Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of Scoop.it! Football Finance

Halesowen Town horrors continue

Posted by John Beech on September 16, 2009

Regular blog readers will be aware of the extraordinary happenings at Halesowen Town (see postings passim) for over a year.

Events have speeded up in the last week, no doubt as the rescheduled AGM was due to take place yesterday, Tuesday 15th September.  As things turned out, that meeting has not been held.  That is because the current board, led by Morrell Maison, placed the club into Administration this Monday, 14th September.

As I have previously blogged (1), what is published on the club website can mysteriously disappear, so I republish in full the text of the statement announcing this action, as at the time of this posting (2):

ANNOUNCEMENT

IT IS WITH GREAT REGRET WE HEREBY ANNOUNCE THAT ON MONDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER AT 15:47 HALESOWEN TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB WENT INTO ADMINISTRATION

We were forced to take emergency action following a series of coordinated attacks concluding with a threat to wind up the club by a particularly vexatious former employee of the company, who instructed solicitors of an equally malevolent shareholder.

THE DEADLINE TO COMMENCE WINDING UP HALESOWEN TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB WAS MONDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER.

HAD WE NOT TAKEN EMERGENCY ACTION IT WOULD HAVE MEANT THE END OF HALESOWEN TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB.

A new group has bought the club out of administration thereby preserving football at the Grove for the foreseeable future. We wish them, the players and the fans all the best for the future.

The Annual General Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday 15th will no longer be taking place.`

If Maison handed over control to an Administrator, who then sold the club to a new group, quite why his regime (the ‘we’ who wish the new owners well) is till in control of the website is far from clear.

It’s hard to imagine that as recently as just over a fortnight ago Morrell Maison was reported as saying “I’m confident we can come through this difficult phase in the club’s history and come out of it very positively.  My personal opinion is that we don’t need to put the club into administration” (3).

The club’s Administration announcement is not dated or timed, but it was being reported on the internet as early as 20:29 on Monday, less than five hours after the club went into Administration.  The club had in that time period also come out of Administration, and into the hands of new owners.

This is an amazingly short period of time given that an Administrator’s basic duty, according to the UK government’s Insolvency website, is “to manage the affairs of the company in accordance with the order by which he was appointed and with the proposals approved by the creditors [my emphasis]. An administrator is an officer of the court and is therefore subject to its overall control” (4).  As HMRC are a major creditor, can this all have been done and dusted satisfactorily by an officer of the court in under five hours?

It’s interesting to note a part of the Mission Statement of the appointed Administrators, Marshman Price (5): “Our mission is to … provide outstanding services and value for money to clients, creditors and other stakeholders“.

Who exactly is the ‘vexatious’ and ‘malevolent’ former employee?  My understanding that it is a former groundsman.  How it can be termed vexatious and malevolent to want your wages paid defeats me.

Who are the new group that has bought the club so amazingly swiftly?  Most likely candidate is Halesowen Town Football Club 1873 Limited, incorporated not in 1873 as the name might suggest, but on 8th September 2009 (6), so not exactly a company with a long-standing track record that might convince the Administrators to sell to with such amazing speed.

A director of this new company is Graham Ingram.  What exactly is his connection with Godfrey Ingram, who Maison said in court in early August was a potential investor (7), notwithstanding the fact that the latter Ingram is a member of Luton Town’s Advisory Board (8)?

I for one eagerly await a response to events from the FA.

They are not the only body to have an interest in events at the club.  Yesterday it was reported that the West Midlands Police Economic Crime Unit are investigating allegations of fraud at the club (9).

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4 Responses to “Halesowen Town horrors continue”

  1. John Beech said

    Many thanks to the blog reader who spotted that in the original version of this posting I had inadvertently transposed Graham Ingram and Godfrey Ingram. This has been corrected above.

  2. John Beech said

    It has been confirmed that the winding-up order relates to an erstwhile Halesowen Town groundsman, for £7,500 unpaid wages (1). Given the sum involved, it seems more likely that the timing of the winding-up order, just before the rescheduled AGM, is what prompted the Administration and rapid exit.

  3. John Beech said

    Now the players have started to exit (1), beginning with striker Stefan Moore. Manager Matt Clarke said “I was told Stefan was under contract but it appears that may not be the case”. Says it all really about the competence of the Maison regime.

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