Hereford United: Bail-out deal to clear tax bill falls through

Hereford United are still facing the worry of how to meet a £36,500 tax bill after the collapse of a potential major deal with a telecommunications company.

The Conference Premier club are due in court on 27 January to face a winding-up petition brought by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

"This is bad news for United as they had been counting on this money to help meet their tax liabilities.

"Among the sticking points were where the telecoms equipment would be situated following the redevelopment of the ground, and who would pay for it to be moved.

"There was also concern over the adding of future operators without the approval of both the council as landlords and the football club.

"United say work continues to try to overcome the outstanding financial situation at the club."

Trevor Owens, BBC Hereford & Worcester Sports Editor

Chairman David Keyte admitted the club face going into administration.

"We have sought the advice of an administrator should the worst scenario actually be necessary," he said.

"But I would stress that remains our last resort."

The telecoms deal, which would have cleared Hereford's debts, fell through over logistical issues, including a failure to agree who would carry the cost of removing and relocating equipment when the ground is redeveloped.

"To lose the telecoms deal at the last hour is a massive blow," said Keyte. "But it is absolutely the correct conclusion when we consider the long-term future of the stadium and future proposed developments."

The downward spiral of Hereford's financial situation since being relegated from the Football League in May 2012 has forced the Bulls board to ask fans for pay extra at the turnstiles in the run-up to and during the Christmas period.

Keyte said: "In addition, when we lost the New Year's Day fixture with Kidderminster Harriers we were unable to complete the payment of December wages (£17,000).

Edgar Street average gates

  • 2007-08: 3,421
  • 2008-09: 3,270
  • 2009-10: 2,138
  • 2010-11: 2,516
  • 2011-12: 2,553
  • 2012-13: 1,793
  • 2013-14: 1,664

"This was despite the sale of shares and donations reaching £20,000 and the board of directors putting in £35,000.

"We have been in several discussions with stakeholders, including the council, to attempt to resolve matters prior to 27 January."

HMRC's winding-up petition is due to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Monday week.

Meanwhile, Hereford are due to play Southport at Edgar Street on Saturday, only their second game in three weeks after successive postponements because of the wet weather.

A timely run of just one defeat in four games has lifted them to 16th in the table - eight points clear of trouble.