NEXT HOME GAME - FANS TEAM VS STEVE GUINAN XI FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AT WESTFIELDS FC MARCH 22ND
NEXT AWAY GAME - FANS TEAM AT HITCHIN TOWN APRIL 25TH KICK -OFF 3PM
UITC YOUTH TEAM -TBC

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Another 'Lonsdale' Company In Trouble


Another of former Hereford United chairman Andrew Lonsdale's companies has gone into liquidation.

A notice in the London Gazette last week published the details.

It is thought this is the 28th company Lonsdale has been involved in that has failed.

Meetings of Creditors

LONSDALE CONSTRUCTION SERVICES LIMITED

(Company Number 07447381)
Previous Name of Company: Cushty Independent Fish & Chip Traders Limited; Cushty Management Limited; Demoway Site Services Limited
Registered office: 6 Station Parade, Ashford, Middlesex TW15 2RX
Principal trading address: 6 Station Parade, Ashford, Middlesex TW15 2RX
Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 98 of the Insolvency Act 1986 that a Meeting of Creditors of the above-named Company will be held at Gainsborough House, Sheering Lower Road, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire CM21 9RG on 27 February 2015 at 3.00 pm for the purposes provided for in Sections 99 and 101 of the Act. The resolutions proposed at the Meeting of Creditors may include a resolution specifying the terms on which the liquidator is to be remunerated. The meeting may also receive information about, or be asked to approve, the costs of preparing the statement of affairs and convening the Meeting of Creditors. Notice is further given that a list of the names and addresses of the Company’s creditors may be inspected at the offices of Gainsborough House, Sheering Lower Road, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire CM21 9RG between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm on the two business days preceding the date of the Meeting.
Further Details: Alan J Clark, IP Number 8760, alan.clark@carterclark.co.uk, 0845 686 0100
Andrew Lonsdale, Director


Monday, March 02, 2015

Edgar Street Rent Free For First Two Years


Herefordshire Council have confirmed that Hereford FC will not have to pay any rent for the first two years of their five year lease deal on Edgar Street.

Thereafter they will pay £10K per year.

U11's Disability Football In Hereford

ARTICLE

Smith, Fleetwood, Graham, O'Keefe Added To Guinan Game March 22nd


Ben Smith, Stuart Fleetwood, Luke Graham, and Josh O'Keefe have been added to the list of names appearing at Westfields on Sunday, March 22nd, for Steve Guinan's charity fundraising game.

There will be an auction after the match for memorabilia including a signed Fans Team shirt, signed Carl Froch boxing glove, James Milner signed England shirt, and signed shirts from Steve Guinan's personal collection.


Hereford FC Wait For Keys To Edgar Street


It looks as though Hereford FC will have to wait for at least a couple of weeks before they are given the keys to Edgar Street.

Herefordshire Council arranged for electrical safety testing around the ground last week and it's thought this isn't yet completed.

In any case the Council are unlikely to allow entry until solicitors have finished with the details of the lease and then it will need to be signed.

With the Council so short of money it looks as though Hereford FC will have to do any roof repairs.

There is an amount of pipe work that needs replacing in the bars because beer left in them will have deemed them useless.

Burst pipes in toilets need repairing.

Major work is also needed to the electrics in most of the canteens. There is suggestion that one or more of the canteens may need gutting.

Several internal locks were drilled out by the Council and need replacing, and some of the doors and woodwork need attention.

And that's on top of tidying up and painting.

Anyone able to help with equipment, supplies or hard graft is asked to get in touch with Ken Kinnersley at volunteers@herefordfc.co.uk

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Hereford FC Badge Vote Result


This from HUST:

HUST is pleased to announce that the following design has been voted by members to be the badge for Hereford FC -
Design 2
More than 900 votes were cast with 89% backing the design produced by Bulls fan Huw Marriott and his sons Max (11) and Louis (9). Huw told us:

I was born in Hereford and lived in Bodenham with my parents until I went to University in 1993. I now live in a small village near Northwich with my wife Jane, the boys and dog (Rudy the beagle)

My dad was a life long fan of HUFC and often recalls the joys of United's cup runs and the climb to the old Second Division. Obviously I was indoctrinated into the club in the early 80s and don't remember too much of the football, my early memories are of kicking a can around the front of the Blackfriars end. I do remember the home game against Arsenal in 1985, sat in a temporary stand that was erected for the game . I also remember to being allowed to leave school early for the replay at Highbury, my dad has still never forgiven David O'Leary for a professional foul on Chris Price when he was about to score.

I have followed the Bulls ever since following them all over the country convinced that at the start of the season that this would be our year, but I remember finishing 17th a lot. My highlights would be the 95 - 96 season when we go the the playoffs, first league success in my memory after many dismal years and a brilliant cup tie with Spurs, but this has to be trumped by the conference playoff game against Halifax, what a game what an atmosphere, never been with so many excited passionate Bulls fans. The low point (aside from the recent demise) would be the home draw against Brighton in 97 when we were relegated to the Conference for the first time.

