King's Lynn paying price for high-profile signings
Paddy Davitt King's Lynn's new financial director David Handley yesterday ruled out attracting fresh investment to clear the club's �65,000 tax bill. Handley admits the onus is on the club's existing board to generate the revenue to stave off a High Court winding-up order.
King's Lynn's new financial director David Handley yesterday ruled out attracting fresh investment to clear the club's �65,000 tax bill.
Handley admits the onus is on the club's existing board to generate the revenue to stave off a High Court winding-up order. Lynn have until November 25 to secure the necessary funds after Handley won the Unibond Premier Division club a stay of execution last week in London.
“I don't think we can expect to get any outside investment within that sort of timeframe,” he said. “Added to that we haven't got many home games within this period either so I guess the burden will fall on me and the other directors. I've already put some money in initially to get a place on the board and I managed to get us an adjournment result in the High Court, and let me tell you that was by no means a guaranteed outcome. This situation is solely down to unpaid tax on high wage-earning players but I'm pretty confident we can clear the debt and stabilise the club so it can move forward.”
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Handley is under no illusions the club is now paying a heavy price for attracting a series of high-profile signings to The Walks in recent seasons.
“It's fair to say the finances are in a state,” he said. “You have to be honest and say that came from paying big wages for players who didn't really do it in terms of getting them to where they wanted to be. King's Lynn will not pay big money for players anymore. We won't be going out and breaking the bank because you only have to do that five or six times and you end up in a mess.
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“We're not talking millions and millions of pounds here or anything remotely like that but the club must be run properly as a business and that has not happened in the past. My remit involves looking at everything to do with the finances and that includes the commercial side and how we generate revenue because it's an area that obviously has been neglected.”
Handley insists he is not afraid of the challenge ahead at Norfolk's premier non league club.
“This is my first job in football but I have plenty of experience in finance,” said the chartered accountant. “Football is something I love and this is something I can enjoy. I'll leave the football to the manager and do what I do best. I did know of Carl (Heggs) beforehand, but I actually decided to get involved because I went along to watch a few games and I can see the potential. The fact is our location is a plus and a minus. It means there isn't any other clubs around us because I don't think we can realistically compete with Norwich City any time soon - so that is a plus.
“The minus is attracting players to come here - which is why the manager has gone out and got hungry, young lads and the results are still good. It might not happen for us this season on the pitch, but if it doesn't we can keep this squad together and have a real good crack in the future.”
Handley has also done his homework on the Linnets.
“I've been into the archives of King's Lynn and seen they have had 6,000 crowds at games,” he said. “Look back to Oldham and if we can keep winning why can't we attract fans from not just King's Lynn but the wider area? The potential is there. If we can sort out the situation in the short term then there is no need for the club to be in debt. What we get in terms of gate revenue and commercial income should cover the playing budget. If we move up a league or so you don't throw thousands at players - you spend what you can afford and cut your cloth. I know if we can get to a level where we are playing the decent sides we can attract big crowds to come and watch us.”
t Read Mark Hearle's latest exclusive club column today on edp24.co.uk/sport