Supporters remain positive as court date set over Pools’ unpaid tax bill

Hartlepool United fans
Hartlepool United fans

Pools supporters are remaining positive for the future of the club after a court date was set to determine when tax officials will ask for it to be wound up.

HMRC issued a winding up petition for Hartlepool United Football Club over an unpaid tax bill, understood to be for £48,000, on February 1.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park

A hearing at the Companies Court to consider the petition has been listed for Wednesday, March 21.

It is understood the club are yet to receive papers.

If the petition is successful, the court will issue a winding up order and put an official receiver in charge of liquidation.

The Hartlepool United Supporters Trust, which is raising money which could be used to buy a stake in the club, hopes a new owner will be in place, or the bill paid, before the court date.

The companies court is a specialist court within the Business and Property Courts of the High Court of Justice.

Outlining the procedure if the petition is successful, a government website stated: “They’ll start the process of turning the company’s assets into money that can be used to pay the company’s debts. Other creditors can register to claim the money they’re owed.”

Ron Harnish, chairman of the supporters trust, said: “They do have the chance to settle it [before March 21].

“We’re seriously hoping new owners will be well embedded by then. The main thing for us is everyone is paid so the match can go ahead a week on Saturday.”

Administration has been an ongoing threat since the club was put up for sale in December.

The position became even more serious last month when it was reported the club had around two weeks to find £200,000 to pay outstanding bills as well as players’ and staff wages.

Fans and the wider football community offered their support, raising money and making the last home game a sell-out to boost income for the club. An online fundraising page started by one fan has raised almost £85,000 and will close in the next few days.

A separate bank account has been set up for the cash to be sent to, under HUFC’s name, by an independent solicitor, tasked with dealing with the situation.

On the pitch, administration would mean a 10-point deduction, putting Pools at greater risk of relegation for a second season.

Pools faced three winding-up petitions, also by HMRC, under JPNG’s ownership which were all averted after being settled before being heard in court.