I don't get to as many matches these days, living is Cheshire and with family responsibilities, but I try to get to the games in the Northwest and home games if I am visiting family still in Hereford, and listened to Bulls Player every Saturday. In the family tradition I took my boys to their first Bulls match at Hyde in August 2013, a 2-2 draw but they did get to see us score. Immediately Michael Rankine became Louis favourite player and he even has used it in his Xbox gamer tag.

The boys have since then tried to convince the school friends the benefits of supporting Hereford and a few of them had HUFC as their third team, and so it begins (event though the team name has changed). My sons requested HUFC kits from Granny and Grandpa (who still liv in Bodenham) for Christmas, and now have the 2013 Home and Away kits.

We are all very excited to be involved in the development of the new club, and are hugely proud that our design has been chosen to adorn the chests of the players on the first day of the season and for many years to come. We will be there with the other thousands of fans ushering in a brand new era in the history of football in Herefordshire and are sure there are many good times to come for us all.
The badge will now be used by the club and be forwarded to kit manufacturers to produce the new black and white kit. Huw and the boys have also produced a second version of the badge, with the scroll outside of the main shield. This version will adorn the shirts as the "Forever United" scroll needs to be larger for embroidery purposes.

Marriott v3


Clubs Failing To Pay Wages


Kidderminster Director Gino Ruffinato spoke to the press after yesterday's game with the coaching staff and players refusing to talk after their short wages payment.

Ruffinato said: "There are a few issues but hopefully they'll be resolved over the next week or so. When you stretch to go for promotion you stretch as far as you can and you hope you get the support to go with it."

The Director hinted that they had hoped for a 2,000 gate yesterday instead of the 1,766 that attended, and dodged a question as to whether benefactors Ernie and Kath Lane - who quit the board in the summer - were still going to cover the shortfalls at Aggborough. Ruffinato also suggested the club could only afford a £350,000 playing budget and were still spending over that despite a series of departures.

Asked a yes/no question, Ruffinato would only respond that the pair had been supportive of the club and he hoped it would continue, with the club having previously threatened legal action against the Lanes after they pulled their financial commitment earlier in the season. When a reporter states that "the club couldn't pay the wages without the support of the Lanes", Ruffinato adds "that's be true for a few years."

Meanwhile, Leyton Orient are another club on the verge of a crisis after it was revealed that they had failed to pay their staff as due at the end of the month. Players have been promised pay by Wednesday with the near farcical reign of Italian owner Francesco Becchetti seeing last season's play-off challengers now in the League One relegation zone. 

Revelations at the club include last seasons' wage structure, whose top earner was on £2,500, smashed with at least five players earning over £7,500 a week while the manager cannot speak English and needs his goalkeeper coach to translate team talks. Fans have already expressed concern with Becchetti using the club for a reality show on his Italian TV channel.


We Can't Wait To Get Going Says Hale


Hereford FC chairman Jon Hale has spoken to the Non-League paper about the progress of the newly formed club which agreed a lease deal with the local council last Tuesday.

"There were a lot of rumours flying around and whilst we were confident we couldn't be sure.

"It's clear to see Herefordshire Council want football to continue at Edgar Street.

"The decision was all or nothing for us.

"Our whole proposal was built around the commercial opportunities at Edgar Street and it's a ground that matches our ambitions. The hard work starts here.

"We want as much of the flavour of Hereford United to come with us as possible.

"This is a continuation of the club's 90 year history and we can't wait to get going.

"We've budgeted very cautiously for around 800 people but we're very confident we'll see more than that.

"We've got a lot of business skills within the board and we are making sure we learn from what happened to Hereford United.

"HUST will eventually own 50% of the shares so we have a very strong bond and platform from which to build."

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kiddy Staff Protest After Wage Shortfall


Just prior to this afternoon's match at Aggborough, it was revealed that Kidderminster's staff and players had received only a third of their expected wages.

Payments were due in full yesterday but the short payment led the Harriers players and coaching staff to refuse to speak to the press after their goalless draw with Halifax.

The Aggborough outfit announced a loss for the 2013/14 season of £120,000 earlier in the week.


Rob Purdie Joins Hereford United Supporters Trust Board


This from HUST:

Hereford United Supporters Trust (HUST) is delighted to announce that former Hereford United star and current United In The Community (UITC) Under 18s manager, Rob Purdie, has joined the organisation’s board.

Rob was co-opted onto the HUST Board at a meeting on Thursday night and he has since explained how pleased he is about his new role and how much he is looking forward to getting even more involved in football in Hereford.

