Next Game: FA Cup Replay - Fleetwood Town at Home on Thursday 14th December at 7.45pm
(Live on BT Sport)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

UITC Youth Win Latest Friendly


The UITC u18 side continued their pre-season campaign with a 5-1 win over Lydbrook AFC last night.

The side, managed by Rob Purdie, scored through Alex Lillwall, Ryan Davies, Tom Gameson, James Obern and Carlos Moreira for their first win of pre-season.

UITC's next Soccer School is in Hereford on August 7th and 8th. Places, and more information, can be obtained by emailing soccerschools@uitc.uk.com

Meanwhile, Hereford United have announced 12 signings in total. All twelve are aged between 18 and 23, with the eldest, defender Kyle Knott, a trainee sports lecturer at Hartpury College.

With the three previously announced on BN, there is also Irish defender Paul Mahony who announced his signing on Facebook before deleting the post. Winger Javia Roberts, who was pictured on Twitter in HUFC kit, is also named.

Other names on the list are Daniel O'Reilly, Bilal Yafai, Joshua Oyibo, Jordan Jivanda, Nathanial Lewars, and Deqwon Ebanks, who had a brief spell with Tamworth last term.


Conscious Uncoupling


Gomez The Mexican Cat ponders...

The above phrase entered the public sphere when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced their separation, yet it could apply to me as I face the season ahead.  If someone had told me I’d have fallen out of love with Hereford United on that magical afternoon at Aldershot, I’d have never believed them, yet this is now how I feel.

A friend, who fell out of love with his boyhood club told me that he’d gained a huge amount of time back in his life by abandoning his team, but I don’t want to do this. By now my social calendar should be full from August to April of trips to Hereford – day trips, long weekends back home - yet no visits to the city are planned.  It is hard to think I won’t be going to Edgar Street this season, but at present that is the way it is.  

Last season I, along with many, were so concentrated on the club retaining its Conference status, the details of the financial implosion almost seemed secondary.  Money was raised to keep the club out of the high court and I certainly thought the cure for our financial problems would be maintaining our Conference Premier status.  How naive that seems now.  With the various and continued chaos over this summer I for one can’t financially support it at present.  

That’s not to say I condemn anyone who plays for us or who goes along to Edgar Street to watch.  It’s not an easy decision and perhaps it is simpler for me as I live in London.  As I write today, the club’s transition to the Southern League seems to be going ahead, though as there doesn’t appear to be a current safety certificate, quite whether there will be a game at Edgar Street on 9th August remains to be seen.  

Away fixtures – do I go or not?  Even that’s a dilemma, but a level of curiosity and the inability to go “cold turkey” on the club I’ve followed for years, means I’ll probably go to games I can get to and from easily.  The clubs we visit haven’t done anything wrong, why shouldn’t they benefit financially from what can be at times quite a substantial away following.  

It should have been so different. If only the current ownership (whoever that is) had paid up straight away and kept us in the Conference – surely that was the absolute minimum required.  Did they not realise that owning a football club is a financially dicey business and with that financial commitment comes a duty of trust?  At any level in football, if you are incredibly lucky you might break even or make a small profit.  

The likes of Roman Abramovic can afford to take the financial hits but the further down the leagues you go, the harder it is.  But, do you ever “own” a club or do you take on the role in perpetuity, taking the reins for a period, and then handing it over to the next person never forgetting you are holding onto this role for something far more precious than just owning a club.  Something that I think Graham Turner understood, despite his sometimes fractured relationship with fans, but that David Keyte missed completely, is that while the club isn’t “owned” by the supporters, the history and the fans that supported it in the past, present and the future are those who you are holding it in trust for.  It is this trust that has been distressingly fractured over the summer.  

As I log onto Bulls News more times daily than is really healthy, it is difficult to believe how far our club has sunk.  With the eyes of the footballing world on Brazil and now on which stars are coming to Premiership clubs for eye watering amounts of money the plight of Hereford goes largely un-noticed.  Credit to Midlands Today who have kept up the media pressure to a certain extent but I am sure there is a fantastic story there for an investigative journalist looking to make a name for themselves.  It appears that the who’s who of those you seriously don’t want anywhere near your club have emerged around Edgar Street in recent months.  How many of those currently involved would come anywhere near the “fit and proper test” which as far as we are concerned seems obsolete?  And as for blaming the supporters and Bulls News for the problems – who exactly do they think they are dealing with?  

