Hereford United non-executive director Bob Pritchard says: A new team would not benefit from the same Edgar Street ground that we have

First published in Sport

WHAT a difficult two weeks we have had.

First the departure of our management team, then a joint HUISA and HUST meeting to discuss fundraising, then the winding-up order for our great football club, to be heard in court next Monday.

After several weeks of unacceptable results, the decision to release both Martin Foyle and Andy Porter from their duties was inevitable.

Unfortunately, it may have come too late to change the position our great club is in, however I'm sure Peter Beadle will do what he can to stop the rot and get the points we require to remain in the top flight of non-league football.

So let's support him right to the end.

With the winding up order now allocated for April 7, fundraising has started and our plight covered nationwide.

The joint fund raising meeting between HUISA and the HUST made it clear that we need a arm within the club to provide satisfactory, regular fundraising but it’s also clear that we are still divided and will be until the Trust recognise this.

At the meeting, they invited a player to set the scene of our troubles times but felt it unnecessary to consult with the club by whom he is employed by for his services. This is not the first time they have contacted directly employees of the club without discussing this with the club secretary which was the agreed method approved in their presentation to the board last summer.

They even discussed, without consent, donations for players’ wages with three players, who informed them that this was not necessary, and to donate the money direct to the club who will be dealing with their wages. They tried to hold a meeting with these players again on Saturday prior to the game - the manager was not a happy man.

We saw the highest crowd this season against Grimsby last Saturday which has helped to give us a good start towards our fundraising target.

A big thank-you to all the supporters that came to this game and for all the donations that were collected wherever and to whom it was paid.

We need to keep going and, who knows, we may just get there.

By not considering administration last week - the last time we could have done so under Conference rules to avoid a 10-point deduction this season - the board felt it gave the best chance to the team to produce on the pitch and get the points we need to see us avoid relegation.

However, administration is now most unlikely as, to do so, this involves an application to the courts to defer the winding-up order and requires a solicitors' application with details of how the creditors can be paid up and a cash-flow forecast.

This is being looked at but, should this be possible, then the club will have to take a 10-point penalty starting next season whether we stay in the Conference Premier or get relegated.

So the most likely position is that either we are wound up on Monday as we have not satisfied the tax bill, or we have found the money to pay this bill through fundraising, deferring any further tax payment under a winding-up order for two months, or a new investor has come in.

So Saturday could be our last home game of the season and a bumper crowd may well cover any shortfall in funds if the target has not been met.

Should we be wound up on Monday, then everyone needs to understand that, as we are not solvent, the new leases are forfeited back to Herefordshire Council who are the land-owner.

A new team formed will not be allowed to play at Edgar Street until such times as new leases are negotiated, however this will not be done on the same terms that were for the benefit of HUFC.

From extensive negotiations with Herefordshire Council's solicitors when the leases were agreed, and a new team starting way down the pyramid, the leases will not comply with the agreed-use covenant and will not be supported by community value and obligations on development.

So be prepared for Herefordshire Council to remove the development opportunities from the lease in order that the council can carry the work out, and bank the land value asset for the benefit of the council and not the club.

The developer will demolish both ends of the ground - two stands with 3,000 capacity - leaving the sides only for the benefit of the new club and a capacity of 3,500.

This may not seem a problem, but the new club will need to find £1.5m to build the new ends to get the club up to Football League standard and the council may take more land than is currently agreed to achieve best value.

The ACV will not stop this from happening.

So we all need to work together and save this mighty club Hereford United FC.

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