The former Bulls striker, midfielder and defender said: ‘I’m flattered to have been asked to join the HUST Board and it was a simple decision for me to accept the invitation. Through my work with UITC I know exactly how supportive HUST is of football locally and I’m looking forward to the chance to get more involved myself.

‘I’ve been settled in Hereford for quite some time now and really do class myself as a Herefordian these days.  It was probably only when I spoke at one of the first HUST meetings that many people realised how much this place means to me and how keen I am for UITC to give the best possible grounding to its young players.

‘I am passionate about giving local youngsters the chance to develop their football careers and, with this week’s exciting news about Hereford FC securing the Edgar Street lease, I firmly believe the opportunity is there to create something special here.

‘If we can create a pathway from UITC that sees a number of local youngsters in the Hereford FC match day squad of 16 every weekend, it will be something for every local fan to be hugely proud of. There is nothing better than seeing a local player representing your club as it really does make you feel like you are supporting one of your own.

‘Our goal now must be to get local youngsters into the first team and I know the HUST Board is keen to see this happen too. Prior to the lease negotiations I also spoke to Jon Hale about Hereford FC’s plans and it’s great that he sees UITC as a huge part of what the club wants to achieve.

‘As I said earlier, I think we have a great opportunity to create something fresh and special in Hereford and I’m looking forward to playing as big a part as I can.’

Rob then moved on to give his thoughts on Hereford FC and any future involvement he may have:

‘I’m very keen to get involved at Hereford FC, but at the moment it’s clearly impossible to say what sort of role I might be able to play.

‘Whatever happens with my future involvement at Edgar Street – be it a big part or a small part – I will still look forward to seeing how the new club progresses and how it develops. It would be great to be part of an adventure that sees football in Hereford return to the level it deserves though.

‘I’m very hopeful I will play a part through either my role with HUST or more directly with Hereford FC itself, but, whatever happens, I feel confident there are some exciting times ahead and that’s the least football fans in Hereford deserve after the events of the past few years.’


Ricky George To Manage Fans Team At Hitchin


Bulls legend Ricky George has agreed to manage the Fans Team match at Hitchin on April 25th.

The scorer of the winner in the famous 1972 win over Newcastle will take charge of the side at the second attempt after his first outing at Royston Town was cancelled.

A number of other club legends are also expected to be on show on the day, with the game being refereed by former World Cup referee Graham Poll.

HUST will be running a coach to the game, with entry to the match at Top Field Pay What You Want. Proceeds will be split between Hitchin Town and HUST.


From The Archives - Pictures From The Last Conference Game At Edgar Street


In many supporters eyes, Hereford United played their last game at Edgar Street on April 21st last year.

So here's a pictorial look back at that day when the Bulls defeated Alfreton 3-2 in front of a gate of 2445.


Youngster Billy Murphy


Kingsley James Scored For The Bulls

Dan Lloyd Weston In The Hereford Goal

Michael Rankine With The Meadow End Behind Him
Backing The Bulls

Jarrod Bowen Striking His Goal
Rob Purdie Applauding The Supporters
  

Friday, February 27, 2015

Kiddy Rack Up £120,000 Loss


Kidderminster Harriers racked up a £120,000 loss last season despite selling a player for £250,000.

Joe Lolley's move to Huddersfield was wiped out by dismissing managers Steve Burr and Andy Thorn, while they paid £10,000 to agents for the free agent striker Freddie Ladapo, who was released last month.

The club had also generated £125,000 from a FA Cup run that culminated in a match at Sunderland's Stadium of Light but the losses, covered by benefactors Ernie and Kath Lane, mean the club is facing up to a budget cut next season of up to a third.


Davies To Advise On Managers Job


Former Bull Gareth Davies will assist in the process of selecting the first manager for Hereford FC - but definitely isn't interested in the main job himself.

The youth team product earned the Bulls a six figure fee 20 years ago with a move to Crystal Palace, and has been a volunteer coach with UITC with his sons in their squads, but he wanted it to be made clear that he is not interested in the managers role itself. 

Gareth, who is a coach educator for the Welsh FA, has offered his services to the club in a number of capacities to help and support the club moving forward. He will continue to work with UITC and support all player pathways and coaching.


Beadle Takes Charge Of Fans Team For Guinan Game


Peter Beadle will take charge of the Fans Team when they face Steve Guinan's XI in the charity fundraiser at Westfields on March 22nd.

Beadle last took charge of the side back in July at Ledbury Town.


A Public Apology From Richard McPherson


A Public Apology from Richard McPherson

I would like to make a public apology to many Bulls fans for some of the things I have written and for some things I have said over the past few months.

So, firstly, I would like to offer a humble apology to all Bulls fans who I offended by my posting on Bulls Banter. I am really sorry for the things I said.

Secondly, I also apologise to every Bulls fan who boycotted and protested about the new regime – you were right and I was wrong. I believed everything Tommy Agombar and Andy Lonsdale told the fans who still went to the games.

