Jamie Vardy’s former chairman has apologised to the Leicester striker for remarks regarding the future his former club Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Graham Furness, the Stocksbridge chairman, had given an interview on Wednesday which indicated Vardy’s name could be removed from one of the stands at the Northern Premier League club’s ground if a sponsor were found.
Like all non-league clubs, Stocksbridge have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and Furness told The Sun: ‘We are looking at £16,000 sponsorship for two seasons and we’re talking to someone at the moment — but if Vardy wants to pay it to keep his name there he can.’
Yet in a statement on the club’s website on Thursday, Furness said: ‘Jamie Vardy is held in high esteem at Stocksbridge Park Steels and we wouldn’t do anything to sour our relationship.
‘I was asked the question ‘would we consider changing the name if we got a sponsor for the stand?’ I replied ‘at the moment, needs must, and yes we would.’ I explained that we had had a tough couple of months with no income coming in and losing sponsorship.
‘We didn’t approach Jamie for any contribution because, and I said this at the time, he has no more right to give us money during this time than he has to contribute to (former clubs) Fleetwood Town or FC Halifax Town.
‘I apologise to Jamie Vardy and his family for any distress this story may have caused.’
Vardy’s rise began at Stocksbridge before moves to Halifax and Fleetwood led Leicester to pay £1million for him – even though he was still a non-league player at the time.
The move paid spectacular dividends as Vardy helped Leicester win the Premier League title in 2015-16, and also won the Golden Boot in the recently-concluded season.