We are not a bunch of country bumpkins who would roll over and just allow our club to be destroyed.  What has been most heartening is how much people care about the club and particularly former players who have joined the Trust and who have turned out for the supporters team.  With communication from within the club being handled so poorly, I worry for those new players who have now joined the club and can only hope and pray they will be treated professionally and with respect and those who are training the team are up to the job.

So for now, what do I do on a Saturday afternoon?  Locally for me there are 3 options – Millwall, Charlton or Welling United.  While I have nothing against the first two, I don’t want to spend a fortune as a neutral going to games so on 9th August, instead of being at Edgar Street, watching us kick off the Conference against Barnet, or even St Neots I’ll be down at Park View Road, watching old boys Chris Bush and Rod McDonald and Sam Smith kick off the season as Welling play AFC Telford.  But I’d much rather be at Edgar Street, I’ve held a season ticket for the last ten years and a way of life has now vanished, hopefully temporarily, but I’m not holding my breath.  Even saying “come on you bulls” sounds hollow now, and that is the saddest thing of all.

Gomez the Mexican Cat


Tuesday Decision On Edgar Street Safety Certificate


The Council have called a meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the safety certificate at Edgar Street.

The club had tweeted this morning that a club statement on the situation was 'imminent' but, after more than two hours, it still had not appeared with Council official Marc Willimont announcing the meeting date.


Redditch Secretary Says HUFC Budget Not Sustainable


Redditch secretary Dave Jones has told the Hereford Times that the club's claimed playing budget is not sustainable.

The club's CVA document claims that the club will spend £13,000 a month on football wages, on gates of 7-900. Jones, whose side attracts an average of 240 visitors per game, told the paper:

"If their budget is that high, then they will run away with the league. I very much doubt that is their budget, but if they have said that, who am I to argue?

"But, unless their home fans flock back, then no way is that sustainable. The average admission price in the league is £10. So, if only 600 people come through the turnstiles, then that is never going to be sustainable.

"That is twice as much as many teams in the league and in the case of Truro, about ten times as much."

Jones also warned that the opening day game was not going to be the walkover some were claiming: "St Neots for example have money and will be a tough game for Hereford in their opening game."

Meanwhile, the club have named another player currently at Edgar Street. On twitter they pictured a player as Paxton Ballard, who appears to be a New York native who spent last season in the US amateur divisions.


Purdie Still Waiting For Money


Rob Purdie, who is taking charge of the Hereford United Supporters Team next Sunday when they play Worcester, is still waiting for some money from his former employers

"I do not know how I am going to go about it because the Southern League have accepted them with no punishment," Purdie told the Hereford Times.

"I know some players have been paid all of their wages, others have been paid some, whereas one player says he hasn't had a penny.

"Some players have also had their £500 bonus for staying up, but some haven't.

"I will try and speak to Andy Lonsdale, along with Luke Graham, and mediate between the players.

"It is a little bit disappointing that not all of the football creditors have been paid and the punishment set out by the Southern League hasn't really been implemented."

Comments About Hereford's Proposed CVA


Bulls News has come into possession of a copy of an email sent to Marc Landsman, the Nominee under the proposed CVA. It makes a number of comments and points out some problems with company administration. After an introduction the email reads :-

My concerns are numerous, and having read what I say you might need to get Counsel's Opinion about how you proceed about the various matters I mention. So what is the basis of my concerns? They relate to the company's Articles of Association and indeed certain provisions of the Companies Act 2006. Incredibly the Articles of Association of the company are exactly how they were formulated back in 1939! They have not been changed since! On 22.07.13 there was an EGM of the company, and there were two resolutions on the agenda which if passed would have led to the existing Articles being struck out and replaced by more modern Articles. But in fact those resolutions on the agenda were not even reached, and thus were not passed. So the 1939 Articles of Association remain in place, unaltered.

You could of course download the incorporation documents from the Companies House website, but to save you the bother and £1 fee for doing that, please see the attached file. I also attach a copy of Table A (1929 version) in view of the company's Articles invoking some provisions of Table A. If you feel the need you can of course verify that both these documents are genuine, by downloading them yourself. As regards the Companies Act 2006, no doubt you have a copy of that.

