A GROUP of businessmen believe they can save Hereford United if the club is liquidated.
Jon Hale, director of Malvern-based polythene packaging manufacturer Hadopots Ltd, met Herefordshire Council officers on Tuesday to discuss the plan that he thinks is “viable” and “sustainable”.
Mr Hale was joined by accountant Phil Eynon, Richard Howard, a former chairman of the Hereford United Vice Presidents Club, chartered surveyor Phil Pratt, from Alder King Commercial Property Consultants, and Hereford United Supporters Trust (HUST) chairman Chris Williams.
The group’s idea is to create a “phoenix club” should the present club go under.
Mr Hale confirmed the group already has £150,000 underwritten to see the new club through the initial formation stages and is confident it can play at Edgar Street.
The pledges already made to HUST would also be added to the pot.
“The meeting gave us the opportunity to talk about our plans to secure a sustainable future for professional or semi-professional football at Edgar Street and also demonstrate we already have a viable business plan in place,” said Mr Hale.
“I am confident we were able to show how serious our proposals are and the level of professionalism within our group.
“Our proposals would see the creation of a new football club to play at Edgar Street – a club that’s sustainable and community run, but with a number of local investors in the background to ensure a solid financial base.”
Last week, Mr Hale said the group has “grave concerns” over Tommy Agombar’s ownership of Hereford United, which include his failure to make payments when promised and the news he met the council on Monday to discuss the three ground leases.
However, Mr Hale said now is the time to look forward and ensure there is still a club at Edgar Street come next season.
“We believe there is a real danger there may be no football played there this coming season and that worries us greatly,”
“ We have grave concerns about the future of Edgar Street full stop.”
“With the council’s support relating to the existing leases, or at least to agree an initial licence to use the stadium secured to an agreement to grant new leases, we believe we could make our business plan operational almost immediately and, with the initial financial guarantors we already have, form a club and recruit players to compete in 2014/15.”
If a new club is created, it would be community and supporter-led, with HUST playing a key role.
HUST chairman Chris Williams said that the group’s intentions is not to make a profit or sell off assets.
“HUST runs on openness and transparency,” he said.
“Because of the previous mismanagement, it’s gone too far – there’s no salvation.
“We’ve got no manager, no fixtures – we don’t even know what league we’ll be in.
“Our offer to help wasn’t taken up, so we’re looking at alternatives.
“We should be able to provide a football club for fans to watch and ensure there’s one worth fighting for.”