It took until the first match of October, but at least the players of Truro City have something to be proud of this evening. A 2-1 win against Bath City at Treyew Road lift the team, which was docked ten points earlier this season after collapsing into administration, into a points tally for the season. They remain at the foot of the Blue Square Bet South table, but at the moment, as has been documented on these pages before, at the time of writing the clubs league position is more or less the last of the clubs worries, and the end of last week the Football Conference was finally provoked into action by the desperateness of the clubs position.
The Administrator and her Advisor have been advised by the Football Conference that, to be guaranteed the Club’s continued membership of the Competition, the Football Conference Board requires the Administrator to satisfy certain criteria by 5.00pm on Thursday 11th October 2012.
An offer for the club is now on the table from the clubs former manager Steve Massey. Massey, who managed the club between 2004 and 2006, seems unlikely to be able to act alone in saving the club, and he has called upon others that have expressed an interest in buying the club to come together to work with him to form a consortium with a view to saving the club. This, however, says a lot about the extent to which the club is in difficulty at the moment. Massey himself told BBC Cornwall last week that:
I’ve asked the administrators [to disclose] who these other interested parties are, so we can get together and save the football club. It’s moving slowly, it’s frustrating, but I won’t go it alone. That’s a weakness that has been proven this season. I’ve been promised information, but at the moment we don’t really know what exactly is involved.Adding to the layer of despondency surrounding the future of the club has been the recent comments of the clubs administrator Kate Breese, of Yorkshire-based insolvency practitioners Walsh Taylor, over the last few days. With so little money coming into the club at present, Breeses analysis of the prognosis for the club is not particularly positive either:
We are desperately hoping someone will come in with some sort of offer, otherwise we are in trouble. If they don’t, then Tuesday will be the last game and the club will be liquidated… [discussions that have] taken place give us some hope we can get a deal together. But, if something does not happen quickly, sadly it will be the end of the line. It is a grim situation.Some, however, are wondering why the Football Conference didn’t just call off this evenings match. Bath City had to make one of the shorter journeys in the Blue Square Bet South to get to Treyew Road this evening, but it is worth asking the question of what the point even was of playing this match considering that the club is now fighting fires on two fronts: both in terms of satisfying the Football Conference that can be saved, and also in keeping hold of a squad of players and a manager who are understood to be at the point of leaving over the fact that they still are not being paid at present. Bath City, like almost all non-league football clubs, are not wealthy, and having to make such a long journey on a midweek evening would stick in the craw a little if the club is expelled from the Football Conference or liquidated by the administrator over the coming days.
Expulsion from the Football Conference at the end of this season seems inevitable for the club already. Football Conference rules insist on all creditors being paid in full – they take no notice whatsoever of insolvency law, and neither do they have to – and with Truro City having accumulated £700,000 of debt and the ground having been sold under what some now consider to be highly suspicious circumstances just a couple of months before, it is difficult to imagine that anyone is going to be terribly interested in spending such a vast sum of money just to pay off the extravagances of the previous owner and keep the club in the Blue Square Bet South, especially when we consider that the team is still bottom of the table and that avoiding relegation is far from certain.
At this club, as at Kettering Town and Northwich Victoria – the other non-league crisis clubs du jour – the question of why exactly this club should be kept alive is not one that is easy to answer. If no new buyer can be found for the club and quickly, perhaps the time is now right for this farce to come to an end. Travelling expenses are too high for clubs to be spending money that they have to scrimp and scrape to play matches that may be likely to be expunged from the record, and it was perhaps this that was one of the key motivators behind their announcement that the club had just two weeks to get its affairs in order or face expulsion from the league. It’s unfair on the supporters of Truro City. This much we can say without a shadow of a doubt. The best interests of the whole division, however, have to be taken into account when dealing with such a situation.
On the pitch, the players of Truro City have shown enormous strength of character in their recent performances – apart from an 8-0 drubbing at Maidenhead United three weeks ago, they haven’t lost by more than a single goal since the 3rd of September. This strength of character is something that those who ran the club into the ground in the first place could learn a considerable amount from.
With a little left before the club is expelled from the Football Conference, a ruling that would surely bring about its closure, all supporters will be keeping their fingers crossed that the club can somehow pull through all of this. With each hour that passes, however, the clubs position becomes increasingly desperate, and with no more matches scheduled until the 13th of October, many will now be wondering whether we have all seen the last of this incarnation of Truro City Football Club tonight.
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