Firstly I point out section 171, CA2006 :-

171 Duty to act within powers
A director of a company must—

    (a) act in accordance with the company’s constitution, and
    (b) only exercise powers for the purposes for which they are conferred.

-: and in view of what follows I think you will agree that there are a number of problems. Simply the Directors appear to have had no regard for some provisions of the company's Articles of Association.

Prohibition on Directors' Remuneration
I refer you to Articles 27 of the company's Articles of Association. Clearly Directors are not permitted to be paid, either as a Director or as an employee. But your documents, especially the summary of accounts, clearly identify that Directors have been paid. Also Keyte was paid £2500 for remaining as a non-Executive Director for one month. Clearly the Articles of Association prohibit that and the other payments to Directors. They are clearly able to reclaim their expenses, but not be paid remuneration.

Borrowing Limit
I refer you to Articles 29 of the company's Articles of Association. There is clearly a borrowing limit, limited to the amount of share capital unless "there has been sanction of the company in General Meeting". Until the 22.07.13 EGM the share capital was just less than £10000, but clearly the borrowings authorised by the Directors far exceeded that amount.

A higher amount authorised by the shareholders in General Meeting? The company was incorporated in 1939, that is 75 years ago, and a review of all General Meetings would be needed to make sure, but I can say that no one I have spoken to can recollect the Directors ever asking shareholders for a higher borrowing limit. If it is suggested that shareholders have agreed a higher limit, I think the onus is on Directors to prove that to be the case.

Doubt about Validity of Issue of Shares
I shall assume you have a copy of the agenda for the 22.07.13 EGM of the company. If that is not the case, and you would like me to forward a copy to you, please ask for a copy.

Resolution 1 permitted loans to the company to be converted into shares, at the par value of 25p each. Resolution 1 was passed, as indeed was resolution 2. Both 1 & 2 were passed as Ordinary Resolutions.

Resolution 3 was rather different. It was a Special Resolution and if passed it would have allowed the Directors to issue shares on a non-pre-emption basis. But resolution 3 was voted down by shareholders; it was not passed. (And as said above, resolutions 4 & 5 relating to modernising the Articles of Association were not discussed and thus not passed.)

I refer you to Article 16 of the company's Articles of Association, and then to Articles 34 to 38 of Table A (1929 version). Shareholders did agree quite a few years ago to increase the limit on share capital from £1000 to £10000. That is, they used the power in Article 34 of Table A.

I refer you to Article 35 of Table A. That clearly refers to what we would now call pre-emption rights.

Now we need to refer to the Companies Act 2006, in particular section 571. Clearly the drafter of the agenda of the 22.07.13 EGM realised the importance of the need for a Special Resolution. But shareholders did not pass that resolution.

I think it is arguable that in the absence of the needed Special Resolution, the Ordinary Resolution 1, which was passed, is effectively useless, and did not allow loans to be converted into shares, on a non-pre-emption basis.

In any case resolution 1 purported to allow conversion of loans far in excess of the limit on borrowings, and thus are "tainted" in more than one way.

You will appreciate that Keyte converted some loans into shares, and later sold those shares to a company controlled by Agombar, which is why that company has over 55% of the shares at the moment. But as said above in is arguable the shares should not have been issued, on a non-pre-emption basis.

I also refer you to your Nominee's Report file, at 7.4. It appears that ID Sports & Leisure Limited were somehow authorised to sell shares. That arrangement clearly cannot have been correct, if only because such shares were not issued on a pre-emption basis, and no Special Resolution had been passed by shareholders to allow shares to be issued on a non-pre-emption basis.

Doubt about validity of Directors' Appointments
I refer you to Article 25 of the company's Articles of Association. It is clear that a minimum of three Directors are required., and Article 36 says the quorum shall be two. I also refer you to Article 38, then to Article 83 of Table A (1929 version). I also refer you to your Proposal.pdf document, which at page 54 of 55 usefully lists the Directors of company, both now and in the recent past. Simply after David Keyte resigned on 17.06.14, there were no Directors until two Directors suddenly appeared on 26.06.14. Which clearly begs the question, who appointed those two? There cannot have been a resolution of the Directors, under Article 83 of Table A, so that places in doubt the validity of those two appointments.

