Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bishop Calls For Twitter Picture Explanation

BBC Hereford & Worcester's Michael Collie investigated the club's offensive tweet from yesterday during his show this morning.

The tweet, claiming to depict a 'traditional Islamic' pre match meal has received a backlash of complaint since it appeared during yesterday's game with Droylsden. 

Collie read out dozens of the tweets reacting to the original on air throughout the course of the two hour show - adding that he could not find a single person defending the tweet.

Collie repeatedly told listeners that the station was trying to speak to the club, but failed to get a response, before he spoke to the Bishop of Worcester about the matter. The Bishop commented:

"It sounds to me that some explanation from the club is needed if it has gone out on an official twitter feed. It has clearly caused offence and it would be good for there to be an explanation sooner rather than later."

Genuine Support For Strugglers

The following appears in today's Independent (link), written by Michael Calvin:

The myth that football fans cannot be entrusted to run a bath is usually propagated by those with a vested interest in spreading false impressions.

You will know the type. Hedge fund operators who force clubs away from their communities. Quotable foreign owners with opaque CVs. Incompetent administrators who make a virtue of their impotence.

Well, supporter-run clubs do work. Portsmouth, once pushed to the verge of extinction by assorted charlatans, are the poster boys for a new model army.

There is a sense of unity and initiative coming into the new season. Supporters have already raised £150,000 for the Academy. Players mingle happily with them and identify with their commitment.

Hereford fans hope to follow their example, provided they can rid themselves of an uncommunicative owner who has overseen expulsion from the Conference.

This week’s farcical friendly, a secretive 6-0 defeat by Besiktas on the outskirts of Leeds, will harden plans to boycott official matches. While that charade was enacted in Yorkshire, a crowd of 653 watched a Supporters Trust team instead.

The people have spoken. But will the football authorities listen?

United Excluded From NLP Competition

The Non-League Paper have excluded Hereford United from their seasonal fantasy football competition.

With the £5,000 competition having a deadline of entries of August 31st, the club are not on the list to be selected with a blank spot in the list of Southern Premier clubs on offer.

The paper claims that the Southern League did have a Friday deadline for the club to pay football creditors but has handed out an 'unofficial' extension.

Leadbitter Joins The Pirates

Former Bulls full back Danny Leadbitter has joined Bristol Rovers for the coming season.

The 23 year old missed the run-in through injury, but played 39 times for the Bulls in his only season at Edgar Street. He had played for Cambridge and Southend in pre-season trial games.

Lonsdale's Dilemma Doesn't Add Up

“What would the people of Hereford rather have – a £350,000 bond sitting in the Conference account – or the club being sustainable?”

The quote from Andy Lonsdale on the Hereford Times website (link), on why Hereford United are no longer a Conference side, goes against the evidence offered in previous weeks. 

The main issue is that it's not an either/or question. The two options on offer are not mutually exclusive.

Tommy Agombar had no problem with a bond - he told people so, on the weekend of the Conference AGM, and that he had enough money to cover a bond. His accountant assured the Conference the bond would be paid. He told people - at the time he did his one and only broadcast interview with ITV - that he would put the bond money in, and pay football creditors, that week - seven weeks ago.

His main issue with the Conference, he complained, was the lack of a written guarantee that the club would remain a Conference Premier side if he paid the money. After missing the initial deadline, he received his written assurance by way of an official Conference statement, but still failed to pay.

The second option is a sustainable club. The CVA currently proposed, according to Insolvency Practitioner Marc Landsman, is to repay 100% of debt within the three year timescale that football rules allow. How can this meet Lonsdale's 'or' offer of a sustainable club?

With £1.3million of acknowledged debt, and possibly much more, the club will face repayments of £433,000 a season - or more - to settle the debt.

David Keyte thought that, in the 13/14 season, the club would turn over no more than £800,000 - and lose £400,000 doing so. Those were his words at the AGM in March.

With the club now in the Southern League Premier, and with both Lonsdale and Joel Nathan talking of gates in the hundreds according to quotes this week rather than the near 1,800 of last season, it is difficult to see how the club can claim that it is sustainable on that level of debt repayment.

Despite claims of a 'blue chip' sponsor just about to arrive - claims also made by Agombar seven weeks ago - the club appears to have neither a main sponsor for the coming season, with Cargill seemingly set to concentrate their efforts on the charitable United In The Community project, nor sought renewal of any of the other associated advertising around the ground. 

In fact Lonsdale took a swipe at some of the small advertisers, who put a total of £80,000 into the club last season according to credible sources, in his elongated Hereford Times rant. Having been at a small club for the years he claims to have been, he should be painfully aware that the small businesses that pay the small sums are the lifeblood of community clubs.

The club have failed to announce any signings, depriving them of player sponsorship income, nor have they held the normally lucrative open day or a fans forum, which would - under normal circumstances - attract a three figure crowd to the Starlite Rooms to hear what the new staff have to say.

Tens of thousands of pounds of readily available income has been ignored, by people who claim to be interested in sustainability.