My only explanation is that I went to matches to support the team, who were an amazing bunch of lads, I was supporting the team not the regime.

By way of recompense for my mistakes I am willing to join HUST and volunteer my time to help get Edgar Street “Up and Running” for the new team.

Now, with Hereford FC we have a new “breath of life” for footie in Herefordshire, so, COYW lets make Hereford proud!

Thank you

Richard



Applications Invited For Hereford FC Football Manager Position


This from Hereford FC:

Hereford FC is inviting applications for the role of Football Manager for the club’s inaugural season in 2015/16.
Applicants are invited to submit a CV and covering letter supporting their application by e-mail to the Club Secretary, Martin Watson, at fd@herefordfc.co.uk, or by post to Martin Watson, Club Secretary, Hereford FC, c/o Unit 4, 7 Canal Road, Hereford, HR1 2EA.
Please note, closing date for applications is 5pm on Thursday 5th March.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Voting Open To Decide New Hereford FC Badge


Voting Open To Decide New Hereford FC Badge


Voting is now open to determine the new Hereford FC badge.

After lengthy deliberation, whittling the original 154 entries down to a 13 design long-list, the HUST Board have selected three designs for the member vote,
The full size images can be seen on the HUST website http://www.hufctrust.co.uk/voting-open-decide-new-hereford-fc-badge/

How To Vote


You can email liaison@hufctrust.co.uk from your registered member email address, or call 01432 818498 and leave a message with your member details (member number or, if not known, your address) and your preferred design.

Voting will close on Sunday night at 6pm, with the winning design released at 9pm.


Liquidator Could Pursue Hereford United Directors


It is thought that Alexandra Kinninmonth of Baker Tilly will be appointed the liquidator of Hereford United (1939) Limited at a meeting of the club's creditors on March 9th.

This first meeting is due to be held at the Official Receivers Office in Bristol.

ING Lease, who are a small creditor of the football club, are pushing for Kinninmonth to be appointed and it's understood several large creditors have agreed to back the call.

If appointed Kinninmonth is expected to carry out a detailed review of the reasons why Hereford United went into liquidation.

Given the amount of assets of the club so far identified, Kinninmonth is unlikely to cover his costs. So that raises the question why does he want to be the liquidator? May be he feels there could be a case against the directors?

If that is the case then he might look at the directors role in the club as
under the Wrongful Trading provisions of the Insolvency Act directors may be made personally liable for some debts of the company.

(Wrongful Trading is defined as when a company continues to trade as normal even though the directors were aware of the fact that the company was going out of business.)

Liquidators often ask whether the directors took on credit knowing full well that they could not pay it back. Take HMRC – did the directors take VAT and PAYE/NIC deductions that they knew they could not afford to pay over? If they did then there may well be a legal action against the directors.

In the case of Hereford United, the directors continued to take in VAT from ticket sales and some other income despite owing HMRC a substantial amount of money. 

The liquidator might also note the words of Marc Landsman, the Insolvency Practitioner who tried to steer through a CVA for the club.

"It's insolvent, it's had a long history. Unfortunately it finished today at a meeting at 10.00am," said Landsman on August 15th last year.  

Directors of companies in financial trouble who wish to avoid allegations of wrongful trading should take the following steps:
  • Ensure they always have adequate and timely financial information.
  • Be alert to danger signs, such as pressure from creditors.
  • Draw conclusions from the circumstances that a reasonably prudent business person would have drawn.
  • Hold regular board meetings to discuss/review the company’s situation.
  • Ensure they consider the interests of creditors as well as comply with their statutory directors’ duties.
  • If there is a prospect of insolvency, do not incur new liabilities as if there was nothing wrong.
  • Record conclusions.
  • Take specialist, professional advice, consider it carefully and follow it unless there are very good reasons not to.
  • Consider stopping trading and starting appropriate insolvency proceedings before creditors do.
- See more at: http://www.icaew.com/en/archive/library/subject-gateways/law/insolvency/legal-alert/when-directors-can-be-personally-liable-on-company-insolvency#sthash.OCEiVAc0.dpuf

