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Non League Billingham vow to fight on

Tue 21st Dec 2010 | Football Club Administration

Officials at a STL Northern League club Billingham Town have vowed to “fight for their lives” to save it from a winding-up petition.

Billingham is in a legal battle with Hartlepool United over an alleged £10,443.97 debt.

The npower League One outfit uses Billingham`s ground for some reserve games and issued the writ saying it was owed money for maintenance and repairs it carried out.

But Billingham say the agreement was made by a former regime and maintains there is no money to pay.

Officials at the Northern League side want the case concluded at Middlesbrough County Court on Thursday, but say Hartlepool United wants an adjournment for further negotiations to take place.

In a statement, Billingham Town said progress has not been made because Pools cancelled one meeting at short notice and their own director, Tommy Donnelly, had been unavailable because of illness.

Hartlepool United have asked for negotiations to take place without legal representatives, but Billingham Town refused.

A Billingham Town spokesman said: “These legal proceedings have been dragging on now for more than nine months. The cost to Billingham Football Club Ltd has been substantial.

“Sponsors are reluctant to put money into the club until this has been resolved.”

He continued: “The time has now arrived for Hartlepool United to either go ahead with their winding-up petition, prove their case and put this club out of business, or withdraw it and ensure that Billingham Town Football Club Ltd does not go out of business two days before Christmas.”

He added: “We will be at court on Thursday to fight for the life of this club.”

At the last court hearing in October, District Judge Stephen Traynor hoped the two clubs could reach an amicable agreement without having to rely on his judgement.

A statement issued by Hartlepool United yesterday said that the club believes the best option is to settle the matter out of court and that it does not wish Billingham Town to go out of business.

It said: “Hartlepool United still believes that a postponement of the court case is in everyone’s best interests and will, if necessary, make a sole application to the courts for a postponement, which the club believes will help secure the future of Billingham Town.”

(www.nonleaguedaily.com)

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