HEREFORD United escaped liquidation again in the High Court this morning – but Herefordshire Council is still not on the list of those owed.
Insolvency judge Christine Berrett said that the club needed more to complete “settlement and negotiations.”
Counsel for the club’s old manager, Martin Foyle – now manager of Southport - told the court in respect of the club’s debts : “Payment has been paid in part and there are on-going discussions.”
She requested a seven day adjournment which was agreed to by other creditors who include Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The hearing will now be re-listed for next Monday (Sept 8).
When the case was adjourned by the court in July, another insolvency judge was told that the club was exploring proposals for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which it was anticipated would see creditors paid 100 pence in the pound over a three year period.
Then, no details of debts were given but on a previous occasion Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited's total debt was said to be £140,000.
An initial attempt to secure a CVA was subsequently rejected.
A previous winding up petition brought by HMRC was dismissed earlier this year after the club paid outstanding tax debts of around £40,000 thanks to a successful fundraiser by comedian Omid Djalili.
If the club is ultimately wound up its affairs will effectively be handed over to an Official Receiver to arrange the paying off of debts by selling any assets available and then bringing business to a close.
Herefordshire Council, landlord to the Edgar Street ground, is still not on the list of creditors despite being owed around £65,000 in rent arrears, business rates and legal fees.
Ahead of today’s hearing, the club offered an “assurance” to the council that the debt would be paid in full.
The Hereford Times learned that this “assurance” was offered by Hereford United chairman Andy Lonsdale in a phone call to the council’s director of places and communities Geoff Hughes.
As yet, no payment towards the debt had been made.
The council is preparing a statement for the Hereford Times to “clarify” its position.
Politically, the council is seen as reluctant to press for a case that could see the club wound up.
A recent memo sent to councillors said that following the rejection of the Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), the council’s position over the club had not changed.
That position had the council not making any move over the leases on Hereford United’s Edgar Street ground until the outcome of today’s hearing was known.
The council is already under pressure from members to hold an “official investigation” into the authority’s part in the crisis at Hereford United.
There have even been calls for an outside agency to investigate any culpability the council may have.
The council has already admitted that no “separate” due diligence report was done on the financial state of Hereford United ahead of the ground leases being re-assigned.
Instead, members have been told that an “appropriate level” of due diligence was carried out given that the club was a current tenant.
Meetings and telephone conferences between council representatives and representatives of Hereford United have gone on since January without minutes being taken.