Friday, September 17, 2010

I've become quite obsessed with non league football the last few years, as regular readers of this blog will know!

It's been scary to see how many Clubs in the lower end of the football pyramid go out of business, whereas the big ones in the football league get reprieve after reprieve.

Whether the courts would like to wind up all of them but know there would be outrage with clubs with a lot of fans like Portsmouth or Crystal Palace, I don't know, but the smaller ones certainly don't seem to get the same chance to sort things out as others.

Probably all just perception of course because we don't know all of the financial ins and outs of every club. There is also the fact that bigger clubs, with a larger fanbase and more income coming through the turnstiles every week, may have a better chance of turning things around and at least finding a new buyer.

Whatever is behind it all, it's the fans of the non league teams that suffer greatly at the end of the day.

Blue Square North side Ilkeston Town joined the list of sides being wound up last week when, after a two minute hearing, the court registrar said she felt the Club was "plainly insolvent" and the final compulsory winding up order was issued.

With all the debts being occurred by football clubs in recent years, it's understandable that patience will run out from the courts and HMRC (who are usually the main creditor and as we've said before why do so many Clubs let this known expense go unpaid?). When you find out that Ilkeston Town were wound up for a debt of just £50,000, it's even more shocking and a huge warning to others.

Ilkeston had just sold a player for £20,000 and were planning on using that towards the bill, with the rest being paid off at £1000 per month, but HMRC pushed on with the order.

Seeing that the day before Sheffield Wednesday managed to avoid being wound up, despite having an unpaid tax bill of a staggering £1.1 million, then something just seems plain wrong.

As we said earlier, we haven't seen all the books of Ilkeston Town, so a lot is unknown, but from face value, it certainly does seem to be one rule for the big boys and one for the rest.

Fans of Ilkeston Town hope to relaunch the Club further down the pyramid. Good luck to them.

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