Following on from those two appointments, two more Directors were appointed. But those must also be suspect, given the problem with the first two.

In the apparent absence of any Directors, after Keyte resigned, I think it is clear that a General Meeting of shareholders was needed to appoint new Directors, but none has been called.

This goes to the heart of the matter, given the Directors have purported to agree to your appointment etc..

Summary
So Mr Landsman, those are my thoughts at this time. There are, in my opinion, a number of issues that you should investigate further. At this time I again mention section 171, CA2006, and suggest there are grounds for believing the Directors, at certain times, have not exercised a Duty of Care.

..............................................

Bulls News is also aware that Mr Landsman acknowledged receipt of that email, and asked for copies of the agendas and papers for the two EGMs held in 2013. Those were duly sent, and he has also acknowledged receipt of those documents.

Developments are expected!

Council Still Waiting For Safety Issues To Be Resolved


Council official Marc Willimont says they are still waiting for some of the documentation to be completed by the club to be able to issue a new safety certificate.


The head of Environmental Health and Planning, Willimont says a meeting is likely next week - days before the first fixture is due to take place - to determine whether games can go ahead.

Advisor Joel Nathan stated last week that they would agree terms on a new safety officer by last Wednesday - but no announcement has followed.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Beast On Trial At Walsall



The 'Beast' Alomg With Michael Townsend Pictured In November 2010
Former Hereford United striker Mathieu Manset, also known as The Beast, is on trial at Walsall.

He is understood to have met manager Dean Smith earlier this week.

This evening he played in a PSF for Walsall against Leicester and scored one goal and set up a second.

Manset is under contract with a Belgian club, Royal Antwerp.

The Beast joined Hereford United in 2009. He moved to Reading in January 2011.
 

Bulls August Calender


Here's a list of what's currently expected to take place in August connected with Hereford United.

August 3rd - HUFC Supporters Team Away against Worcester City Supporters  at Malvern kick-off 2.00pm
August 4th - HUISA AGM Richmond Club 7.30pm
August 5th - Supporters Team Away at Pegasus 7.30pm
August 8th - Fans Forum at The Starlite Rooms 7.00pm
August 9th - 1st team at Home against St Neots 3.00pm
August 12th - 1st team at Home against Slough Town 7.45pm
August 14th - HUFC Creditors Meeting Starlite Rooms 3.30pm
August 14th - Informal Shareholders Meeting Starlite Rooms 7.00pm
August 15th - Formal Shareholders Meeting Starlite Rooms 10.00am
August 16th - 1st team Away at Dorchester 3.00pm
August 19th - 1st team Home against Banbury 7.45pm
August 23rd - Supporters Team Away at Royston 11am
August 24th - Supporters Team Play Hereford Mayor XI at Hinton FC 2.00pm
August 23rd - 1st team Away at Arlesey 3.00pm
August 25th - 1st team Home against Redditch 3.00pm
August 30th - 1st team Home against Burnham 3.00pm

Southern League Refuse To Comment On HUST Call


The Southern League have again refused to comment to BBC Hereford & Worcester, this time over HUST's call for them to get directly involved in sorting out football creditor issues.

Despite accepting the club into the Southern League Premier for the coming season, and lifting the transfer embargo, several former employees say they have still not been paid - some having received nothing at all.

None of the first year scholars at the club last season have been paid, and several other people say they have outstanding sums to be settled. The latest of these is Rod McDonald, who tweeted earlier today that he had not been paid in full.

The PFA are now understood to be involved in the situation after being contacted by players today.


HUISA Chairman Confirms Resignation


This from HUISA:


Club Finally Begins Naming Players


Hereford United have finally started naming some of the players who have appeared in pre-season.

A tweet this morning names Luis Morrison and Sheridon Martinez as two of the squad assembled.

Morrison, a central defender, is listed as the captain. A former Stevenage trainee, he spent time with Finnish second tier side FC Ypa and the Swedish third tier with Umea. He also had a short spell at Farnborough.

Martinez, a goalkeeper, ended last season playing 19 times with Northern Premier League Division One South side Bedworth United as they avoided relegation by a single place. 


Fans Team At Malvern On Sunday


The HUST Fans Team travel to Malvern on Sunday for the second match of their 'alternative fixture list' against a Worcester City XI.