Directors of companies in financial trouble who wish to avoid allegations of wrongful trading should take the following steps:
  • Ensure they always have adequate and timely financial information.
  • Be alert to danger signs, such as pressure from creditors.
  • Draw conclusions from the circumstances that a reasonably prudent business person would have drawn.
  • Hold regular board meetings to discuss/review the company’s situation.
  • Ensure they consider the interests of creditors as well as comply with their statutory directors’ duties.
  • If there is a prospect of insolvency, do not incur new liabilities as if there was nothing wrong.
  • Record conclusions.
  • Take specialist, professional advice, consider it carefully and follow it unless there are very good reasons not to.
  • Consider stopping trading and starting appropriate insolvency proceedings before creditors do.
- See more at: http://www.icaew.com/en/archive/library/subject-gateways/law/insolvency/legal-alert/when-directors-can-be-personally-liable-on-company-insolvency#sthash.OCEiVAc0.dpuf
Wrongful trading is when a company continues to trade as normal even though the managers/directors were aware (or should have been aware) of the fact that the company was going out of business. This is a civil offence, so directors found guilty of it may be held personally liable for company debts and/or banned from acting as the director of any limited company for a period of up to 15 years. - See more at: http://www.realbusinessrescue.co.uk/business-insolvency/difference-between-wrongful-fraudulent-trading#sthash.bXTqbCZ0.dpuf
Wrongful trading is when a company continues to trade as normal even though the managers/directors were aware (or should have been aware) of the fact that the company was going out of business. This is a civil offence, so directors found guilty of it may be held personally liable for company debts and/or banned from acting as the director of any limited company for a period of up to 15 years. - See more at: http://www.realbusinessrescue.co.uk/business-insolvency/difference-between-wrongful-fraudulent-trading#sthash.bXTqbCZ0.dpuf
Wrongful trading is when a company continues to trade as normal even though the managers/directors were aware (or should have been aware) of the fact that the company was going out of business. This is a civil offence, so directors found guilty of it may be held personally liable for company debts and/or banned from acting as the director of any limited company for a period of up to 15 years. - See more at: http://www.realbusinessrescue.co.uk/business-insolvency/difference-between-wrongful-fraudulent-trading#sthash.bXTqbCZ0.dpufFor example one crucial question is whether the directors took on credit knowing full well that they could not pay it back. Take HMRC – did the directors take VAT and PAYE/NIC deductions that they knew they could not afford to pay over? If they did then there could be legal action against the directors.In the case of Hereford United, there's little doubt that right up to the end, the club were receiving VAT from ticket sales and some other income despite HMRC being owed a substantial amount of money. The liquidator might also take into account the words of Marc Landsman,the insolvency practitioner who acted as the nominee for the recent CVA proposal."It's insolvent, it's had a long history. Unfortunately it finished today at a meeting at 10.00am," said Landsman on August 15th last year.

For the record, Baker Tilly were Hereford United's accountants until shortly after former chairman David Keyte took over the club. 


Petition To Save Salisbury's Stadium


Salisbury fans have set up a petition calling on Wiltshire Council and the trustees of the Raymond McEnhill Stadium to support the new football club for the lease to the stadium.

The petition reads:

After years of turmoil through financial irregularities during previous ownerships, and a particularly terrible year in 2014, our beloved football club, Salisbury City FC eventually folded and ceased to exist. We, the fans, were devastated but our hopes were raised when a consortium of decent, honest Salisbury businessmen purchased the assets of the old club and formed a new club called Salisbury FC. Together with renowned sports journalist Ian Ridley as advisor and well known footballer Steve Claridge as manager, it seemed like this new club could have a bright future despite all the heartbreak that had gone before. But it wasn't to be.

In 1997 Raymond McEnhill had given Salisbury a football stadium with the intention of ensuring that there would always be a place for a Salisbury football team to play. However, with the old club folding, the trustees of the Raymond McEnhill trust don't seem willing to allow the new club to use the existing facilities. In fact, so far they haven't seen willing to even discuss the future with the new club owners.

We, therefore, petition the Wiltshire Council and The Trustees of the Raymond McEnhill Trust to Support Salisbury's new football club (Salisbury FC) in obtaining a lease for the use of the Raymond McEnhill Stadium and bring football back to the city! For supporters past, present and future!

We, as supporters of the newly formed Salisbury FC, wish to support the owners of the club in their talks with the trustees of the Raymond McEnhill Stadium. Hopefully, this will result in a productive dialogue with a positive outcome for all involved! We aim to display to the trustees how much hunger there is for football to be returned to the city and more importantly the Raymond McEnhill Stadium as well as how much support there is for our cause in the wider footballing community!



Guinan Charity Game To Take Place At Westfields


The Steve Guinan charity fundraising game will take place at Westfields FC on Sunday, March 22nd.

Andy Tretton, Tony James, Tyler Weir, Peter Heritage, and Matt Clarke have been added to those already appearing on the day - Ryan Green, Michael Rose, Kris Taylor, and Karl Broadhurst.


With the match in aid of Children with Cancer UK, an auction will also take place with the latest item secured a signed, framed boxing glove from Carl Froch. 

Entry for the game is £4 adults and £1 for kids. Kick off is 2.30pm.


