Hereford United: You Can Tell A Man By The Company He Keeps
When Tommy Agombar had his meeting with Herefordshire council the fans had as much interest in his companions as in what he had to say. While the third member of the party was relatively quiet, the man who stood by Tommy’s side throughout was not quite so reticent. He was quickly identified as Andrew Lonsdale, the President of Bedfont & Feltham FC in the Combined Counties league. Their ground was where trials had been held for Hereford players earlier in the month.
Checking him out didn’t stop there and it was no surprise that his past was somewhat murky too. He had a number of haulage companies that have been liquidated and was disqualified as a director between 206 and 2012. He was convicted for dumping waste on green-belt land in Buckinghamshire six years ago and was involved in a very unsavoury episode at Feltham FC. While he was president of the club, Feltham’s ground was to be renovated and this was to include bringing in soil (16,000 m3) from other local sites. However, an investigation revealed that almost five times as much soil and rubble (73,000 m3) had been deposited with an estimated value to the company (Lonsdale’s All Transport Limited) of about £1.2 million. Lonsdale’s claim was that he’d made a loss because the revenue was much smaller, based on his assessment that he’d only deposited 2/3 of the amount the council survey claimed. All Transport ended up in liquidation. Hounslow council have announced that they are renovating the ground to address the problem at a cost to the taxpayer of £300,000.
Some of the more outrageous claims from Agombar’s interview came from Lonsdale. He was the one who claimed that £200,000 had been spent on the club since they’d arrived. Lonsdale was also the one who was most insistent that they would not walk away from the club, saying it multiple times (we’ll come back to this). He also claimed fans had been asked to leave a friendly game because they’d tried to disrupt things and he was the one who committed to the statement bringing the fans up to speed that of course never happened.
We’d all probably have ignored Lonsdale but he had other ideas. We had a heads up that an Andy L had registered to post on Bulls Banter and a day or so later we had the chance to read his wisdom. His first post was titled The Truth and of course contained anything but the truth. It was largely putting in print the same claptrap that Tommy peddled during his interview.Andy L took on a wide variety of targets including Keyte’s subterfuge with the books, Martin Foyle’s greed and its effect on the club’s problem and the inactivity of the Trust and Jon Hale’s consortium. He referred to the dismissal of the HMRC petition even though that was down to a technicality rather than payment, meaning it will be back.
Next up were the employees who’d chosen to leave. Conveniently ignoring the fact that only a few have been paid and many left before funds were forthcoming, he then went on to muse that Tommy’s act of giving back pay deserved some loyalty. Yes, that will be the disloyal employees who still haven’t been paid since March risking eviction and dealing with final demands from utility companies. Ultimately his goal was to paint Tommy as a guardian angel who had no interest in leases. He says it so much better than I can paraphrase.
“With regards to the leases a few of you on this forum have hit the nail on the head others do not wish to listen so here are the facts, Yes there is development potential at the club BUT all profits from the development MUST be reinvested into the club to sustain the club FOR THE FUTURE, We knew this from the start and are in full agreement with the council on the matter. The only reason we requested the novation / Reassignment of the leases to anther company was due ot the fact this id Tommys Holding company. And no other reason, But what you have forgotten Tommy is in charge of the leases and owns the club”
So that’s cleared that up… except it actually says nothing about this situation. If the leases belong to the club why did they want them to be reassigned to Tommy’s holding company? He actively avoided answering that question even though it was asked many times, Lonsdale also claimed that when they first started negotiating they had no interest in the leases. Except we know that pursuing the reassignment was Tommy’s first activity once the purchase was confirmed. The remainder of the post tried to sell their philosophy for the club including Mark Ellis and the squad of players we have in place. But nobody knows their names. He claims they’re heavily committed to the community which is strange because they have been pretty focussed on alienating the community since they arrived.
But he wasn’t giving up asking us all to embrace Tommy because he was the only person willing to take on the club. Ahem, the Trust and their backers would have except for Keyte’s obstruction. And if you’re trying to appeal the fans probably best not to sign off with a mention of how Keyte did his best and Stuart Blake had been a great help to Agombar and Co. And if we needed any more reassurance of how good things were going to be, don’t worry Lonsdale reminded us that Tommy was a football man who loves his football. Well, that’s alright then.
When a forum member wondered whether his involvement with Hereford while also being president of Bedfont & Feltham contravened FA rules, Lonsdale responded that he was only assisting Agombar as a consultant. Interesting. Why was he present at the council meeting then and why was he so insistent that “WE won’t walk away”? As the forum member says it is pretty clear that he is involved with the day-to-day running of the club. With the exception of a few posters, the Hereford forum has a pretty unified voice. Over the last couple of weeks there has been a noticeable shift as sceptical members have come to the realisation that the club needs to be rid of Agombar and company and that formation as a new fan-owned club is the best path forward. I don’t know if the Agombar crew are concerned about the level of feeling against them but Big Andy was back on the Hereford forum on Saturday 21st June. Below is his post in all its glory.
“Please will somebody tell me whag assets have we stripped, you havent got any. You go on and on about the leases they are I Hereford United (1939) ltd and thats whrre they are staying, you go on about the profits. I have told yoj before the profits from the development at either end have to go back into the club to sustain football at Edgar Rd. With regards to the AGM today we were accepted into the premier league without conditiond we have paid football creditors and lodged a bond with the league,
NOW WILL SOMEONE ANSWER ME THE FOLLOWING
The trust go on about the leases would they not develop the ends
You want a new club, yss you seem to have a lot of local support but you are prepared to let all your friendsand local businesses lose money
Fro an I solvency
I Think this is the minority I am sure ghere are a lot of genuine fans out there who feel the same !!!!!!
We are not going anywhere we have done what we set out to do, paid football creditors and we havea feam ready to playin the southern premier
If you dontwant tocome and support thats your loss,
I wont read this forum anymore yoh have slated tommy and everything he has acheived you have slated mark ellis and allhe has achieved at the club
You have tried tocause me problems
You know what i am going nowhere an will continue to assist tommy and hereford fc for aslong as he wants
So suggest you get used toit
These are my personal thoughfs
A masterpiece. But not his best moment. He was back on Sunday June 22nd with another propagandist post claiming that they have paid all football creditors, that all staff have been paid and that Tommy has put the club in good order to succeed. There are two answers to this. Forum User Pat Sharp asked Andy. “Has Jamie G been paid Andy?”, Andy responded “Yes”. Pat Sharp responded “That’s not true is it Andy?” As discussed before, Hereford United is a small community and it’s easy to find out what’s going on. We all know Jamie hasn’t been paid. And we also know the players from last year haven’t been paid (Thank you Twitter). We know that youth team players haven’t received a penny but Agombar has continued Keyte’s practice of sending payslips with no accompanying funds to them.
The Southern Premier League released a statement from its AGM:
“Hereford United and their board of Directors have been informed that ALL footballing and non-footballing creditors must have received outstanding payments in full by opening of United Kingdom banking business on Monday 23rd June 2014 or the league reserves the right to further sanction or expel Hereford United (1939) Ltd from Southern League competition for the 2014-15 season.”
Looks like the footballing authorities are losing patience with Agombar and his cronies. Fingers crossed this is the first big step to ridding Hereford of this blight.
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