Peter Heritage, Alex Jeannin, Tony James, Steve Guinan, David Titterton, John Snape, Rob Purdie, and Scott Goodwin are all confirmed to be turning out for the Fans Team.
The Worcester side, managed by St Georges Lane legend George Rooney, will include current boss Carl Heeley and his assistant - and ex-Bull - Matt Gardiner along with several other former players and fans.

With the game kicking off at 2pm, doors are open at Noon with plenty of chances for autographs and pictures with the legends. A BBQ and bouncy castle will be there with dry, warm weather expected.

There is no entry fee for the game, with both HUST and their Worcester counterparts having turnstiles with buckets for donations to either, or both, Trusts.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

HUST Call On Southern League To Resolve Payment Issues


This from HUST:

Whilst it is pleasing to finally hear a statement from the Southern League on the position of Hereford United, the statement leaves unanswered questions.

It is clear from social media that not all former club employees have been paid, including a string of 17 year old first year scholars, and that several that have been paid have not received the full amount they are due. For the Southern League to confirm the club's acceptance and the lifting of the embargo when there are still clear issues to be resolved is somewhat baffling. We understand that the people in question have struggled to get an answer from the club regarding their payments, and we urge the Southern League to get directly involved to explain to those people why they have acted before apparently meeting their own terms.

We would like to openly apologise on behalf of genuine supporters of the club to the Southern League and it's officials for any abusive messages that they may have received from Hereford United fans, but we would like to reiterate that the HUST boycott of the club is to proceed in a dignified and peaceful manner and HUST will not condone abuse towards any staff, officials, or fans that choose to attend matches while the boycott continues. We do note, however, the extreme frustration felt by fans who have been kept in the dark for long periods by both the club and the footballing authorities over the last two months.

We have attempted to speak to the Southern League as the largest single body of supporters of the club. Our attempts at communication have disappointingly been ignored. We would welcome direct dialogue with the Southern League to better understand the process that they have undertaken over the past month, and the reasoning behind their actions. We invite the Southern League to contact us at their convenience to arrange a meeting.

Whilst we are pleased to see that payments have been made to a large number of former staff, we do note that the boycott vote included provisions towards paying debts owed to the Council and the ongoing winding-up proceedings. This boycott currently remains in force and, with a CVA proposal seemingly set to include those debts, a cessation of the boycott is only likely to happen if the creditors agree to the terms offered and the court approves the proposal.

With our own AGM date due to coincide with the likely timing of that process, the question of the boycott continuing is likely to feature prominently at our AGM.


Would Gambrill Pass "Fit & Proper" Test?


Hereford United director Philip Gambrill would likely be another to fail the FA's Owners and Directors Test.

The CVA proposed by the club confirms that Gambrill, who was appointed a month ago, is subject to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement - a disqualifying condition under the FA's 'fit & proper' test.

He entered the IVA in July 2010 at Canterbury Crown Court with the CVA document confirming that he would be subject to it's terms until next summer.

The FA's test is a declaration to a series of statements, one of which is:

(viii) I am not subject to a Bankruptcy Order, Interim Bankruptcy Restriction Order, Bankruptcy Restriction Order or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement;

Gambrill is not the first Director to have his suitability under the FA rules questioned. Tommy Agombar stepped down as a Director after his past was revealed to be a disqualifying condition, with the test demanding that no disqualified person can hold over 30% of shares, while his son was also uncovered as having been banned sine die by the Essex County FA for non-payment of fines - another disqualifying condition.

Joel Nathan, who the CVA lists as "Interim Chief Executive Officer" at Edgar Street, is also an undischarged bankrupt.


Fans Forum Announced


Hereford United have announced a Fans Forum on Friday, August 8th - the day before the new season starts.

The club have made no announcement as yet who will be attending the forum. It is scheduled to start at 7pm in the Starlite Rooms.

Meanwhile, both Rhys Evans and Dan Walker have stated they have now received payment from the club. However the first year scholars remain unpaid.


Parrott Seeks Tamworth Away Programmes


Club historian Ron Parrott has also been organising the Programme Subscription Service for close on 30 years now, as a service to Bulls’ fans who cannot make it to matches but still like to have the programmes to read. 