With attendances of 5/600 expected by the club and a near zero advertising income, the club can simply not afford to hand out a sum to creditors on a par with last season's over-ambitious playing budget.

There remains more questions than answers as to how Agombar and company plan to make Hereford United genuinely sustainable.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Monday Is A Big Day For HUFC

Nailswortholdbull feels that Monday is a big day for HUFC 1939 Ltd., and for all of those involved. 

It'll be interesting to see whether:

1. There is yet another adjournment to the Martin Foyle (and others) winding up order, or whether,

2. The judge in charge realises that the CVA application is both illfounded and unachievable, and whether,

3. He (or she) and HMRC, and all the other creditors see through TA & Co, and realise that they do not have the means to adhere to the terms of a CVA.

4. There will also be the opportunity to see whether the Southern League is prepared to act IN THE INTEREST OF IT'S MEMBERSHIP, by expelling a club who are under a transfer embargo, have no legally signed players, have not fulfilled their obligations regarding payment of football creditors, and, worst of all, because there has been no injection of capital, and no likely sources of profit for the coming season, would be unlikely to be able to fulfill their whole season's fixture list.

5. We should also be made aware of why the Southern League's secretary is making calls to HUFC's unpaid employess, on behalf of the current HUFC board, when his obligation is to his entire membership (of the SL), and NOT to Tommy Agombar, or any other individual.

6. We might, also, find that Hereford Council has had sufficient time to consider all aspects, moral, ethical, financial, and, I fear, political, and might have made a decision regarding Mr Agombar (& company's) retention of the ES leases.

There again, of course, once more the ball could be kicked into the long grass, and the fact that Tommy & Co have fooled everybody again, by paying SOME of the creditors, SOME of their money, and, in one instance at least, into SOMEone else's bank account. You could only draw 2 conclusions from the latest pathetic effort. Either, they don't have sufficient funds to pay everyone in full, or, it's a token gesture, designed to make the powerrs that be think that they INTEND to follow through and be good boys ;)

Question is, come Monday, will all the aforementioned still believe that Tommy & Co mean what they say?

From The Archives - Details Of Hereford's CVA

With more details of the CVA for Hereford United expected to be released early next week, it is timely to look back to January 1998 and these reports from HUISA.

At a Board Meeting on 18th November 1997, the Board of Directors determined that the financial position of the Club was so bad that they had to seek the professional help of a firm of Insolvency Practitioners. This Board meeting took place TWO DAYS, prior to the meeting HUISA called at the Green Dragon Hotel. It is not surprising (and this is the real reason) therefore that the Board refused to attend our meeting.
The Insolvency company, Smith & Williamson of Birmingham have put together a proposal, known as a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), to ward off potential winding up orders from creditors. Details of the proposal were sent to creditors and shareholders just before Xmas (I wonder why??), and a meeting was called at the Club, to agree the proposal, on 7th January 1998.

The CVA documentation shows the Club to be effectively £1m, in debt, with little prospect of that position improving (i.e. it is getting worse). The largest creditors (after the BS Group of course) are the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise who are owed some £143K and £120K respectively. Football Clubs are owed some £59K, and the club owes money to many varied "trade" creditors totalling some £74K. In fact it would almost be easier to make a list of those to whom they don't owe money.

In return for agreeing not to wind the Club up, the CVA proposed, that the Club pay certain preferential creditors (including the Football Clubs) in full and the balance of the creditors an initial payment of 40p in the £. The creditors are also promised that they will all get the remaining monies due to them, in full, when the Club secures the freehold on Edgar Street and sells it for re-development. The estimated value of the site in these circumstances, is quoted within the CVA at £8-10m. The CVA is explicit that the arrangements include NO provision for a new ground, stating simply that this matter will be addressed, separately.

The money to make the initial payment to creditors, is being borrowed, from a further property development company called "Chelverton Properties". In return for this further loan, and in addition to the interest payable, Chelverton Properties, gain an undisclosed % of the funds to be generated from the sale of Edgar Street. It seems unlikely that this will be less than the 25%, the BS Group have already secured.

At the meeting on the 7th January 1998, the creditors refused to agree the CVA and both meetings were adjourned for two weeks. The reasons for the creditors refusal were as follows:

That the Club could not prove that the loan from Chelverton Properties was in place!!!!

The Customs & Excise disagreed with the Club's figures, as to how much they were owed.

The Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise, were not happy that the Football Clubs received preferential treatment and were paid in full. Only our Board of Directors could make such a cock-up of things, when they were asking others to let them off the hook!!

Despite the fact that the shareholders meeting was technically adjourned, it was nonetheless extremely interesting. If PH (Peter Hill - chairman) was in any doubt as to how isolated he was beforehand, he can have been in no doubt afterwards. He was asked why shareholders (and therefore the fans) had not been consulted on the BS deal, and blamed weakly, a lack of time; he was also asked about his plans to pay the loan back in 1999, if the ground has not been sold by then. He has no such plans, preferring to believe, rather naively as one shareholder pointed out, that the BS Group will simply give the Club more time!

