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! Football Finance

Accrington, Southend … and Worthing

Posted by John Beech on November 4, 2009

So, will there, in best Jeff Stelling tradition, be dancing in the streets of Accrington, Southend and Worthing tonight?

Let’s deal with Worthing first.  It’s the home of the HMRC office which deals with the tax affairs of football clubs.  Certainly there is cause for dancing, but probably this will be manifested as an occasional outbreak of sedate foxtrots rather than a full-blown Rio-style carnival.

Accrington?  Well, in terms of outcomes there is, at first glance, certainly cause for dancing – taxes now cleared, Ilyas Khan in as non-executive Chairman, but, hang on a minute, weren’t there going to be fan directors too? No mention of any in the club statement (1).  Khan it was who as recently as 16 October was reported as having donated his 12% shareholding in the club “to Accrington Stanley Supporters’ Fund with a request it joins with other fan groups, creating a fan-based trust to play a part in the club’s future“.

And who is still on the board, now as Managing Director and Head of Operations?  None other than Dave O’Neill, who had spurned Khan’s offers to help right up until the court hearing when Khan’s offer was the only way left.  Mysteriously, even miraculously, Khan and O’Neill have made up their differences with a remarkable speed.  As Khan and Peter Marsden said in a  statement issued by the club “We believe that the town, the community and the supporters should now link arms with the team and the management to forge a stronger and vibrant partnership that will be a credit to this wonderful wonderful Football Club. Whilst there have been clear differences of opinion between David and ourselves, these are not only resolved, but put behind us” (2).  How exactly the supporters and the management will link arms has yet to be spelled out.  Perhaps best to sit this one out this evening until things become clearer.  As Khan has said recently “The club must be transparent, we have a better chance of surviving if the club remains totally transparent. I am now hoping we can still work together to sort the club out by being 100% transparent” (3).

What would keep me back in my seat at the disco tonight if I were a Stanley fan is the thought that Khan is non-executive Chairman and O’Neill, who brought he club to its knees, is Managing Director and Head of Operations.

Over at Southend there is no similar concern over transparency – it still doesn’t exist.  Mention of a full statement shortly which was in the club statement this morning has been airbrushed out (4), and reduced to a bland statement simply noting that “Agreement has been reached to pay the outstanding debt by Friday“.  If I were a Southend United fan I’d be praying this evening rather than dancing.  All that’s happened is that we have gone into extra time.

All-in-all, if you feel like strutting your funky stuff this evening, Worthing looks the best bet, albeit not an especially lively one.


4 Responses to “Accrington, Southend … and Worthing”

  1. John Beech said

    Statement from the club (1):
    The Club’s Chairman, Ron Martin, has today (3pm) confirmed that one of his Group Companies has now paid, in full, the tax due to HMRC in the sum of £2.1m thereby removing the threat of administration.
    The funds were being held by the Revenue’s solicitors and at lunchtime today they have been released.
    A further, more detailed, statement will be made next week

    Well, as I write, the last sentence is still there!

    This battle has been won, but the war is far from over. One question immediately springs to mind: why didn’t this happen a fortnight ago so that all the confrontation in court could have been avoided? Because Ron Martin had been trying to find an external source for a loan, and, to nobody’s surprise, nobody was prepared to risk £2.1m in Southend?

    Perhaps all will become clear when the ‘more detailed statement’ appears. Perhaps not.

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by JohnBeech: #footballfinance Accrington, Southend… and Worthing

  3. John Beech said


    For completeness we can confirm that all action by HMRC was dismissed at this morning’s hearing following the release of funds by the Club’s Chairman over the weekend.
    This brings the matter to a close.

    That’s the full text of the statement; not quite the full statement that we had hoped for, but probably as full as many of us had expected. I’ll comment further soon.

  4. John Beech said

    The Southend part of this thread is now continued at The continuing Southend saga posting.

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