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Ilkeston Town today lost their battle with HMRC over its tax debts

Wed 8th Sep 2010 | Football Club Administration

Ilkeston Town FC, the Conference North side who owe nearly £50,000 in unpaid tax were given six weeks breathing space in July by the High Court to find the money owed to HMRC after its initial order to wind up the club.

But today, despite a request for further breathing space the club was wound up. Mrs Registrar Derrett apologised, but refused to allow further time despite being told that the club was selling one of its players for £20,000 and was offering to pay off the bill at £1,000 a month.

This was the third time the case had been back to court. Prior to the July grant of extra time to try and meet its debts it had also been given a month's breathing space at an earlier hearing.

Now the affairs will be handed over to an Official Receiver whose job will be to do its best to ensure that debts are paid off by selling any assets available and then bringing business to a close.

The news came after chairman Gary Hodder had put the club up for sale earlier in the week and opened talks with businessmen keen to stage a rescue.

The legal action arose from £47,000 unpaid tax from two years ago, when the club was owned by the family of Nottingham builder Chek Whyte.

Mr Hodder, who took over Ilkeston in March, said talks were underway with two possible buyers.He said he had always been convinced the club would not go into administration, a move which would lead to the docking of ten points under FA rules.

Before the court hearing, he said: "We will go with complete optimism. There is no advice being given which is contrary to that belief.

"The club is up for sale and I have been speaking to two investors. They are potential purchasers of the club."

Officials had been hoping the case would be adjourned for the third time so talks could continue to protect the club's position in the division.

Manager Kevin Wilson said the players' budget is £3,000, one of the lowest in the division. He also said the club had lost £2 million in a decade.

"There will be a challenge at this football club but we will meet that challenge. With my staff, I am looking forward," said Wilson, who is working under an FA embargo which allows him to have only 16 players.

Club officials spoke to Dennis Strudwick, general manager of the Football Conference, who attended Saturday's match with Eastwood.

He said later: "We endeavour to assist any club but it is not just football, the economic climate is difficult for anyone. We all love football and we have got to get through it.

"It is very hard and a lot of clubs are feeling a revenue debt. Clubs are having trouble in paying their bills.

"But we feel it is right for clubs to pay their bills. Insolvency procedures are stronger in the Conference than in the Football League and we feel they should pay their bills.

"A solicitor at another club recently told me 'you are disadvantaging our club with your embargo.' But my answer was 'you are disadvantaging other clubs because they are trying to pay their bills,'" said Mr Strudwick.

(source: www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk  )



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