After an attack by George Hyde, who asked how the CVA could be based on the sale of the ground when the Club did not own it, Graham Rivers spoke for all of the shareholders (and fans) when saying that the Club faced a very real threat of closure with or without the CVA, because of the BS Group deal. He went onto say that for the Club to have any chance of surviving there would have to be a complete change in the Boardroom, followed by the bringing and working together of all parties genuinely interested in saving the Club (the supporters, the Council, the commercial sector in Hereford, etc.). He didn't say it directly but it was clear that the latter wasn't possible without the former. He then proposed an extraordinary meeting of shareholders for this purpose and received the full support of everybody in the room except those on the top table. After trying to arrange the meeting for the same day as the Stevenage game (the Chairman clearly didn't have the date in his diary), the EGM was agreed for Sunday 18th January 1998. 

Meanwhile on January 12th HUISA put out a report on a Hereford Council Meeting


One of the other aspects that had been in dispute, at the creditors/shareholders meeting, was whether the leases on Edgar Street had indeed been assigned to the BS Group. Their view was that they had, the Council took a different view. The subject was then discussed at a meeting of the Council's Policy and Finance Committee on 12th January 1998, a meeting called by George Hyde. HUISA made representations to this meeting by way of a detailed letter, requesting that the Council refuse to assign the lease and pointing out what was likely to happen if they did (i.e. the Club would fold). We also asked to be able to attend the meeting.

After some confusion over whether this was possible, the Council finally agreed to let the supporters in and address the meeting. My thanks go to all those who turned out on the night and put our case so passionately and well. Similar thanks go to all those who wrote in to the Council on the Club's behalf and those who collected (and signed) the 307 signature petition we handed in to the meeting. That the council, in closed session, decided to assign the lease, is to be regretted; one of the Club's best hopes was that they would stand up and fight for the preservation of football in Hereford. But it is too easy to blame the Council. The fact is, that they have been out manoeuvred, by a group of clever businessmen (no not our lot, the other lot). HUISA members must not forget that it was the Chairman and the Board, including Mr Fry, who did the deal with the BS Group and nobody else!

Finally for now

Prior to this meeting the HUISA Committee invited a number of prominent shareholders in the Club to a pre-meeting in the Green Dragon Hotel on Saturday 17th January 1998, before the Kettering game. The aims of the meeting were simply to identify the options available, that might save the Club and how best to approach the EGM, on the following day. The meeting was attended by the HUISA Committee and representatives of the Businessmen, David Williams, Roger Townley and Mike Davies and Maggie Dean who recently acquired the Duggan shares. Graham Rivers whilst offering support to what we were trying to achieve, felt "unable" to attend and Archie Phillips did not respond to his invitation.

If I am entirely honest, I have to say that the meeting did not achieve a great deal, simply because the picture was, and to a great extent still is, so gloomy. The businessmen explained that the key issue was one of control at the Club, which given his share holding, was exercised by PH, whether he was Chairman or not. They went onto explain that despite months of negotiating they were no nearer persuading PH to sell his shares and give up control of the Club. They expressed a strong doubt that he had ever been serious in his intentions of doing so (hence the "ink dry" warning, given above). Beyond agreeing on a series of questions designed to make PH admit this at the EGM, and a commitment by all parties to keep each other informed of developments, the meeting did not reach any other positive conclusion.

The EGM itself, on Sunday turned out to be something of a farce. Whilst some had expected PH not to turn up, he did so, but got his "independent Chairman", to announce that it was not a formal meeting and that no resolutions (decisions) could be passed. Moreover the meeting was time limited, and after an opening address by Graham Rivers who repeated his call for a new Board and the standard "its not my fault" defence from PH, only a completely inadequate one hour was allowed for questioning.

I won't go into detail but it is fair to say that not one shareholder who stood to ask a question, voiced any support for the Board. Indeed many were vociferous in their view that, they were directly responsible for the state of the Club and had to go. The main facts that did emerge and which should be of concern to all HUISA members, were that:

The leases having been assigned to the BS Group, were not returnable even if the loan is paid off. They have effectively therefore been given away.

The Club has no alternative strategy to the Bullinghope site. All its eggs are in that one basket.

Beyond the sale of Edgar Street, the Club has no business plan, which provides for the repayment of the BS Group loan (plus interest), or the new loan (plus interest) to be taken from the Chelverton Group. The Board had no answer to the question of what happens if the former doesn't happen before the latter is due (31/5/99).

Despite this they have no guarantees that the BS Group will not seek to wind the Club up when the loan is due to be repaid. They state simply that it would not be in the BS Group's interest to do so.

If the Club is wound up, the BS Group's interest in the development of Edgar Street, increases from its current 25% to 100%. But of course this won't encourage them to do so, at all.