Amidst all the turmoil towards the end of last season, the Club somehow failed to order the programmes from the penultimate away game at Tamworth and as a result, there are many collectors who now have a gap in their collection for last season. 

Ron would therefore like to appeal to any fans who have got a programme from this game and can be persuaded to part with it, to contact him at ron.parrott@tiscali.co.uk or ring him on 01568-797947. 

Ron commented “I hate to let people down and would be happy to pay the cover price for any spare copies”


A New Coach At Edgar Street


In their defence of their weekend tweet that caused a minor storm, the club have announced that they have a new first team coach.

32 year old Irfan Kawri is revealed as a coach at the club. He appears to have been involved since the start of July, but the first mention of his presence appeared yesterday afternoon.

Kawri is reported to have been a scout for Wigan last season, as well as being Head of PE and Sport at an independent Islamic school in Manchester.

He is previously listed as being a casual coach at Macclesfield, and a scout for Notts County, Barnsley, and Rochdale - for whom he was a youth player. He also appeared for the Zambia u20 side.


Keeper Evans Still Waiting For Payment


Former Bulls keeper Rhys Evans says he is still waiting to be paid by the club.


It is also being reported that the CVA proposal does not include any of the first year scholars that were signed to contracts with the club last season. It is understood that they are each owed around £1,000.


Agombar And Associated Creditors


One of the 'facts' coming out of the CVA documentation is that 'Associated Creditors' are owed £468,869.72.

All the entries under the Associated Creditors appear to be either majority shareholder Tommy Agombar and his companies.

The full list is:

Atherlson Limited £79,815.00
Scrooby Ltd £262,570.00
Thomas James Agombar Snr £126,484.72

It appears that having spent this money Agombar stands get it back if the CVA is agreed.

Meanwhile the directors note in the CVA documentaion that an 'allegation has been made that the large share issue made in 2013 was invalid since the correct procedure may not have been followed.'

'If it was not valid, the potential additional debt would be such that a CVA within the rules of the League would be impossible.'

BN also understands that some shareholders are considering whether the articles of association of the club should have been updated before the share issue was passed.


Who Is The Planned Fan Director?


Amongst the CVA documentation is the following:



Prize Bull Draw 10


This from HUST:

Prize Bull draw No.10 took place on Monday night.

The winning numbers are 2, 5, 21, and 24.

Should you have the winning combination, please contact liaison@hufctrust.co.uk to claim the jackpot.


Monday, July 28, 2014

A Few 'Facts' From The CVA Documention


Some of the documentation connected with Hereford United's proposed CVA was released today. Here's a brief look.

The proposal contains over 50 pages worth of facts, figures and explanation.

In essence the reasons for the proposal is that 'it aims to preserve the business of the Company and provides for full repayment of all creditors'.

The current majority shareholder is Scrooby Ltd which is owned by Thomas Agombar Snr. Agombar is said to have wanted to be a 'Football Director like several of his friends'. 

Agombar said he knew nothing about development potential at Edgar Street until he 'overheard' a telephone call during negotiations to buy the shares.

A meeting was arranged with the 'main fan reprersentaives, but the directors did not attend because they were told the fans would not be there'.

A cash flow projection has been prepared. The main assumptions are:

200 season tickets will be sold 

500 to 600 other tickets will be sold on match days

Several large companies are interested in sponsorships. 'The amounts being discussed are in excess of £250,000'

Profits appear low at the 'several bars and meeting areas'

Website should be drawing more advertising income

The proposal confirms £20K has been lodged with the Southern League

There follows a section about the Football Creditors. They total £126K and have 'already been made' or 'are due to be made' by Mr Agombar.

In the non-preferential creditors section there is confirmation that Scrooby Ltd, another of Agombar's companies took on' the amount due to Mr Keyte.' This is stated to be £262,570.

Other loans include one from Jabac Finance Ltd of £75,000

As regards how the creditors will be paid it appears the first payment, of £86,545, will go to the Nominee and Supervisor's fees on September 14th. In essence it is said this is because of Southern League Rules which state the the first payment has to be made within 28 days of the approval of the CVA. However this money will need to be found by Agombar who will then claim it back as a creditor.

The toal amount to be paid back assuming the CVA goes ahead is stated as £931,305. However this figure is not definite as claims are still being examined.

