HEREFORD MP Jesse Norman has urged revenue and customs to now do “everything necessary” to secure what Hereford United owes in taxes.
On the eve of Monday’s winding up hearing at the High Court, Mr Norman says the time for patience with Hereford United (1939) Ltd - which trades as Hereford United Football Club – and its new owner is over.
Mr Norman has previously asked HMRC for forbearance in respect of the club’s overdue tax bills given the extent of supporter fundraising and the sale of the club.
But, in a letter to HMRC released to the Hereford Times today, Mr Norman says he is “not persuaded” that Tommy Agombar is able to meet the club’s financial obligations as they fall due and encouraged HMRC to do everything it felt necessary to secure what it was owed.
“Mr Agombar has already allowed the club to be expelled from the Conference League due to non-payment of football debts and failure to post the required bond,” says Mr Norman.
"Numerous other creditors remain unpaid, in addition to HMRC. As for cash flow, most of the fundraising efforts that had kept the club afloat in recent months have now dried up, while other local clubs have refused to play friendly games with Hereford,” he said.
In this context, said Mr Norman, HMRC had “no proper justification” for a policy of forbearance towards the club’s tax debts.
The club faces a winding up petition in the High Court on Monday brought by former manager Martin Foyle.
Mr Foyle claims he had previously negotiated an agreed settlement with United which was subsequently withdrawn by the club.
United survived a winding up petition from HMRC earlier this month.
Then, a registrar formally dismissed HMRC's petition on request from its lawyer, Matt Smith, who said it had not been advertised in the London Gazette.
On June 2, another insolvency judge adjourned the winding up petition brought Mr Foyle, who left the club in March and is now manager of Southport.
At that hearing, club lawyers said that it had been purchased the previous week and the new owners were investigating options including administration and a creditors voluntary arrangement (CVA).
The club was given until June 30 to look into these possibilities".
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.
The receiver's job would then be to ensure that debts are paid off by selling any assets available and then bringing business to a close.