The Club had financial problems in the summer, of that there can be no doubt. They cannot have been so bad however, as to justify the deal negotiated by Robin Fry and sanctioned by Peter Hill, with the BS Group. It contains nothing that is to the benefit of the Football Club.  

Purdie Joins The Lambs

Rob Purdie has signed a deal with Tamworth for the coming season.

Known for their long ball approach, the Lambs have admitted they have signed Purdie to play in defence with their midfield largely for show. Manager Dale Bedford told the Tamworth Herald:

“Rob is a fantastic signing for the club. It’s terrific to have someone like him on board, a player who has a wealth of experience. He’s played for some big clubs and played a lot of games and he’s still only 30.

We have brought him in to play in the left back position. He's versatile though and I have seen him play in various positions and he can adapt well.

"Not only is he a good player, but we have brought a model professional and a leader into the dressing room."

Purdie joins ex-Bulls Dan Preston, Michael Townsend, and Paul Green at The Lamb.

Meanwhile, youth team keeper Kyle Moore has signed for Truro City for the coming season. The teenager had been on trial with fellow Southern Premier side Weymouth.

Trialist Side Scrape Draw In Last Announced Friendly

The trialist Hereford United side played virtually the entirely of their game with lower tier team Droylsden against 10 men, and struggled defensively in a 5-5 draw.

With two weeks to go to the start of the new season, and no further pre-season games announced, the trialist XI took to the field in last season's home kit, still bearing the Conference logos, rather than a new kit that had been claimed to be ready.

Pics - Bryan Pace (Twitter)
While the club's official Twitter posted pictures of the team eating a pre-match 'traditional Islamic' meal - a tweet that caused a storm due to Ramadan taking place currently - having not bothered to travel to the game, it was left to Droylsden sources to report on the actual scoreline.

The Bloods endured a 47 game winless run lasting nearly a year to this March, and had suffered two straight relegations. They fielded over 100 players last season, and ended up with a zero playing budget due to attendances collapsing at the Butchers Arms ground. They broke their winless run in front of just 135 spectators, barely a third of their average attendance in the season before.

Despite having a man sent off in the opening minutes, the Bloods raced into a 2-0 lead through a Ciaran Kilheeney double before the trialist side pulled one back through "Obi". The hosts scored a third through captain Ben Deegan before "Bilal" pulled one back and, after a series of changes for the Evo-Stik Division 1 side, "Deqin" netted a third for the trialists.

Faces, but no names
Sub Sefton Gonzalez then netted a rebound from the spot, the second penalty of the game for Droylsden, to make it 4-3 before, in the final few minutes, a controversial goal saw "Deqin" net again for 4-4 before the trialist side took the lead for the first time with "Deqin" netting for 5-4.

In the dying moments a diving header saw the hosts claim a 5-5 draw through sub Chris Ahmadi.

Blank Teamsheet For Trialist Side

Hereford United faced Droylsden in today's friendly match without naming their starting XI.

Picture by Bryan Pace (Twitter)

Club In Court Again Monday

Hereford United are no. 37 on the list of companies in Court on Monday morning to face the latest round of the Martin Foyle winding-up petition.

The case is listed in the first batch of 70 companies to be heard 'from 10.30am'. Also listed are Nottingham Forest and a company called "Serious And Complex Crime Consultants".

HUISA Distance Themselves From Queen Gig

This from HUISA:

HUISA would like to state that last night's tribute show at the club was not supported by them. The show was booked by Border Leisure which is co-run by Keith Dodd. The contract was between the club and the agency and once again we state that HUISA had no part in this.

Meanwhile, HUISA have also posted a reminder about their AGM a week on Monday:

HUISA would like to remind members that their AGM will take place on MONDAY 4TH AUGUST at the Richmond Place club starting at 7.30 pm. Nominations are open for election to the committee and for the roles of Chairman, Secretary / membership administrator. These must be received no later than FRIDAY 1ST AUG, with a proposer and seconder, who must be current members. Nominations should be sent to or PO BOX 1999 HEREFORD HR2 7WA. 

Football Creditor Money "Paid Into Wrong Account"

The Southern League have told at least one football creditor that he has not been paid as his money has been sent to the wrong account.

With dozens of creditors still awaiting money, former club media man Jamie Griffiths has been told his money has been sent elsewhere:

The monies that have arrived at people's accounts have come from the client account of club Director Philip Gambrill's accountancy company Gambrill & Co, the company that shares an office with Insolvency Practitioner Marc Landsman.

With his phone number in the public domain, another fan has called Tommy Agombar and has been told today that just four football creditors are left to be paid.

A series of creditors confirmed last night, including Burnley FC, that they had received money, but both Griffiths and former Club Secretary Lee Symonds are still awaiting outstanding sums, as well as several former players including Rhys Evans, Chris Sharp, Callum Brennan, and Jarrod Bowen.

More than half of those who have confirmed they have been paid to Bulls News have acknowledged that they are still owed further sums.

HUISA Chairman Runs Border Leisure

Border Leisure, the Hereford entertainment agency who put on last night's Queen Alive event at the Starlight Rooms, is run by Keith Dodd and Ken Shepherd.

