Friday, June 27, 2014

Jesse Norman MP And The Situation At Hereford United

BN caught up with Hereford MP Jesse Norman earlier this evening just before the news of a likely CVA for Hereford United.

Firstly BN asked whether the MP had received a reply to his letter sent to HMRC. (

"I not sure I would expect one but if I do I'll see if I can make it public."

BN - Should Herefordshire Council be making more effort to get payment of the £65K the club owes?

"I certainly think they should be pressing for the money because that is council tax payers money and if you look at the situation with grass cutting etc that's money that could be put to good use elsewhere in the country.

"We've seen promises to pay creditors before from Mr Agombar so it's not clear that has any real credibility.

"Instead of persuing him directly, they could attach that debt to some of the proceedings that are already going to be in front of the court next week."

BN - Do you believe the Council have the leases for the ground tightly drawn?

"I haven't read the leases but my impression is the Council has done an initial legal review of the leases and therefore has at least a preliminary understanding of its powers under the leases.  

"What the leases say is very important and also what could be plausibly asserted in a court of law to defend them."

BN - If the club goes into administration and/or liquidation do the leases return to the Council or is that only in liquidation?

"I don't know and that's a very important question. If the club goes into liquidation then one would expect the leases to revert to the Council.

"Administration is a work in progress in which a company tries to reach an accommodation with its creditors. I would be surprised if the leases change at that point. It all depends what is written in the contract. 

"Administration is important for other reasons as it does potentially allow a more formal process by which other bidders, parties of interest, can seek to look at the basis of changing ownership"

BN - Could that involve a CVA?

"I think it could involve a CVA."

BN then asked about the current directors of Hereford United. For a spell this week it was thought there were no directors then a couple appeared out of the woodwork.

"My team noticed the club had two new directors having not had any - it's not absolutely clear that there was a point when they didn't have any. We need to clarify that with Companies House.

"What is clear is that Mr Agombar took himself off the directors register for the process of acceptance into the Southern League and has now put himself back on.

"That itself is not a great cause for hope."

BN - Is it legal that maternity pay wasn't passed on to Leigh Renton, an employee of the club? (

"It's absolutely terrible and the idea that she would now become, or be treated as, one of the unsecured creditors of the club and therefore potentially may not receive that amount, or not the full amount, is a cause of enomous embarrassment to the club and to the owners.

"The whole situation is a desperate one and she seems to have been one of the biggest victims."

BN - With the threat of administration or liquidation what is worrying supporters is whether Tommy Agombar and Co could 'buy' the club from the administrators and buy it without so much debt in it.

"It's a fair concern.

"If anyone has got the best interests of the club and football in Herefordshire at heart there is a phenomenon called a 'pre-pack' whereby a club goes into administration and use that process to pay their creditors at very low levels or not at all.

"And then the assets of the club are bought out of adminstation by a bidder and if that's in a 'pre-pack' that may be bidder who was responsible in the first place and the effect of that is they end up with pretty much what they had before but without the having to pay the debt on it.

"That's a huge worry and I share that worry and I'm sure every other fan of Hereford United does as well.

"I'm not a legal expert but administration is a semi-formal process, there are rules associated with it and presumably it would be possible for other interested parties to come to the administrators and say look you could get a better deal for your creditors if you accepted our offer rather than let the club run as it presently is funded by the owners in the way they are funding it.

"I think the Supporters Trust backed by Jon Hale's business group could come in, may be other interested parties as well at that point.

"The key thing at this point is to make sure there is no 'pre-pack', that there is enough time for everyone to put alternative bids together if they can, those bids are as strong as they possibly can be, as long term, as well funded, as well supported as they possibly can be and the group (HUST and Hale) would be a very serious potential bidder."

BN - Do you think it is right that former director Nick Nenadich, who sold his shareholding (along with that of David Keyte) to Tommy Agombar and caused no end of problems for yourself, Hereford Council and Hereford United supporters should continue as a Hereford Tory Councillor.

"It hasn't caused me any political concern at all because I think people understand the Council is different to the MP.

"Anyone can make a mistake which I think Nick has acknowledged regardless of their political affiliations.

"I think there is an election next year and I think it's up to Nick to take a long view of the situation. He's been a very good councillor in many respects.

"It's a decision for him."