We are all frustrated that the National League has placed us under embargo, it feels like we have taken two steps forward and several steps back.
I hope this note provides clarity around the position with HMRC and the Club’s commitment to support Kevin in recruiting players to strengthen the squad.
The National League gave us no pre-warning about the embargo. Negotiations were/are ongoing with HMRC regarding a Time To Pay agreement in respect of historic debt that accrued as a result of lockdown (where our costs remained relatively constant yet our income was much reduced). The embargo came out of the blue – given that negotiations with HMRC were/are ongoing.
We are in a unique situation, no other Club has had back to back relegations, coupled with 18 months or so of reduced income. Although we are maximising opportunities to improve the trading position, the reality is we are in a deteriorating income position. The main cause of that is the loss of £480k of Premier League Solidarity payments (having dropped out of the EFL) and the fact that ticket prices have had to be reduced to reflect our league status. Negotiations have had to take these facts into account.
During the pandemic, we did not take loans from the Premier League or anyone else, we were provided with financial support by Ron and his group of companies. Whilst we are at Roots Hall we will remain reliant on Ron and group companies and that support is also required to enable payments to be made to HMRC under the Time To Pay agreement that we are negotiating.
I understand supporters’ frustrations regarding the embargo, having laid the foundations for success by recruiting three outstanding coaches who, with the support of John and Stan form an exceptional backroom team, momentum has been curtailed.
Kevin and his staff have been working hard to identify players who can strengthen the squad, they have been up and down the country looking at players and a list of targets is being produced. That process is running in parallel with negotiations with HMRC. We are hoping that negotiations with HMRC will be concluded in a matter of days rather than several weeks, enabling Kevin to bring in new players swiftly.