Dodd is currently the chairman of HUISA, the Hereford United Independent Supporters Association.

Initially it had been suggested that HUISA were behind the event but this was later denied.

HUISA recently polled its members about the situation at Edgar Street.

65% of the replies expressed a view to a boycott of Edgar Street. 23% expressed a wish that HUISA should affiliate with the Trust and 12% revealed a willingness to carry on supporting the club.

HUISA will hold their AGM at the Richmond Club on August 4th at 7.30pm.

According to the HUISA site, Dodd has tendered his resignation from the HUISA committee, with effect from the AGM.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fans Call On Southern League To Make Statement

Bulls fans are calling on the Southern League to make a statement with confusion over what deadlines Hereford United have to make payment.

BBC Hereford & Worcester have reported that the club are expected to pay football creditors today, but other media sources have not been able to confirm that.

Bulls News has found only five football creditors to be paid, with the fifth saying their bank was credited two days ago, while two of those are still owed further sums.

In amongst the large number of articles the Hereford Times have published in the last two days are claims that the club have signed 19 players. However the Southern League have confirmed a transfer embargo and not one signing has been officially announced with the season due to start two weeks tomorrow.

Several fans have, this afternoon, reported conversations with Tommy Agombar with his apparent phone number published on Twitter. 

One fan was told that all football creditors would be paid by 2pm, while another had an offer of putting down a deposit on the flats planned to be built on the Meadow End declined by Agombar.

Update: Kingsley James, Danny Leadbitter, Dan Pilkington, Jon Brown, and Cory Williams say they have been paid - but both Pilkington and Williams say they have not been paid the full amount.

MP Responds To Lonsdale Claim

A statement from Jesse Norman MP:

"Mr Lonsdale says I have not replied to an email of his. But in fact I gave Mr Agombar a courtesy call soon after his investment was announced, and was cut off. That spoke for itself. 

"I am a member of HUST and I support the HUST boycott 100%.  It appears that Messrs Lonsdale and Agombar have made endless promises which they have failed to discharge. They failed to pay all local creditors, as they promised.  They failed to post the bond required to keep Hereford United in the Conference, as they promised.  They appear to have moved Mr Agombar on and off the Directors' register in order to bypass the rules. They have not published the result of Mr Agombar's "Fit and Proper" test, or authorised the FA to reveal the outcome.

"Mr Lonsdale wants to have a conversation. But this isn't a time for talk, it's a time for action. We must do everything we can to safeguard the future of football in Herefordshire. Mr Lonsdale and Mr Agombar need to engage with HUST, hold an open meeting and address the fans' concerns in full.  Then perhaps we can‎ talk."

Youth Team Set Standard With Opening Performance

This from UITC:

The newly formed UITC U18 Youth team produced an exceptionally performance in their first pre season outing on Wednesday evening.

Played on a beautiful surface produced by former Hereford United Groundsman Ian Pritchard, the Young bulls enjoyed long spells of dominate possession against Gloucestershire Counties Premier Division First Team side Ellwood FC. Ellwood FC had beaten Cinderford Town only 7 days earlier on their home turf.

Ryan Davies, Matt Owen and James Obern all opened their scoring accounts in an entertaining encounter, however it was the effort of the collective unit that impressed the home supporters with a display of hard work, entertaining football and battling qualities that defied their young years. 

With only 10 of the 14 man squad who travelled still only 16 years of age, and the remaining 4 U18 for the coming season, the future certainly looks to be an exciting prospect.

We would like to thank Ellwood FC for their wonderful hospitality and wish them all the best for the coming season.

We are in action once again this coming Wednesday, when we face another trip to Gloucestershire to take on AFC Lydrook with a 7.30pm Kick Off. All supporters welcome.

Cargill To Focus On UITC Funding

Cargill have issued a statement on their sponsorship of Hereford United:

"For the last few years our long term support of Hereford United has focussed on the Hereford United Community Trust, which supports youth football, school and disability development programmes in and around Hereford.

"We are currently talking to the Trustees to explore future support for their efforts in these areas.”

The funding for their sponsorship of the club is understood to come from a company 'community fund' and they cut their first team funding last summer, dropping the sponsorship of the Len Weston Stand.

The blue chip company has sponsored the club for the last 24 years, believed to be one of the longest sponsorships in football.

Business Group Continue To Monitor Edgar Street Situation

Earlier today, Bulls News made contact with Jon Hale and asked him if he had anything he’d like to say in response to the comments from Joel Nathan and Andy Lonsdale that were reported on the Hereford Times website yesterday afternoon.

Mr Hale, who is one of a group of local businessmen who have put together a business plan - which has been shared with Herefordshire Council and the HUST Board - to launch a phoenix club at Edgar Street should Hereford United (1939) Limited go into liquidation, said:

“All the members of our group have read the various comments from Mr Nathan and Mr Lonsdale with great interest but we do not feel any need to respond directly to them.