To July 25th, Agombar's Athelston Ltd has paid out £79,815 including £2500 to David Keyte for staying on as a non excutive director for one month.

There are about 100 creditors and 715 shareholders.

The estimated deficiency is £1,412,369.

The amount of share capital is £473,008.

An estimated cashflow projection for the coming season suggests income of £1,033,900.

Season tickets £29,000
Turnstile Sales £158,000
Sponsorship £250,000
Programme Advertising £23,000
Programme Sales £23,700
Suite Revenue £492,000
Corporate Hospitality £38,200
Return Of League Deposit £20,000

Expenditure:

Wages £129,000
Office Wages £86,400
PAYE/NI £53,850
Grounds Maintenance £18,000
Travel To Away Games £9,200
Medical Equipment £1,800
Stewards £1150
Club Secretary £23,400
Rent and Rates £49,992
Electric/Gas/Water £34,200
Bar Costs £319,800
Telephone £4,200
Programme Costs: 16,590
VAT Payable £56,410

Net Profit To CVA equals £216,000



CVA Documents Available To Read


The Insolvency Practitioner, Marc Landsman, has released several documents about the proposed CVA for Hereford United.

These are available to read at www.hufc-cva.co.uk,

The IP has also released some information about forthcoming meetings.

All meetings in insolvencies must be held between 10.00am and 4.00pm.  The meeting of creditors is at 3.30pm on Thursday 14 August at the club, the meeting of shareholders is at 10.00am the next morning also at the club.  Obviously a day time meeting is likely to be difficult for the shareholders (many of whom are fans) to attend, so a meeting is also going to take place at 7.00pm on Thursday 14 August so that Shareholders can ask questions and submit proxies to be used at the formal meeting the next morning.

BE PATIENT, DO NOT BACK DOWN AND KEEP THE FAITH


Stig gives his opinion on the situation at Hereford United

We all knew that Mr Agombar and his associates were going to dodge another bullet today by getting a further adjournment so lets not stress too much about that.

Those of us bright enough to see these people have no interest in football in Hereford whatsoever (the majority I'm sure) need to hold firm and do as much as we can to explain the situation in full to every Hereford United fan we meet in the next two weeks who is considering to going to any home game. Ignore the wind up merchants on message boards - they are not worth wasting time with - and do not abuse those people who cannot see what is going on and still think football matters.

However, do take every opportunity to explain to fellow fans who do not use the internet why it is so important not to hand over any hard earned cash to the new 'asset stripping' regime. Once the full situation is explained, most people do get it and will do the right thing.

Whatever game Mr Agombar is playing, this charade is going to start costing him serious amounts of money if he's hoping to run a 'ghost' team on very little gate money and no sponsorship. If the team starts playing (and that's a big if), think of all the costs that are racked up and, even if he gets the 'fake' CVA sorted, how is he going to keep up the payments (£400k plus per year for 3 years) as well as fund any football (a full time team apparently!) even as a token gesture?

The new regime clearly do not want to spend any cash - or probably don't have as much as they initially claimed - so every day they are forced to stay here without making any progress towards development and getting the leases will harm them.

If we love what used to be our club, we must starve these men out financially and do all we can to ensure pressure is maintained on the council, HMRC and the football community (apart from the Southern League as they have no credibility at all). Now we have no chance of getting a new club playing competitive games in 2014/15, I am willing to be more patient in terms of getting rid of Mr Agombar even if it takes several months as it did with Stephen Vaughan at Chester.

I have no right to do this but please, please, please can I ask that true fans do not break this boycott, whether Mr Agomabr eventually pays all the football creditors or not. His game is to do the bare minimum required to get his grubby hands on Edgar Street to do what he wants with it so we must not allow that to happen. The weeks of lies, lies and more lies and treating fans and former staff with utter contempt and disdain means he should never get a second chance. I'm sorry but some people do not deserve one.

Even now his 'voluntary' helpers Mr Nathan and Mr Lonsdale are choosing to slag off loyal supporters of our wonderful club - who have understandable, genuine concerns about the future - rather than give any honest, realistic, sensible information out about their plans. Do they really think supporters believe a word of what comes out of their mouths and are hanging on their every utterance on the Hereford Times website?

