Notts County, the world’s oldest football club, have been issued with a winding-up petition from HMRC. The Magpies are currently bottom of League Two. At present, the club are in grave danger of going out of the Football League for the first time. However, a greater danger looms.
World’s Oldest Club Issued Winding Up Petition
County were put up for sale by club owner Alan Hardy in January. His company, Paragon Interiors, went into administration on Wednesday. The club issued the following statement yesterday morning: “Notts County have received assurances from Paragon Interiors’ administrators that they are supportive of Owner and Chairman Alan Hardy’s attempts to sell the club. Paragon went into administration yesterday and representatives from Leonard Curtis have since been in close consultation with Mr Hardy.”
Payment was due to the HMRC several weeks ago but due to their financial difficulties, County were unable to pay.
The statement continued: “The club offered a payment plan starting on 21 February to clear the debt in full over a four-week period. However, HMRC have taken what Notts County consider to be an extremely aggressive approach, which has seen HMRC issue a winding up petition against the club. As a result, this winding up petition has now been listed.”
Court Date Set
The amount owed by County is said to be £200,000. A court date has been set for April 10th, but the Magpies have assured supporters that the matter will be dealt with in good time.
Fears Appeased Slightly
When administrators were called in to County’s owner Alan Hardy’s other business, fears were heightened. There was a risk that a loan given to Notts from Paragon could be recalled. The loan is believed to have allowed Mr Hardy to buy and fund the club. The amount of the loan is reported to be £6.5 million.
Should this have been recalled by the administrators of Paragon, County would have gone into administration themselves. It would also have brought a ten-point penalty to their current points total this season. This penalty would have almost certainly have seen the club relegated at the end of the season.
At present, administration and a points penalty are not on the cards.
Not the First Time
This is not the first time County have been issued with a winding-up petition. In May 2016 a petition was issued; however, this was dismissed later in that month. Several years previously to this, it was reported that a six-figure sum was paid to avoid a winding-up order. Will this be third time unlucky?
Oldest Club in the World
Founded in 1862, Notts County are the oldest professional club in the world. They are also one of the founding members of the Football League. They have played in every division of the Football League and hold the record of moving between the divisions on the most occasions.
Should the club to go out of business, it would be a sad day, not just for fans of the club but for football fans in general.