“We would, however, like to express disappointment that they have both been critical of the fans who attended the supporters’ team game at Ledbury Town on Monday night and are attempting to belittle their reasons for being there. 

“I was at the game on Monday – as were several other members of our group – and it was a fantastic night. The fact that more than 650 supporters attended the match clearly demonstrated the grave concerns that a significant proportion of Hereford United’s fan base have about what has been going on at the club.

“Our position relating to the current situation remains unchanged. We believe we have a strong business plan in place to launch a phoenix club should the worst happen and Hereford United (1939) Limited cease to exist. Importantly, a significant underwritten investment remains in place to help us launch a new club and help sustain it in its early days.

“We are also confident we have all the expertise we need available to us to run a sustainable, progressive, community led football club and manage all the work that goes with it. 

“We remain in contact with Herefordshire Council about our plan and they are in no doubt about how serious our proposals are and how quickly we are willing to move should the opportunity to take on the leases at Edgar Street become available.

“As I have said before, sadly our group feels that the level of debt built up by Hereford United (1939) Limited means that realistically the company has no long-term future and is simply not a viable business moving forward. 

“It will give none of us any pleasure if the club we have supported all our lives goes into liquidation, but we are determined to ensure that fans of the club have a sustainable, alternative option to throw their support behind – if they wish to – should the worst case scenario actually occur.”

Comedy Genius and the Rewriting of History

Andy H writes again...

The Hereford Times headline that screamed "Tommy Agombar is man who saved Hereford United" is a  statement that doubles up as comedy genius and the rewriting of history. 

As Bulls fans, we are well aware of the timelines here. Agombar pitches up, we get relegated two divisions, creditors are told umpteen times they will be paid. Majority are still waiting. Ground can't be played in. CVA/winding up on the cards. All but a handful of fans have seen any alleged HUFC player play. But the fans team gets a brilliant turnout, which looks set to continue. Saviour. My arse. 

That piece was not the only article that the HT published yesterday. It transpires that HUFC is looking to line up a blue chip company or two to sponsor it. Of course the HT, BN and Bulls Banter has already put off some other, unnamed, blue chip companies from doing same. Maybe one of them  was Google? Picture their PR department looking up "Hereford United FC". I wonder if they would have liked what they saw and would want to be associated with it? 

But wait, there was a third article published by the HT. Mr. Nathan seems somewhat aggrieved that the fans team got a lot of press, whilst the HUFC game against Besiktas got little mention. It was actually announced in the HT, but about an hour before kickoff. And it took place in Yorkshire. Since Edgar Street still can't host any games.

Whilst in the process of writing this I have found that yet more articles are appearing on the HT website. What is happening here? Silence for weeks and then communication overload! You know, frankly I haven't got the time to read all of them. I have read three and they were chock full of guff. My lie-o-meter is broken. And it's time to cut to the chase and set one thing straight with what is a rewrite of history. The club appear to suggest that the slow motion car crash that we are witnessing is the fans fault. 

I would humbly suggest that the blame lies squarely at the feet of the club's owner and advisors. All of these articles have the powerful whiff of desperation and , yes Mr. Lonsdale, you really should have got your ducks in a row, because the ones I can see appear to be ailing, and look set to shortly depart this mortal coil.

Update From Hereford United IP

Marc Landsman who is the Insolvency Practitioner appointed to produce a CVA for Hereford United has kindly given BN an exclusive update.

The proposal is now almost finished - there is just one section that needs a little bit more information.
We always expected that there would be differences between the list of creditors, that the company has given us and the final version that votes in a couple of weeks’ time – invoices get lost in the post, more interest is charged on a loan and so on.  To be honest, with a few groups of exceptions most of the claims have been pretty much what we expected to see but I know that just by saying that I’ll be putting a curse on the list!
The offer itself is a good one – everyone will be paid in full over three years, that part has been out there for a while, so we expect to see some people increasing their claims – we will just be looking quite carefully at the differences since any extra money the company pays a creditor means there’s less money to spend on the football. 
There have been specific types of claims that are hard to adjudicate, and we’ve tried taking a practical view – we’ve asked for any evidence someone can provide but to be fair there is still time for the claims to be received.  We haven’t uploaded the proposal and the Nominee’s Report and Comments onto the web, let alone sent the letters out yet saying the proposal pack with claim forms and proxies can be downloaded from – I expect to send those out on Monday when we know the position with the Winding Up Petition, we’ll also be sending out emails to everyone that emailed our office about debts or shares to make sure they know what’s happening.  There’s plenty of time to submit claims and proxies, but it’s a lot easier to deal with them at an early stage in case we need to ask for more information.  It also means that if someone puts in proxy to vote to accept it the proposal but with a change to something, there is time to see if that would work rather than make a decision at the meeting that might be regretted later.

Club Need To Pay Or Face Expulsion

BBC Hereford & Worcester are reporting that Hereford United needs to pay it's football creditors today or face expulsion from the Southern League.

