon after the biggest game in the club's 35-year history.
He said he has quit Farnborough because he wants to concentrate on football management. "Doing two jobs, as owner and manager, is unrealistic at this level," he added.
It is still unclear how Farnborough will be affected financially by the departure of Westley whose facilities company, the Aimita Corporation, currently sponsors Farnborough.
Rushmoor Council has already written to the club asking for clarification of the present financial set-up.
Coun. David Clifford, cabinet member for leisure, said yesterday: "The club owes the council a substantial amount of money.
"We are therefore anxious to discover the club's true financial position now that Graham Westley has left."
In a statement yesterday Westley said he believed Farnborough was in "fantastic condition" compared to when he took over. "It should finally be close to being debt and liability free," he added.
Westley, who rescued the club from bankruptcy, continued: "As soon as is practicable, unless a better solution emerges for the club, it is currently my intention to gift the shares that I own to the other existing shareholders (the club's fans) and leave the club to build on the foundations which I have laid."
Farnborough said in a statement yesterday that it hoped to finally clear its debts when receipts from last Saturday's FA Cup tie, which ended in a 5-1 defeat, are finalised.
It is estimated that the club stands to receive around £600,000 from the match, which was played in front of a 38,500 sell-out crowd.