Keep the faith everyone, do not back down and above all remember that you'll be doing this for yourself and fellow fans - present and future. Turn up to as many Supporters' Team games as possible to also demonstrate the strength of feeling. Not only are large numbers at the games a very obvious protest against TA and a strong, visible message to Herefordshire Council, but from a personal point of view it will give you a lift to be around people who care so much and you'll actually enjoy a few hours with like minded people. I loved the Ledbury game, it reminded of everything that used to be great about our club.

I've explained to my 7-year-old son in very basic terms why we do not have a team to support this year and even at that age he knows the difference between right and wrong. And, without even querying it, he knows these 'nasty men' (as I had to describe them) are wrong, that the majority of our fans are right and that we cannot go to Edgar Street until they've left.

The battle with these serials liars and scammers will be won, it may take a while but that will only make it even sweeter.

SL Chairman Rejects Interview Request


Southern League Chairman Ken Turner has rejected an invite to speak to BBC Hereford & Worcester after today's league statement.

The station has given the club extensive coverage today, with their Breakfast, Morning, and Drivetime shows featuring the ongoing saga heavily.

BBC H&W asked Turner to comment on social media reports that some players remained unpaid, but he declined to be interviewed or give comment.


Winding Up Petition Adjourned Again


The winding up petition against Hereford United has been adjourned again.

The matter has been adjourned for five weeks until September 1st. A creditors meeting, to discuss the club's impending CVA proposal, is reported to have been set for Friday, August 15th.

UPDATE 1.30pm

Creditors and others have been e-mailed details of CVA proposal.


Football Creditors Still Awaiting Payments


Despite the Southern League chairman claiming that payments are only outstanding to a handful of creditors that are yet to confirm their details, a number of other footballing debts remain outstanding.

While former media man Jamie Griffiths confirmed he received funds this morning, having originally been told by SL Secretary Jason Mills they were sent to the wrong account, several other people say they are still awaiting payment.

Chris Sharp has tweeted to say he is yet to be paid, along with Dan Walker, Rhys Evans, and former youth teamer Aidan O'Kelly, while around half of those confirmed by Bulls News to have received payments say they are still owed further sums. Reacting to the news that the club had been accepted into the Southern League, Walker tweeted:


Sharp has added that he has been told he will be paid today.


Southern League Accepts Club, Lifts Embargo


This from the Southern League chairman Ken Turner:

"Hereford United Football Club has transferred appropriate funds to all known Football Creditors apart from a few who have not, as yet, notified officials of their required details. However, the amount covering these outstanding payments has been deposited in the account of a third party.

"Consequently, subject to receiving confirmation of receipt of all the amounts transferred and also subject to any actions taken by other authorities outside the control of the League, Hereford United (1939) Ltd will remain in membership of the Southern League and the registrations embargo placed on the club on June 30 will be lifted.

"While fully appreciating the feelings of the club’s supporters, I have been extremely disappointed at the content of some of the emails which have been, to say the least, not only ill informed but abusive with a number bordering on libellous.

"Despite opinions to the contrary, the League has held the upper hand throughout and, operating within the rules of the competition, has been fully in control of the situation which has seen it achieve one of its main objectives to ensure that those football creditors owed money by the previous regime at the club received what was due to them.

"Expulsion of the club at any time during the process would have undoubtedly led to its liquidation and, with it, any chance of these debts ever being settled.

"That said, the same supporters who criticised the non-payment of creditors seemed quite comfortable with the prospect of rekindling a debt-free club from the embers without giving a second thought to the same creditors who would have remained unpaid.

"I would like to express the thanks of the board to league secretary, Jason Mills, who, together with officials of the club, worked tirelessly to achieve a satisfactory outcome to a situation which was not of any of their making."


Hereford United In The High Court This Morning


Hereford United are due in the High Court this morning and its expected that the winding up order brought by former manager, Martin Foyle, will once again be adjourned.

The Judge is expected to look at the details for the proposed CVA.

Meanwhile club advisor Andy Lonsdale has told the Hereford Times that he will not benefit from any development at Edgar Street.

"No I won’t benefit from any development," he said.

"The leases are in the football club’s name – I am not a shareholder or a director of the club."


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

HEREFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING - MONDAY 12th JANUARY 1998

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
THE SHAREHOLDERS MEETING - SUNDAY 18th JANUARY 1998

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.