'Advisor' Andy Lonsdale claimed yesterday that 10-12 of the football creditors had been paid on Wednesday, with further payments due yesterday, today, and Monday.

Bulls News could find only four people who had received sums, two of them incorrect amounts, and that figure has not increased since yesterday afternoon.

"Most People Have A Chequered Past"

'Advisor' Andy Lonsdale has told the Hereford Times that 'most people have a chequered past'.

He admitted to the paper that Tommy Agombar 'may not pass' the FA's Owners And Directors Test due to his history, while Joel Nathan claimed that Agombar's namesake son was no longer a Director of the club - despite still being listed at Companies House.

Agombar junior is banned from football sine die by the Essex County FA for non-payment of fines.

Nathan also says that a new Chairman will be announced shortly - despite the Southern League handbook listing Lonsdale, who is not currently a Director according to Companies House, as holding that role.

Meanwhile, Lonsdale has taken another swipe at Bulls News for our coverage of his environmental terrorism at Feltham's former ground. Lonsdale claims our coverage comes from speaking to 'a local resident':

“I was exonerated by the council and Bulls News have spoken to a local resident about his side of the story – they haven’t asked me for my side. The council set up a strategic review and I was exonerated."

The Council's Scrutiny committee (press report here) said 'there is reason to doubt' the evidence Lonsdale presented to the committee, while the dozen or so Councillors and local residents we spoke to were somewhat less than complimentary of Lonsdale's actions.

Ex-Bull Watch

Former Bulls loanee Sam Winnall has signed for Barnsley for an undisclosed fee from fellow League One side Scunthorpe. The 23 year old had a year left on his deal after 23 goals for the Iron last term as they won promotion from League Two.

Barnet have opened negotiations with Gavin Mahon after a successful trial. The 37 year old previously played for Martin Allen at Notts County, and played for the Bees in their friendly against Brentford on Tuesday night.

Rob Purdie continued his trial at Worcester in Tuesday's draw with Redditch. Also playing in that game, for Redditch, was Ashley Sammons. The former Birmingham trainee has been with them since leaving Worcester in March 2013. 

Former youth teamers Tom Brock and Callum Brennan turned out at Allpay Park for different sides on Thursday night. Brock turned out for Westfields having signed for them, while Brennan appeared for a Worcester XI as they played out a 5-5 draw.

Hereford born midfielder Jamie Price has rejoined Newtown after 18 months away. The 26 year old has played for Cheltenham, Gloucester, and Worcester in a career that also took in a spell with Birmingham City.

Problems For IP Say Trust

The Insolvency Practitioner looking into the affairs of Hereford United is having problems sorting out a list of creditors according to the Hereford United Supporters Trust.

"The suggestion is that new debt is coming out on an almost daily basis," said Martin Watson of the Trust.

"There doesn't seem to be a definitive list of either shareholders or creditors

"They are getting new claims from people they have no knowledge of at all."

Meanwhile Jamie Griffiths, formerly Hereford United's press officer, has told BBC Hereford and Worcester that he is still owed money by the club.

"It's not only the £1800 I'm owed it's also the fact that I was forced to make a decision to leave. So I don't have that wage coming in each month.

"Not only is it three months without pay it's now a further two months without pay because I felt I had to leave." 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lonsdale's Quotes From The Hereford Times

Andy Lonsdale, an advisor to Hereford United's majority shareholder Tommy Agombar, has given an interview to the Hereford Times. For the record here are some of his quotes.

"If we had not come in when we did – Hereford United would now be dead.
“David Keyte could not go forward and the local businessmen did not come forward.
“David Keyte was on his last legs and all the other directors – Grenville Smith, Bob Pritchard and Nick Nenadich – not one of them stepped up – and one of them has called us amateur.
“If we are amateur and we have saved the club – what does that say about them?
“They have killed the club.
“The club was £1.3 million in debt under their watch – not ours – and they call us amateur.
“All we have done is try to mop up their mess.
“We are getting hammered over the state of the club – but we never caused it.
“The Football creditors have been owed money – and that was not created under our watch.
 “We are here to build for the future.

“We want to go forward positively. We had loads of local friendlies that could have been played here but there was a lot of negativity from the fans.
“Tommy Agombar has got some great footballing contacts and so too has Mark Ellis and Joel and I.
“We are going to use those for the benefit of Hereford.”

“The cheques were written out to pay the football creditors and big sponsors were due to drop the money in but, at the last minute, the sponsors backed out.
“That was due to the bad press from Bulls Banter, Bulls News and the Hereford Times and they said 'Sorry, we can’t be associated with this'.
“There were two backers and they both pulled out.” 

“You have had a lot of comment in the local press about us being bad people.
“You had the local MP Jesse Norman asking for comment. I e-mailed Jesse Norman about three weeks ago and have not had a response.
“How can a local MP voted in by the locals endorse a phoenix club knowing that nobody will get paid if Hereford United went into liquidation?
"How can a local MP endorse that and he has not even offered to speak to us.
“I want him to listen to us and let’s engage in conversation and so he buys into our ethos."

