Crawley Town and Farnborough in court today
Posted by John Beech on March 17, 2010
Court appearances over debts are becoming a bit of a regular Wednesday activity, and it’s a pleasant change to report some positive news.
First up this morning were Crawley Town over an unspecified debt to HMRC – case dismissed; the debt had been settled (1). In fact, at the previous hearing when the club had been given a 28-day adjournment, ‘furious’ co-owner Susan Carter had protested that the debt had already been paid, at the end of January (2). If this was the case, why was it still necessary to have a court hearing today, with all the additional expense that involves? A statement from HMRC would be helpful, but no doubt they will stick with their ‘no comment on individual cases’ policy.
Next came Farnborough, a resurrection club, its previous incarnation Farnborough Town having gone into Administration and then folded as recently as recently as 2007 (3). Again, case dismissed. The disputed debt had been of the order of £3,000 to a coach company. A statement on the club website (4) says: “In reality this matter never needed to reach this stage but we are delighted to have resolved the issue and look forward to a successful end to the season.“
‘Never needed to reach this stage’ can of course be interpreted in two quite different ways. That could be presumably be said of most if not all the recent cases. For the record, we have seen in court since the beginning of February:
Crawley Town; 17 March; HMRC; struck out
Farnborough; 17 March; Guideline Coaches; struck out
Portsmouth; 15 March; HMRC; already opted for Administration
Southend United; 10 March; HMRC; adjourned
Cardiff City; 10 March; HMRC; adjourned
Chester City; 10 March 2010; HMRC; company wound up
Burscough; 3 March; HMRC; struck out
Portsmouth; 1 March; HMRC; adjourned
Notts County; 24 February; HMRC; struck out
Crawley Town; 17 February; HMRC; adjourned
Burscough; 17 February; HMRC; adjourned
Southend United; 10 February; HMRC; adjourned
Portsmouth; 10 February; HMRC; adjourned
Cardiff City; 10 February; HMRC; adjourned
Hinckley United; 10 February; HMRC; struck out
Accrington Stanley; 3 February; HMRC; struck out
['Struck out' means in each of these cases that the debt had been paid in full after the court appearance had been arranged]
Whichever way you look at it, this recent record of brinkmanship, tardiness and failure in paying debts, almost all to HMRC, hardly paints a glorious picture of the financial state of the football sector.