Hardy to plead to High Court over future of Notts County Ladies
Alan Hardy, the new owner of Notts County Football Club, has said he will plead in person to a High Court judge today (February 6) over the future of the Magpies’ ladies team.
Notts County Ladies face being dissolved today when their case is heard in the High Court. A document filed on December 13, 2016 on Companies House said that Notts County Ladies Limited will be dissolved two months from 13 December over an unpaid HMRC bill.
However, a separate document filed on January 17th said that Notts County Ladies could be saved. It reads: “Cause has been shown why Notts County Ladies Limited should not be struck off the register and accordingly the Registrar is taking no further action under section 1000 of the Companies Act 2006 pursuant to the Notice dated 16/01/2017”. This was just days after Notts County changed hands after it was sold by Ray Trew to Hardy.
“As it stands, this is an atrocious deal for the UK taxpayer,” said Hardy.
“I understand that the debts need to be paid better than anyone – I’ve just spent three weeks of 18 hours days turning around the world’s oldest football league club in Notts County FC, including paying all debts to HMRC. That has come at huge expense both personally and financially but it was the right thing to do for the club, the fans and HMRC.
“All I ask now is that we are given time to do the same with the ladies team. I can understand the frustration they have had with the previous owners but there is a genuine wish for us to do the right thing for the ladies club, its employees and the club’s creditors – including HMRC.
“Since acquiring Notts County FC I have never hidden from the huge challenges we faced on and off the pitch and I have demonstrated my willingness to pay down creditors in full and in good faith by paying the NCFC men’s debt to HMRC in full just last week. Now I have has now turned my attention to NCLFC and instructed advisers to seek to work with the Women’s Superleague to understand what can be done here under the League’s Rules.
“Those Rules ensure all creditors would need to be paid in full if a solution can be found over the coming weeks and therefore it would seem to be in the interest of all creditors, including HMRC, to allow us to at least explore an alternative under those league rules.
“NCLFC has no assets so a liquidation will simply mean no creditors are paid and our employees lose their jobs, not to mention the loss of one of the UK’s premier ladies league teams for the community. That’s not a good deal for anyone, especially the UK taxpayer who I am sure is as tired of seeing HMRC act leniently towards multi-national corporations whilst killing small UK businesses as I am.
“We are only requesting a short period to assist us to assist the creditors themselves on their own positions here to complete a successful turnaround, akin to NCFC – where we achieved a full payment of the HMRC debt in good faith in a very short period.
“If our sensible approach is to fall on deaf ears at the high court I will look forward to seeing HMRC pursue the global conglomerates with the same rigor and intensity as they have done this small business that is playing a key role in developing the women’s game in this country and trying its best to be a responsible corporate citizen.”
Notts County Ladies, who play their home matches at the club’s Meadow Lane ground, were formed in 2013 when Lincoln Ladies relocated to Nottingham.
They finished sixth in the nine-team WSL1 last season and were Women’s FA Cup runners-up in 2015.