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

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.


5 Responses to “Crawley Town and Farnborough in court today”

  1. What’s the latest with North Ferriby United, Harlow and Merthyr?

    • John Beech said

      Harlow I’ve blogged on recently (1). I’ll post something later (but not tonight!) on North Ferriby and Merthyr.

    • John Beech said


      Things are heading towards a dénouement at Merthyr.

      An Annis Abraham-led consortium had their revised bid rejected by the Administrator just before Christmas (1). In late February a multi-million bid collapsed; it would have would have provided funds to finance the company’s exit from administration to CVA (thus preserving its league status), provided working capital for the future of the club, provided funds to the freeholder and provided investment into the local community through job creation (2).

      Any bidder, which seems now to only be the Supporters’ Trust, faces a ten-fold increase in the rental of the ground (3) and the thorny problem of negotiating an acceptable CVA. New offers for the club are being sought by the Administrator (4), leaving the Supporters’ trust with a race to raise the necessary before the deadline of 26 March (5). See here on how to donate.

    • John Beech said

      I don’t have much on North Ferriby, other than that they have been hard pressed by the loss of their main sponsor last season, and now the loss of the sponsor for their successful youth scheme (1).
      Any reader input would be much appreciated.

  2. […] to make plans to reduce its debts, their financial situation was deemed serious enough for it to be sent to the HRMC magistrates. This has also happened to the likes of Chester City, Notts County, Portsmouth, Cardiff City and […]

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