Non League Daily

Sean Caulfield Speaks To Football Finance Expert About Bulls Crisis

Leading football finance expert Martin Dunham has warned crisis club Hereford United that it is vital they secure a steady long term investment if the club is to stand any chance of staying in business, writes's journalist Sean Caulfield.


Just a fortnight ago, their major shareholder Tommy Agombar was banned from any involvement with the club and ordered to sell all of his stake in the side, after failing football's fit and proper owners test.

Hereford have been plagued by money problems over the past year, resulting in the side being relegated to Southern League Premier after failing to pay debts and have been ordered to raise £170,000 that they owe by September 1st 2014, otherwise the club will go out of business.

Dunham stated: "The situation at Hereford needs to address the issue of solving the ongoing cash requirement of the club, if the club raises just the money they owe already then it's only a quick fix solution. The problem will keep coming back weeks down the line until eventually it becomes catastrophic and we lose Hereford United from existence.

"Long term steady investment is vital to manage the day to day costs and stop more debts from mounting up."

The financial expert is vastly experienced in the area of money problems at football clubs, having been part of the team of administrators that stepped in to successfully take football league clubs Bury and Barnsley through their financial difficulties in recent years.

The Southern League Premier Division outfit's problems came from former chairman David Keyte's time in charge at the club. Ketye admitted overspending on the playing staff beyond the clubs resources in a bid to take the side back to the Football League following relegation in 2012.

According to expert Dunham these kinds of money issues are a common occurrence especially in lower league football.

He added: "Hereford are not the first club to suffer for these reasons and they definitely won't be the last, just look at teams in recent years like Darlington, Kidderminster Harriers and Chester City."

"Teams fall into financial difficulty trying to keep the fans happy, The club aims to buy the best players and want to compete at the highest level but they take risks, pushing the financial stability to the edge and it can quite often backfire".

Hereford United's fans have spent months campaigning to help the team raise the necessary finance and will no doubt be working right through to that September 1st deadline.

Dunham also believes the fans can play the biggest role in saving Hereford United Football Club. He added: "When I was working with Bury we went in and told the fans what we planned to do, they were our main weapon. The solution always comes from the fans, they are such a powerful force"

"If you can get the fans behind your aim and give them a job to do then they will do all they can to help achieve your goal especially if it benefits their team. Their only interest is supporting the team they love and want to see success."

It remains to be seen whether we will be losing another football club due to financial issues but it is clear to all that Hereford face a brutally long hard battle to attempt to return to their former Football League stature.

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