The Demise Came At Considerable Speed


A look back at the demise of Hereford United and the launch of Hereford FC has been published by the 200% blog at http://twohundredpercent.net/?p=26825

The Death & Rebirth Of Football In Hereford

When the end finally comes, it is usually the mundanity of that is the most striking thing of all. At the High Court in London, five days before Christmas and with most “football people” focusing their attention on the forthcoming rush of holiday fixtures, Hereford United Football Club passed quietly into the night, another of the English game’s relative footnotes cast asunder shifted to its “History” section. Yet the story of Hereford United and its demise doesn’t end with the scratching of a judge’s signature on a document in a hushed courtroom. When it comes to football clubs, these stories seldom do. Hereford United Football Club may be no more, but football in this particular town will continue, under a subtly different name. Enter stage left, Hereford FC.
The demise of Hereford United came about at considerable speed, and where exactly this story even begins may be open to question. If we are to trace the roots of the sequence of events that ended in the High Court a couple of months ago, though, we should probably begin in June 2010 with the arrival of local businessman David Keyte as the club’s chairman. At the end of the following season, the team finished one place and three points above the League Two relegation places, a position not helped when it was deducted three points by the Football League for fielding an ineligible player, Rob Purdie, in a match. The following season, however, the club’s luck began its slow, inexorable process of running out, and it was relegated back to the Football Conference.
This was a position in which Hereford United had found itself before, and it might have been presumed that the club would, given this experience, have been better prepared for such a drop than most. On the pitch, it seemed that this may have been the case. Hereford ended their first season back in non-league football in sixth place in the table, one place – albeit with a ten point gap above them – off the play-off places. The following season, however, the wheels began to fall off the wagon completely. By the end of the 2013/14 season, the club had avoided relegation to the Conference North on goal difference from Chester, but it was at this point that the full scale of the club’s precarious financial predicament truly became fully apparent.
Keyte sold his shareholding in the club to an East London based businessman by the name of Tommy Agombar for the princely sum of £2, but it was Agombar’s involvement with the club that seemed to accelerate its demise more than anything else. Such had been the scale of the club’s financial difficulties that it had been instructed to pay £350,000 to its football creditors or face expulsion from the Football Conference. It failed to do so, but was granted an extension on account of the club’s new ownership. When this amount remained unpaid, the club was duly expelled and demoted two divisions, to the Premier Division of the Southern League.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, details of Agombar’s colourful past had started to come to light, and these cast serious doubts over whether he should even have been in a position to buy the club in the first place. In 1987, at Southwark Crown Court, Agombar had been sentenced to four years in prison over his involvement with a gang of lorry thieves who had been active for the previous two years. After being found guilty on one count of conspiracy to steal and three counts of theft, the presiding judge described Agombar as, “a thoroughly dishonest man,” and this dishonesty was cost him any further formal involvement with the club. He therefore failed the FA’s Owners and Directors Test just thirteen days after taking it over, and with just one match played of the new Southern League season in August, ownership of the club changed hands again, this time to one Andrew Lonsdale, of a company called Alpha Finance, a company described – without apparent irony – as being “specialists in distressed debt.”
Lonsdale had been with the club as an “advisor” since the earlier in the summer summer, but his name may have rung a bell or two amongst non-league aficionados with anything like a reasonable memory. Lonsdale had been a director of number of haulage companies that had been liquidated and was himself disqualified as from acting as a company director between 2006 and 2012. He was convicted for dumping waste on green-belt land in Buckinghamshire in 2008, but it was his involvement at Feltham FC that raised the most eyebrows of all. Whilst acting as the president of the club, Feltham’s ground was to be renovated, a job which bringing in soil (16,000 m3) from other sites. However, a subsequent investigation revealed that almost five times as much soil and rubble (73,000 m3) had been deposited with an estimated value to his company, All Transport Limited, of about £1.2 million. Lonsdale claimed was that he’d made a loss because the revenue was much smaller, based on his assessment that he’d only deposited 2/3 of the amount the council survey claimed. All Transport ended up, as so many of his other companies did, in liquidation, whilst Hounslow Borough Council have since confirmed that they now need to renovate the area upon which the ground once stood at a cost to the taxpayer of £300,000.
By the time the new season started, though, the story of Hereford United’s season on the pitch already seemed less important than what was going on in the boardroom. The club’s supporters trust, which had seen its membership swell as Hereford’s difficulties mounted, polled its membership on boycotting future matches in July of last year, and the supporters, sickened by the events that had overtaken their club, voted overwhelmingly for it. The new season started with the club limping, hamstrung, playing in front of rapidly shrinking crowds at Edgar Street. The council sought a winding up order against the club over the non-payment of rent, but Lonsdale, Agombar, or whomever, came up with the required £50,000 at the last minute. By this time, however, the view that the only way to starve the owners out of the club was through boycotting had completely paralysed the club’s finances, with crowds – which had, in the Conference, comfortably been into four figures – dropping to three hundred or less.
The end came, perhaps unsurprisingly, with a hint of farce about it. A winding up petition been brought by HMRC over an unpaid £116,000 tax will had been adjourned at the start of December, when Lonsdale told the court that he had £1m to sink into the club in investment. This amount went, of course, unpaid. On the previous Saturday, Thirteenth of December 2014, the Hereford United team had travelled to Bedfordshire to play Dunstable in the Southern League. They drew one-all in front of a crowd of just 167 people. Six days later, the court met again and this time the club’s luck ran out, with the presiding judge remaining unimpressed at Lonsdale’s claims to be stuck in traffic with proof of funding for the all-important £1m. This time though, there would be no further extensions for Hereford United. The club was formally expelled from the Southern League on the fifth of January and subsequently evicted from Edgar Street by the council. It says much about the condition in which the club had found itself by this point that these events, whilst inevitably upsetting for those that had followed the club, were seen as the only course of events that could result in some degree of sanity ever returning to football in the town.
That there would be a new football club for Hereford was never in doubt, but what form would it take? The Hereford United Supporters Trust (HUST), which now has over 1,700 members, might have been prime contenders for the role, and immediately after Hereford United was wound up HUST announced its intention to move towards starting a new club, Hereford FC. However, three days later it was established that a local businessman, Jon Hale, who had earlier been chairman of HUST, had registered the name Hereford Football Club with the Herefordshire Football Association, in conjunction with the trust and a group of local businessmen. The new club will see HUST being given the opportunity to become the largest single shareholder, with individual and corporate benefactors being barred from owning more than twenty-five per cent of shares of the new club, and when the proposal was put to the Trust membership, almost 97% of those who voted voted in favour of it.
There are, of course, possible reasons as to why the Trust decided that it would be unable to go it alone. For example, the club’s Edgar Street ground is in need of considerable repair after years of neglect, and this might prove to be expensive. Another factor to take into consideration is the fact that the new club needed to be registered by the first of March to stand any chance of starting with effect from next season, and the financial backing of others makes this considerably more likely than it might otherwise have been. Early signs, however, have been encouraging with the council agreeing a lease for the use of Edgar Street to the new club for the next five years. Which division of the English league system the club slots into is also open to debate, for now, at least. The club is expected to be invited to join the Midland League, but it remains possible that they could be placed higher than that. These decisions usually seem to be taken based upon the whims of whoever happens to be reviewing the case.
Through this grim story of disingenuity and shadiness, though, there is one group of people that deserve considerable credit for their role in it, and that is the supporters of Hereford United themselves. The vast majority of the digging to expose Tommy Agombar, Andrew Lonsdale and others for who they were came from ordinary supporters of the club, and now that their names are common public currency mention of those names will set alarm bells ringing should they pitch up elsewhere in the future. The supporters who made these sacrifices – up to and including the boycotting of their club – played an invaluable role in what we should surely hope will be a happy and successful future for Hereford FC, and that role is unlikely to be forgotten in the set-up of the new club. At a time when various authorities failed to act in order to prevent a thoroughly avoidable state of affairs coming to pass and seemingly everybody expressing an interest in the club from outside gave the impression of having an agenda that was more about lining their own pockets than the well-being of the club itself, the supporters of Hereford United often seemed to be the only people who were prepared to take a stand and to act with any great integrity. They did it for the love of their football club, and now that football club will be returned to them. It was the absolute least they they deserve.

