Posted by John Beech on November 15, 2009
Three weeks is a long time in football management – it was only on 25 October that I posted my last overview. Previous ‘overviews’ can be accessed by clicking on the ‘Overviews’ tag at the top of the page.
With a number of clubs things have become clearer, but for many the confusion has just changed to a new confusion.
- Accrington Stanley
The absurd brinkmanship that saw the club rescued on the footsteps of a court has seen Ilyas Khan come in as non-executive Chairman, but with ex-Chairman Dave O’Neill effectively in day-to-day control as Managing Director and Head of Operations. Khan is now talking of the Championship in three to five years (1), not suggesting a great degree of realism, and seems to have forgotten all the talk of being pro-fan – certainly no indications of any fan directorships. The current crisis is over, but I’m not encouraged at the prospects for the longer term.
Bournemouth won my Soap Star of the Year Award last season and obviously are reluctant to give up the title. Eddie Mitchell announced last Monday that £80,000 had been paid to HMRC (2) and the remaining £70,000 would be paid by today (although, as I write, that second payment had not been confirmed). Where this money has suddenly materialised from is not being revealed, although Mitchell says it is being “paid through hard work – not through loans or anything else. It is hard work which usually does it”, whatever that means.
A case brought by Jon Piper against Vice Chairman Jeff Mostyn personally over a loan of £30,000 has been dismissed, but he is taking action against the club over a different loan.
Meanwhile manager Eddie Howe is making himself more and more attractive to other clubs by sustaining moss impressive performances on the pitch.
Definitely one with legs.
- Bromsgrove Rovers
The club has been bought from the Administrator by Mike Ward (3), together with as yet unnamed partners, but these do not include Tom Herbert, former Chairman. The purchase has yet to be approved by the FA, and Ward is not make any announcements at this stage on his strategy.
- Chester City
See postings passim. The club, or rather the company, its owner and the board, continue to make a mockery of football governance. Owner Steven Vaughan is, it would appear no longer a ‘fit and proper person’ following being banned from acting as a company director, or in any way controlling a company as a result of his involvement in a VAT scam while a director of Widnes.
Vaughan however “indicated to The [Chester] Chronicle that his disqualification will not effect the club as he has no part in running it” (4). As if! An FA spokesperson said to the Chronicle: “All I can say at this stage is that we are aware of the decision and that we will be considering it in line with the requirements of our Fit and Proper Person Test”.
Meanwhile the Conference have given Vaughan Chester another extension to paying their football creditors! (5)
The club website is its usual informative self – the most recent news item is ‘Youth team coach required’, posted as recently as 6 October.
Quite why the FA and the Conference both continue to pussy-foot around is far from clear. Their lack of action is setting very dangerous precedents. Frankly, phoenixing as AFC Chester is becoming the only viable way forward.
No developments of significance, but new owner Raj Singh is busy trying to get sponsorship from local businesses (6).
- Halesowen Town
See postings passim. The day of decision by the creditors on who of two rival bids has come and passed, with the meeting postponed.
So, an unusually quiet period of activity for the club by recent standards, but Yeltz fans must just be wishing that the whole sorry episode comes to a definitive conclusion.
- Hyde United
The club has survived its immediate demise, but a debt of £50,000 to HMRC remains (7). In what way the board is going to change its business model in order to meet this remaining debt has not been announced, but apparently it allows new signings (8).
- Ilkeston Town
Back in July, the club faced a potentially serious problem with the personal bankruptcy of benefactor Chet Whyte (9). Latest news is that a deal for the Whyte family to sell the club to a group of Nottingham businessmen has collapsed (10).
- King’s Lynn
Not much to report here other than new signings (11). The deadline to pay HMRC £65,000 remains 25 November.
The club was given a three-month adjournment on 3 September of an HMRC winding-up order, and have to pay off the outstanding debt at £10,000 a month.
By way of a change from developments, or lack of them, at other clubs, some unmitigated good news – the club has cleared its debt to HMRC in full, having raised money through a successful shares issue (12). Excellent news!
- Merthyr Tydfil
The Supporters Trust, now running the club, have had to make some tough decisions. Wages have been cut by 50% (13) in the light of unexpected debts of £40,000 to the FA, Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council and the Administrator, and disappointing revenues.
- Northwich Victoria
Still no CVA agreed. As a result, the club cannot yet receive the financial benefits of their successful cup run, thought to be £43,000 so far (14), with an FA Cup Second Round tie at home against Lincoln to come.
Still a news blind spot, I’m afraid. Unless, of course, you know better – any information would be gratefully received.
Discussions between the would-be consortium (15), the Administrators, the Conference and HMRC are ongoing, with the Administrators “still confident that agreement can be reached” (16).
- Southend United
See postings passim, and The continuing Southend saga in particular.
The matter remains closed apparently, at least to Chairman Ron Martin, even if the mystery of where the money came from remains unresolved, and there is no indication of how a repeat of the recent fiasco will be avoided.
Presumably the move from Roots Hall remains ‘transitional’ and, at least to Chairman Ron Martin, there was ‘no financial crisis’ (17).
- Stockport County
The Administrators remain confident that ongoing discussions will lead to an exit from Administration (18). We shall see.
See postings passim.
Ian King recently described the club as “one of the ongoing financial basket-cases of the last three years in non-league football” (19), and with good reason. I see them as a seemingly never-ending Western, with an ever-changing cast of ‘good guys’ and ‘baddies’. The end may yet be nigh however.
To cut a complicated and ongoing story short, here are the most salient points.
On 28 October, the club announced their intention of appointing Administrators ( a pre-Administration legal move) (20). This prompted two expressions of interest in buying the club. One was led by Chris Bryan, local businessman, and involves one Steve Beasant, the other being led by ex-Cambridge United chairman George Rolls. However the deadline was passed without either group formalising a deal.
Director Paul Cocks then announced that the club was “under an obligation to take formal insolvency proceedings” (21).
The Ryan offer had been one of £2 (sic), but has subsequently been revised upwards. Beasant cannot be one of the directors as he is a property developer (no, that’s not yet a reason for failing the Fit and Proper Person test, although it probably should be, but bear with me) who was declared bankrupt at the end of last year (22). This hardly augurs well. Ryan has been putting the case for his bid on the Weymouth Independent Fans Forum on the thread OUR OFFER under the particularly irritating pseudonym of ‘True Facts’ – a tautology since there cannot be a fact that is not true. Cocks has also been posting on the forum (23), and on the club website (24). He resigned as a director on Friday night, although his resignation has yet to be accepted. News on the club website may dry up if his resignation is accepted.
All of which leaves the club in an unholy mess.
Other clubs on my radar screen are the Premier League trio Hull, Portsmouth and West Ham, for well publicised reasons, together with a number of Football League clubs who I have mentioned in previous postings, now plus Watford (25).