IT’S Our County (IOC) says it’s time to stop “thinking it’s all over” about the present Hereford United – because it is.
IOC confirmed this afternoon that it backs the idea of a new supporter-led community club and company to keep football going at Edgar Street.
“There comes a point in the trading life of a company when to try and save that company in its existing form is simply not worth it,” said IOC’s Cllr Mark Hubbard.
“Mired in debt with leases of potential, but questionable value – it is time to pull the plug on Hereford United Football Club (1939) Ltd,” said Cllr Hubbard.
“Let’s be clear, that does not mean we pull the plug on our city’s football club or the future of football in Hereford.
Company law exists to deal with precisely these circumstances. Some people will no doubt lose some money, which will include Herefordshire Council, but by foreclosing on the debts & liquidating the company behind the club, it allows everyone to wipe the slate clean.
“Let’s get behind a supporter-led company that can rise from the ashes of the previous company, it can then focus on what’s really important - football provision at a community,” he said.
Lining up alongside Cllr Hubbard is fellow IOC councillor Jim Kenyon.
“Let’s have a clean slate, start again and give football a real chance of surviving,” he said.
IOC has backed up its call to pull the plug with a commitment to “work with anyone” to ensure community football at Edgar Street.
Herefordshire Council will be asked to outline the extent of its "due diligence" on Hereford United ahead of leases on the club's Edgar Street ground being re-assigned.
The council’s political group leaders meet at Brockington tomorrow (Thurs) to get an update on the council's talks with club owner Tommy Agombar earlier this week.
It is understood that the Independent group is preparing to press for the re-assignation due diligence report to be made public.
That report would reveal what the council knew about the club's finances ahead of the re-assignment negotiations with Carillion Richardson which started four years ago.
The leases tie the council to the club.
Mr Agombar has for two leases relating to redevelopment at the ground to be transferred to a holding company of his choosing.
The council’s lawyers are assessing that request.
At present, the current tenancy arrangements between the council and the club remain unchanged.
While the council is the landlord of the Edgar Street ground, it does not own or have any direct control or involvement in the club and its decisions.
The club currently owes the council around £65k in rent arrears, business rates and legal fees.
The council has confirmed that nothing in the development leases relating to the ground changes a requirement for football to be played there.
As re-assigned, the new leases refer to redevelopment of the Meadow End and Blackfriars End and stipulate that any proceeds be re-invested in the ground and its facilities.
The leases continue to be held by the club. If the club folds the leases would revert back to the council.