King's Lynn boss left fearing the worst
Paddy Davitt King's Lynn's former finance director David Handley admitted last night he would consider bailing out the cash-strapped Unibond Premier Division club - but only if the current board step down.
King's Lynn's former finance director David Handley admitted last night he would consider bailing out the cash-strapped Unibond Premier Division club - but only if the current board step down.
Lynn officials were locked in crisis talks yesterday in a bid to pay the �65,000 tax debt - but the EDP understands the club is now considering going into administration ahead of tomorrow's High Court day of destiny.
The 130-year-old Norfolk institution would still have to convince Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to adopt a company voluntary arrangement with the club's lengthy list of creditors or face the prospect of being wound up.
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Handley made his offer after hitting back at claims he had not pumped �23,000 into the ailing club before his sudden exit at the weekend in a public spat over the unpaid tax bill.
“I have a banker's draft and receipts that prove I have put �23,000 into the club,” said Handley. “I've sent back the accounts to the club but I'm not daft enough to have failed to keep receipts. I don't want a penny of that, either, and I didn't even want any shares in the football club.
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“I had other potential investors in the pipeline but they would not work with that board anymore than I could. I would consider coming back in the future because it is a great club but not with the current board. Three days after I joined I had to go down to the High Court on my own and get us an extension to the tax deadline.
“I was presented with unpaid invoices when I arrived and so the money I put in went to paying some of the most pressing bills. We had unpaid ex-players who were threatening legal action so we had to sort that out. I wish them all the best in trying to find the money but as I said at the weekend I'm not prepared to be made a scapegoat.”
Lynn player / manager Carl Heggs admits he could be forced to walk away if the remaining three directors fail to meet tomorrow's tax deadline.
Heggs has transformed the club's playing fortunes but insists it would be difficult to continue his rebuilding job with Lynn facing a possible league points deduction or even the prospect of re-forming much lower down the pyramid.
“No one will be sadder than me if the worst comes to the worst,” he said. “This is my baby. I've built it up from nothing - from scratch. I love the job and I love this club.
“Even though I've only been here a relatively short period of time it feels like home. If we were forced to get rid of players it would be very difficult for me as a manager to go from week to week losing games. I don't want to be in the same scenario as Durham and those other teams just fulfilling our fixtures. That would be heart-breaking after all the hard work both myself and the squad has put in. I have to think about me and my career and my family. Football is my livelihood and I have to earn a living at it to support my family.”
Heggs has tried to insulate his promotion-chasing squad from the on going financial turmoil which erupted again on the eve of the weekend FA Trophy win against Salford with Handley's acrimonious exit.
“I haven't spoken to them about it so it's not a case of keeping the speculation away from the players,” said Heggs. “I've maintained all along that is nothing to do with me.
“The way I see is it's for other people at the football club to sort out. I do feel a deep responsibility to these players, though, because I got them here with the promise I would try to help them back up the pyramid. For this to happen really doesn't bear thinking about.”
Heggs acknowledged tonight's Unibond League Challenge Cup third round home tie against Retford is a long way down his list of priorities.
“That is no disrespect to the competition,” he said. “It's not even anything to do with the financial situation but I haven't got a squad of 20 players like previous managers. We had two reserve lads on the bench at the weekend and I had to throw myself on. Ideally I'd like to play a mixture of first team players and the reserves.”
Heggs is poised to welcome back Mansfield loan recruit Jason Bradley for the visit of Guiseley with the big targetman nearing full fitness after damaging ankle ligaments on his Linnets' loan debut earlier in the season.
Bradley, however, is unlikely to be eligible for the club's FA Trophy first round trip to Conference North strugglers Vauxhall Motors on December 12.
“It's not a great draw and that is no disrespect to them,” said Heggs. “On the positive side it is a winnable game. I think we can rightfully go there and expect to be favourites so we have every chance of getting through to the next round and landing a big fish.
“Without a shadow of doubt my squad as it is now is able to hold its own in the league above. I'm not saying we would win it but I know we'd be competitive which is why we can go a little further in this competition.”
Club officials have reduced admission prices for tonight's Unibond League Cup tie against Retford at The Walks. (7.45pm)
Extra time and penalties will be played if required. Adults: �5, concessions �2 and �1 children (aged 15 and under).
Goal alerts, any major incidents and reports on the half and full time whistles will be available this evening on edp24.co.uk/sport