News Round-Up


Bury have signed a five year deal to use Manchester City's former Carrington training ground. The 22 acre site replaces their former Lower Gigg base, which housed one pitch. The financial details of the deal have not been revealed. Accrington recorded an attendance of just 919 for their win over Burton last night. It was their second sub-1000 gate of the season, having not had less than 1,100 last term, with their average attendance less than 1500.

Bristol Rovers moved to the top of the Conference with a 2-1 win over Braintree last night. Their rise to the summit has come on the back of a 19 game unbeaten run in the league, with former leaders Barnet having led the table for 178 days since September. Corby Town have complained to the East Midlands Ambulance Service after it took an ambulance nearly three hours to arrive at their ground to collect injured player Paul Malone, who had suffered a double leg break in a game at the weekend.

Hartlepool fans are to hold an open meeting to seek to form a Supporters Trust after the recent collapse of a proposed takeover of the club. The meeting will take place after this Saturday's home match with Wimbledon, with speakers from York and Darlington's successful Trusts. 

Lincoln fans are to crowdfund a huge mosaic of seats on one of their stands to commemorate the Dambusters and to try and refinance the club's huge loan. The Imps need to find a way to cover the £380,000 debt, with the Dambusters having been based near to Lincoln. The 5,681 seats on offer will go for between £50 and £250 to raise around £300,000 after costs.


Thoughts of an Exiled Hereford Fan

 
Ed Dallimore asks 'Why is Edgar Street so important?'
 