"We started paying them yesterday - about 10 or 12 - and the rest should be paid today as long as we have all the bank details and references.
“We will pay today, tomorrow or Monday.
“The Southern League have been very good to us.
“We had to put up a bond to the Southern League and if we can’t pay the football creditors, why should we be allowed to play in the league?
“There are people coming out of the woodwork.
“David Keyte agreed to give all the first team a £500 bonus for when he couldn’t afford to pay the wages.
“We have to pick up the tab for that and we are looking into that.
“A lot of people did not have contracts.
"They showed David Keyte a lot of loyalty and they didn’t show us any – yet they still expect us to pay.
“They didn’t have a contract –a lot of people here only had verbal contracts.
“We are doing everything by the book – as far as that is concerned.” 

“I have had to resign from the club (Bedfont and Feltham Football Club) due to the Hereford fans which I was really happy about.
“They got hold of the FA and said that I was involved with two clubs.
“Because I want to see Tommy Agombar see this through, I made my decision to resign.
“I had been there 17 years but, because of the fans’ hatred here, I have had to resign.
“ I am not very happy about that but I am not going to walk away from this club because I gave Tommy my word that I would help him."

“Jon’s (Taylor) father owns a property company.
“But Jon’s a football man and he is passionate about his football.
“What does your father do and does that have an impact on the job you do?
“If you dig too far back you might find out that your father owned Edgar Street
“I was exonerated by the council and Bulls News have spoken to a local resident about his side of the story – they haven’t asked me for my side.
“The council set up a strategic review and I was exonerated."

“Mark Ellis has taken six to eight weeks out of his life to rebuild Hereford football club.
“He is not getting paid a penny and, for someone to do that, they have got to believe in what they are doing.
“Mark has put the team together and he’s getting stick all the time.
“I am a great believer in Mark.”
“He will be here until the first game and then spending one day or two days a week here on a consultancy basis.
“He is an asset for the club and his credentials are real.”

“I have met one man at this club – Colin Addison – since I have been here and he’s a lovely man and that’s the sort of people we want to be dealing with. He’s 74 years old and he’s a legend.
“It can’t be nice when you get Bulls Banter, Bulls News and Hereford Times all against you.

“When we first got involved in the club, we were told the overall debt was £300,000.
“But every week I came down, the debts got bigger and bigger.
“Due diligence was done when Andrew Green was involved but he’s no longer involved with the club.
 “We are running a football club – we are not Herefordians or Hereford supporters. But we are going forward – we do not want to dwell on the past. This club has got a massive future.”

At Least They're Consistent At One Thing

The following is a screen grab of text messages sent between former club media man Jamie Griffiths and Hereford United 'owner' Tommy Agombar.

In the messages, dated June 25th, Agombar claims to have sent cheques out two days before:

The cheques never arrived, however some employees received payslips - but no money - that week.

"Today, Tomorrow, Or Monday..."

Despite claiming earlier today that Hereford United would complete payments to football creditors today, Andy Lonsdale now says it will be "today, tomorrow, or Monday".

Lonsdale told the Hereford Times: “We started paying them yesterday - about 10 or 12 - and the rest should be paid today as long as we have all the bank details and references. We will pay today, tomorrow or Monday."

Bulls News has found only four football creditors to have received payment, with Rhys Evans saying that he had not actually been paid. A fourth person has confirmed receipt of some money, but both he and Luke Graham say they have not received the full sum owed.

Photocopied Cheques? There's An Explanation For That...

Andy Lonsdale claims that the late withdrawal of a sponsor saw the club show staff photocopy cheques that they did not post.

He told the Hereford Times: “The cheques were written out to pay the football creditors and big sponsors were due to drop the money in but, at the last minute, the sponsors backed out,” 

“That was due to the bad press from Bulls Banter, Bulls News and Hereford Times and they said sorry, we can’t be associated with this.

“There were two backers and they both pulled out.”

Lonsdale adds that they have a new sponsor lined up: “The company is not a local computer shop, this is a multi-national company.”

The reference to the local computer shop is in reference to the sponsor of the HUST Fans Team shirts. The same computer shop sponsored the club's fixtures cards last season, has an advertising board on the Edgar Street/Blackfriars Street corner of the ground, and also an advert in the programme.

None of these are being renewed for the new season because of the current regime.

I Would Have Got Away With It If It Wasn't For You Pesky Fans

In the latest of a series of articles on the Hereford Times website today, Andy Lonsdale claims that Bulls fans made him quit his role at Bedfont & Feltham - by reporting him to the FA for breaching rules.

The the FA abundantly clear on their rules on having influence at two clubs, Lonsdale blames supporters for contacting the FA:

“They got hold of the FA and said that I was involved with two clubs. Because I want to see Tommy Agombar see this through, I made my decision to resign.

“I had been there 17 years but, because of the fans’ hatred here, I have had to resign."

I think you'll find that's the rulebook, Andrew...