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Court winds up old version of Northwich Victoria, but newest one not likely to be affected
A JUDGE closed down an old version of Vics this week, but the club’s owner is confident the current incarnation will not be adversely affected.
Solicitors working for Marshman Price, finance experts that three years ago negotiated part payment of a six-figures debt to businesses owed money by Vics, presented a petition to wind up Northwich Victoria Football Club (2004) Limited to Manchester County Court on Tuesday.
District Judge Araba Obodai, in the absence of anybody representing the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League outfit, agreed to issue an order at the end of a hearing that lasted a few minutes.
“I was advised to let it happen,” said Vics’ owner Jim Rushe.
“After making enquiries with the relevant bodies, I am reassured there will be no impact on the club that is now trading [as Northwich Victoria Football Club (2007) Limited].”
He told the Guardian that he must now decide whether to take legal action to retrieve a sum totalling more than £100,000 that he says is owed to him.
In February an insolvency practitioner hired by Rushe asked a judge at the same court to rip up a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) – a binding legal commitment to pay back part of a debt – after accusing the club of not fulfilling its part of the deal.
Gary Pettit, in papers filed at Companies House, said that Vics’ owner had reneged on an agreement to find £2,500 each month for creditors.
“Mr Rushe sought to claim payments were not due and pleaded ignorance as to his obligations,” he wrote.
Mr Pettit brokered a deal with creditors a month after his appointment, who were persuaded not to petition to wind up Northwich Victoria Football Club (2004) Limited – the firm that paid the players’ wages at the time – after the team reached the FA Cup second round.
Vics’ reward was a prize pot worth close to £190,000, cash those companies owed money thought would be shared between them.
They never received a penny.
Mr Rushe claims that two thirds of that sum should have been paid directly to him after he covered the club's losses from May 2009 until the end of the same calendar year.
Vics’ owner says that he could have made the initial monthly contributions to the CVA from that amount.
He said on Monday of this week: “The situation is ongoing; I’m considering my options to get back what is mine.”
A receiver for the liquidated company has yet to be appointed.
Once it is, then Mr Rushe could request that individual to investigate Mr Pettit’s conduct while supervising the CVA.
Asked to comment, Mr Pettit said: “I will consider the impact of the winding up order in the coming days.”
Membership of football competitions was transferred to the 2007 version of Vics early in 2011.
However in April of this year, Mr Rushe admitted a Northern Premier League charge of not complying with the conditions of moving the membership from the old company to the new one.
The dissolution of its CVA, plus an associated rule break for not telling the league’s management committee, led to Vics’ expulsion from the competition at the end of last season.
That sanction was later reduced to a one-level relegation by an FA appeal panel.
After punishing Vics once in relation to this issue, it is unlikely the football authorities can – or will – take action following last week’s court hearing.