Edgar St is to Hereford fans, what Old Trafford is to Manchester United or Anfield Rd is to Liverpool fans. It is our beloved, spiritual and historical home. It is where our heroes like Ronnie Radford, have written the club and the City of Hereford into the history books. It is where the fans have experienced polar extremes of emotion.  From the highs of great victories against top flight teams in the FA Cup  and important wins  over local rivals, to the lows of crucial  defeats and  the devastation of relegation.

It is where my dad took me for the first time, as a young boy and introduced me to being a spectator of “the beautiful game”. Where I stood side by side with my school mates and discovered the thrill and passion of supporting my local team and where I felt the adrenalin rush of the electrifying atmosphere of The Meadow End and “The Edgar St Roar”. 

When Man United or Liverpool fans tell me how they felt watching their teams come from behind to win The Champions League on the tele, you can see in their eyes, they don’t quite get it when I explain, “I got the same rush “going mental” in the Meadow End pit and standing on “the wall” punching the air and screaming my lungs out, when we scored two goals in as many minutes, at the death, to knock Walsall out of the FA Cup in 1990!”….and I didn’t even realise at that moment, it had set up a plum 4th round tie against the mighty Man United! That is the kind of memory that Edgar St has given to me and thousands of Herefordians and that is why it is a very special place for Hereford United fans.

The Street is also the place where 1200 hardy souls will stand in the rain on a freezing cold Tuesday night in January, to watch The Bulls play out a 0-0 draw with Halifax Town in The Conference while there is Champions League on the tele. Try telling those people, as well as the 35 that have made the trip from Yorkshire, that Newcastle or Sunderland fans are the most passionate in the country. They will laugh at you. 

Thousands of devoted fans have over the years, experienced the thrill of the ride that Hereford United has given them and thanks to today’s decision to award the leases to Hereford FC, our local club will endure and history will continue to be written in our very own “Theatre of Dreams”. 

Edgar Street is our clubs home and home, as they say, is where the heart is and this could not be truer than for Hereford United. 

There was a very real fear amongst some fans that with the demise of Hereford United the company, the evisceration of the dead bull might be the end game, with the home of the sacred beast being turned into a shopping centre with a ten pin bowling alley as the recreational legacy for the site. Happily, common sense prevailed and the true value of the football club to the city, county and its residents was recognised and finally rewarded with the issuing of the leases to the phoenix club. The truth of the matter is, the football club never actually died, when the trading company ceased to exist. That was merely an illusion, a cruel hoax. There is a reason that Hereford (United) football club lives on and that reason is of course the fans, because the club is the fans and as long as there are fans, it will never die!

Now we can look forward to a new chapter in our famous clubs history, although I have a feeling that this close season is going to be the longest I have ever known. The first game of the season is going to be one very special day. Congratulations and well done to everybody involved for their hard work and achievements in recent weeks and months. The securing of the Edgar Street leases ranks in my book, as one of the most important results in the history of our club and one that we can all truly be very proud of because it was “we the fans” that made it happen, by standing together, United.
 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Murphy Makes Eire u19 Debut


Former Bulls youth teamer Billy Murphy debuted for the Republic of Ireland u19 side on Wednesday night.

Now with Bristol City, the youngster becomes the second of Peter Beadle's youth side to earn international honours after Wigan's Owen Evans picked up u19 caps for Wales earlier in the season.

Coach Paul Doolin's side took on Azerbaijan, winning 6-0, with Murphy in the starting XI.


Southern League South And West


There's little doubt that Hereford FC would like to play in the Southern League South and West from next August.

FA rules suggest that this is unlikely to happen but Jon Hale, Hereford FC chairman, has said he will continue to try and persuade the FA especially given the potential support the new club might take on away days.

Here's a list of clubs currently in the South and West:

1Merthyr Town













2Taunton Town













3Evesham United













4Stratford Town













5Larkhall Athletic













6North Leigh













7Shortwood United













8Didcot Town













9Yate Town













10Wimborne Town













11Cinderford Town













12AFC Totton













13Bridgwater Town













14Mangotsfield United













15Swindon Supermarine













16Tiverton Town













17Sholing













18Clevedon Town













19Wantage Town













20Fleet Town













21Bishops Cleeve













22Bashley

And their gates:

TeamHighLowAvg
AFC Totton451210278
Bashley21583138
Bishops Cleeve28144107
Bridgwater Town37271162
Cinderford Town36197143
Clevedon Town24046112
Didcot Town17780127
Evesham United437136240
Fleet Town15870104
Larkhall Athletic23090137
Mangotsfield United30177147
Merthyr Town1017305498
North Leigh1455089
Sholing30964127
Shortwood United1495890
Stratford Town303114201
Swindon Supermarine15892126
Taunton Town465197292
Tiverton Town351152212
Wantage Town1244877
Wimborne Town40893195
Yate Town307122194