JUST how long will Truro City’s players continue to play without being paid? That is the question increasingly at the heart of the club’s financial crisis.
It is understood the squad and full time manager Lee Hodges, have not been paid for at least the last two months and there are fears that some players could even quit the Blue Square South club, leaving City’s future at this level in jeopardy.
Some have already threatened to quit and even given notice of that intention if their back pay is not forthcoming.
It is also believed the squad has not trained for the past couple of weeks.
If it comes to the worst case scenario and the club are unable to fulfil a fixture it would make the club liable to a fine of between £2,500 and £10,000, plus a probable loss of three points as well as any other action the Football Conference may decide, including the ultimate sanction of expulsion from the league.
City’s last game was at home to Welling earlier this month and it is believed there was a strong possibility that the players were on the brink of refusing to play and it took a lot of behind the scenes persuasion to get them to take to the pitch for a match they lost 3-2.
On Saturday City entertain Tonbridge Angels at Treyew Road (3pm) and it remains to be seen what side manager Lee Hodges will be able to field against the Kent outfit, as the current turmoil at the club shows no sign of ending.
The club face a winding up order issued by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs over an unpaid six figure tax bill and with only two scheduled home games left this year, gate money is going to be in short supply. Club chairman Kevin Heaney told last week’s special meeting that he was in talks with several unnamed investors in a bid to bring more money into the club.
He said the club’s bank account had been frozen which had created an issue over paying the players, though that was not the only factor.
The club also cannot sign any new players until their transfer embargo, imposed over the debt, is lifted.
However, he said he was confident the situation would be resolved ahead of the next scheduled High Court hearing on January 16.
Only time will tell if that confidence is well founded or else a remarkable rise which has taken the club through a record-breaking five promotions in six seasons could end in a nightmare fashion.
Supporters demand answers on future
FOOTBALL as they say is a results driven business – both on and off the pitch.
And there is no doubt that on the pitch the past seven years under the chairmanship of property developer Kevin Heaney has been a period of amazing success for Truro City.
An FA Vase win at Wembley and five promotions in six seasons taking City to within two promotions of a place in the Football League is testament to his ambition for the club.
But off the pitch things have not been so harmonious and last week at a packed clubhouse it was the chance for City supporters to discuss the club’s future direction.
Facing a winding up order from HMRC over an unpaid six figure tax bill the very existence of the club is threatened with the players also not being paid for at least the last couple of months.
Mr Heaney though said he was confident both issues would be resolved.
It was a tense, but well ordered, meeting with some frank exchanges of views.
Some might say though that while there was a lot of talk, there was a lack of real substance. Opening the meeting Mr Heaney said the past seven years has been “amazing”
He added: “I am the first to admit the fact that things have not moved so fast off the pitch.
“I want to take the club forward as a community club. Mistakes have been made, not intentionally and we need to take stock.
“It would break my heart of the club failed. We all need to help if we are going to keep going in the right direction.”
The go ahead of the Stadium for Cornwall he said was vital for the future of the club if they were to be able to attract investors.
He said: “Investors want a guarantee there is going to be a stadium.
“We cannot be a Conference premier club on this site. We have moved so quickly we have not got the proper infrastructure.”
The breakaway Truro Independent Supporters’ Association, whose red and black colours have been banned from the ground, asked a series of questions about the club’s financial situation and his plans for the future .
Mr Heaney agreed to meet the club and try and find a way of working together.
Biggest cheer of the night was reserved for City manager Lee Hodges who paid tribute to the supporters. He said: “We have brilliant support who follow us everywhere. We all need to work together.”
The club’s new football secretary Mark Woolcock said the club had devised an action plan to bring the ground up to Conference South standards and he thought the work could be done with relative ease.
After the meeting Mr Heaney said: “It was a very constructive meeting and a big thank you to anyone who got involved with asking questions and being pro-active.
“I look forward to working closely with TISA and anyone else who is interested in becoming involved with the football club to help improve and run TCFC as a whole.
“Should you wish to get involved in any form, please email our office and we will see what positions we can make available.”
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