Chairman Keyte's delight at win and 'fantastic rallying to the cause'



First published in Sport

HEREFORD United chairman David Keyte, who is currently in Barbados, has issued a statement about the club's momentous last few days.

WHAT a great feeling it was to listen to the commentary from Welling on the radio as the players and Pete Beadle registered a crucial away win.

It was only marred by Aldershot winning away from home as well but that now brings Southport and Chester back into the dogfight at the bottom.

We should not underestimate the job that Pete Beadle and Steve Jenkins have done already in lifting these players, who have only been paid in part payments for the last two months, to such a performance.

There will be some who have downed tools, naturally you might say, but it is a time for those who want to get the job done for the football club despite the financial difficulties.

The players have my word that their money will be paid even if the cash flow suggests it will be staged and late.

The last 10 days has been a whirlwind of activity as the club faced the prospect of being wound-up if it failed to pay off the £78,000 debt owed to the HMRC. Various events were organised by the different supporters’ bodies (HUISA; HUST and the London Bulls) as well as events at the club’s Starlite Room.

It became clear, however, that we would not be able to meet the deadline of Friday last to settle the debt.

I managed to negotiate an agreement with the HMRC that allowed us to pay off £40,000 on Friday last and then fellow director Dave Preedy attended Court to seek an adjournment in order to give us time to raise the second instalment of a similar amount.

My agreement was that the HMRC Counsel would not oppose the club’s request for a seven-day adjournment for settlement of the balance due as we had made a good case that there were further activities taking place to ensure payment could be made.

Helped by the fixture list that gave us three consecutive Saturday home matches, and a united effort from both the supporters, local and farther afield, and also the board of directors and significantly the efforts of the HUSSA (Hereford United Student Supporters Association) who took the message worldwide through the use of social media, a fantastic groundswell of support was formed.

Two wonderful gestures have allowed us to reach our goal this week.

Firstly the extraordinary offer from comedian Omid Djalili to come to Hereford on Sunday to perform at no cost, and secondly the tremendous donation given to the club by Heineken/Bulmers.

Through these two gestures and another good attendance at the Woking match last Saturday we were able to reach the £40k figure this morning. Many other events have taken place this week together with online donations; purchase of shares and pitch squares which have resulted in a further £10,000 being raised.

This morning's payment has been a combined effort which is how we can make this work.

On a personal note, Lorraine and I are very conscious of the timing of our trip but those that know me best know that I am not 'away from the club' bar physical presence.

We all have personal:work balances to strike in life and, in our case, unfortunately some major restrictions due to Lorraine's kidney failure and dialysis needs. We are on a trip that we booked last November, which we did discuss cancelling, but the team at the club, particularly in the boardroom and the offices, convinced us that they could run the shop in my absence.

However, through modern technology, whether they like it or not, I have been in touch daily. I have 'met' through Skype with the directors; Keith Dodd of HUISA; Colin Addison re the football; Luke Graham re the players and the staged payment of wages and I've negotiated with the tax man.

I have also continued to speak to a group of potential investors who wish to talk further on my return.

You don't have to be standing in Whitecross Road to be in touch with Hereford but I fully accept the criticism and negativity from some quarters who think otherwise.

I am particularly conscious of the feeling of not being there standing side-by-side with everyone but it is one of those work:life decisions that you have to make occasionally.

The team back home, however, have certainly done the club proud. I always said that Dave Preedy was born for the stage.

The football club is the most important factor at this time and the rallying to the cause has been absolutely fantastic.

I had a long chat to Dave and Bob Pritchard the other morning and we all know where we are at.

We have a long way to go to sort the club’s finances out but the support and camaraderie shown in the past two weeks gives us all fresh energies to get the job done.

Time now to think of the Gateshead match on Saturday, and hopefully getting another three points.

Tuesday night’s brilliant result; a bit of confidence and another good crowd will lift the players.

With two young lads from Leominster in the squad, we have to believe we have two more wins in us somewhere.

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