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Sad day as Neath Football Club go under

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 29, 2012

Lee Trundle

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FORMER Welsh Premier side Neath FC have been wound up in what has been described as a desperately sad day for football in the town.

They had been under threat for months, seeing off winding up moves brought by the taxman in March — only to come under attack from Barclays Bank.

Neath FC president Peter Hain said he hoped the soccer club would now emerge phoenix-like from the ashes.

"It's a very sad day," said the Neath MP. "For Neath FC to have scaled such heights and then come crashing down is a savage blow."

Neath FC came into being in 2005, when Welsh League clubs Skewen Athletic and Neath decided to merge. But latterly fans became increasingly worried about the club's future following the financial issues, legal proceedings and chairman Geraint Hawkes's import business going into administration. In October, the payment of players' wages was delayed by what the club referred to as "issues".

Last month, Neath were kicked out of the Welsh Premier League, meaning they could not compete in Europe next season after failing to gain either a domestic or Uefa licence.

The Eagles, who had former Swansea City star Lee Trundle on their books, saw applications for both licences rejected by the Football Association of Wales earlier that month.

Yesterday they were wound up in London's High Court, two weeks after escaping such action when Registrar Barber ruled that the paperwork in front of her was not satisfactory.

Yesterday, though, lawyers for the bank told her the papers were in order, and she granted a "usual compulsory order" winding the club up.

The court heard in March that Neath had paid its £65,000 debt to HM Revenue and Customs. However, the bank won an order for "substitution", allowing it to take over the winding-up petition in respect of its undisclosed debt.

The club's affairs will now be handed over to an Official Receiver.

His job will be to do his best to ensure debts are paid off by selling any assets available and then bringing business to a close.

Mr Hain said: "For the efforts of everyone involved with the club to go up in smoke is desperately sad.

"Let us hope that it can rise phoenix-like in the future."


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  • hacker_jack  |  June 08 2012, 9:13AM

    Lezz_T that is rubbish. The Swans are not getting massively more through the gate this year than last year, the Ospreys have never drawn big crowds, Neath FC were a basket case and Neath RFC support is steadily declining as the old-timers who continue to watch despite the club being reduced to a training side are slowly ebbing away and not being replaced because what youngster wants to go watch second class rugby? No club in the League of Wales will ever be able to draw a big crowd unless the league moves upwards as a whole, quite what Neath FC were trying to achieve is anyone's guess. Either way to try and blame stay away fans (and indirectly the Swans) for Neath's mismanagement is plainly wrong. P.S. Trundle was not getting £200k a year from Neath, that was a combination of wages and sponsorship/endorsement. He was though earning more than any player in Welsh League history by some margin.

  • Philosoraptor  |  May 29 2012, 6:34PM

    Lezz_T, unfortunately you very frightening outlook is probably correct. It is hard to find a solution to help clubs the size of Neath FC in football, but I am shocked the Ospreys have not taken adequate steps to ramp up it's own advertising campaign. There are plenty of billboards in the Swansea/Neath/Ammanford area where they could advertise the price of tickets and upcoming games... they really should be doing this, as well as dropping the price of tickets, so that they stand more chance of filling the stadium. Billboard advertising is a way to get publicity that Swansea City FC is barred from attempting, as teams in the English Football League are prohibited by the FA from using such boards to advertise their matches. These billboards are open for the Ospreys to walk into with ease. I love the Swans and always will, but I also want to see the Ospreys do well, they can start by using an aggressive fanbase campaign!

  • kkkk3333  |  May 29 2012, 2:40PM

    why did peter hain no save the club, he thinks he is superman

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  • Lezz_T  |  May 29 2012, 1:39PM

    All the clubs in the area, both football and rugby are finding it difficult to attract support because of the success of the Swans. The draw that is Premiership Football is sucking the life out the smaller clubs in the region (and I'd include the Ospreys in that).

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  • Neathboy234  |  May 29 2012, 12:51PM

    apparently thats what he is on. Remember at the time he turned down a div 1 side to come to neath.

  • Dai_Chotomy  |  May 29 2012, 12:04PM

    Neathboy234, are you saying £200,000 a year? That would be £3,800 PER WEEK! Or £16,666 a month. If you have got the figure correct it is sheer insanity. Allowing for the closed season and away games it would mean close on 1,000 people paying £10 a go at every home game to pay the wages of one bloke.

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  • Neathboy234  |  May 29 2012, 11:43AM

    Trundle was on 200k a year, Not a great deal for a footballer, but too much for Neath

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  • Jack5y  |  May 29 2012, 11:10AM

    Sad news for any footbal club or business to fold. The amount of wages being paid by Neath was bound to cause their down fall eventually. Lee Trundle picked Neath ahead of football league clubs, this proves that the money on offer at Neath was more than on offer in the football league. Sad news for Neath supporters, but the writting has been on the wall for a long time.

    |   6
  • Neathboy234  |  May 29 2012, 10:40AM

    All Welsh Premier side are semi professional, for a long time Welsh clubs have paid quite high wages. Back in 1988 my best friend played for Barry town, his earnings were £800/week at the time. I think I was earning around £300/week in the steelworks back then.

    |   5
  • Dai_Chotomy  |  May 29 2012, 10:20AM

    The fact that Neath had a soccer team did not surprise me. What did surprise me is that " the payment of players' wages was delayed". Surely Neath was an amateur team. "Wages" should surely be have limited to generous expenses. Delusions of grandeur if you ask me.

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