Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 4th December 2014
Hereford United Football Club and its directors have been given two weeks to settle outstanding debts or face being dissolved after a winding-up petition was adjourned for an eighth time.
The case was heard on Monday December 1st at the High Court, with the English club grappling with serious financial problems and apparently indebted to HM Revenue & Customs to the tune of around £116,000.
The winding-up petition dates back to June and was originally brought by HMRC, with Hertfordshire Council joining the petition in light of being owed in the region of £50,000.
Amounts owed to the local council body have apparently been settled but HMRC is still thought to be owed considerable sums of money in unpaid taxes.
However, it appears as if there may be some hope for the club, which was expelled from the Football Conference in June for not paying its creditors, with its chairman Andy Lonsdale reportedly prepared to invest £1 million of his own money to resolve the situation.
“I decided to do the right thing... and show I've got the funds to do it,” Mr Lonsdale told the BBC after leaving the recent hearing at the High Court.
As well as at least one BBC journalist, Lonsdale was also met by a group of Hereford United supporters who expressed their frustration at seeing the club’s finances become a source of ongoing uncertainty.
During the court proceedings, the judge heard that an Essex-based businessman named Doug Carroll had offered to provide the football club with £750,000 worth of investment, but that offer is believed to have subsequently been withdrawn.
Some Hereford United fans have expressed scepticism at Mr Lonsdale’s motives in taking over their football club and remain somewhat dubious about whether or not he will in fact be able to settle its debts.
The Hereford United Supporters Trust (HUST) issued a statement explaining that it will be holding a members’ meeting on December 18th and will invite Mr Lonsdale to attend and detail his plans for the club and the business.
“The meeting will be to discuss the club’s future and HUST’s boycott, which is expected to cease once club chairman Andy Lonsdale puts in the investment which he guaranteed to the court at Monday’s hearing,” a statement from the supporters’ club explained.
A HUST spokesperson told BBC Hereford and Worcester: "If Andy Lonsdale is going to meet the terms of the boycott and pay the supporting creditors and the council and clear the winding up order it is only fair that we give him the opportunity to speak to our members.
“Apparently he’s assured the court that he has got it [£1M] and he filed documents to say that. If he doesn’t find it he could be risking the wrath of the court himself.”
A new court date for the winding-up petition to be revisited has been set for December 15th.