AN estimated debt of £180k may force Retford United out of business.
The financial trouble, which includes a tax bill of nearly £100k, was revealed at a fan forum on Tuesday night.
Badgers, who have lost manager Brett Marshall due to the club’s off field problems, find their future up in the air and will be unable to take promotion despite their league title this season.
Dan Keeton, chair of the working committee that has stepped in to try and save the club, confirmed the level of the debt to the Trader Guardian.
He said: “We were summoned to see the FA, and the night before we went Bill Wyles (Retford United chairman) sent me a spreadsheet with the debt at between £160k and £180k.”
“The FA knew about the tax bill which is £98k.”
Keeton and the committee want to keep the club alive, but are concerned that any formal involvment with the current company will leave them burdened with the debt.
He added: “We want to keep the club playing at the highest level possible, but looking at it as a business decision, it might be best to write the debt off and start the club again.”
“Obviously that has implications with the FA’s rules on relegation.”
“So many things are up in the air, it’s hard to state it all, we’ve not seen any legal documents to verify the information we’ve been given.”
“We’ve not been voted in under the club’s constitution and we’re seeking legal advice because we don’t want to get burdened with personal debt.”
The club’s chairman Bill Wyles was unavailable for comment as the Trader Guardian went to print, but we understand that Wyles is the only full club member.
The news follows on from Marshall’s departure.
Before announcing a move to Hucknall, he released a statement on the club’s website confirming his resignation.
Marshall said it was a difficult decision to leave the club, and the inability to secure promotion despite winning the league had forced his hand.
He said: “Following this remarkable season on the field, off the field problems have put a slight tarnish on it for me personally.”
“However, I am still the proudest manager in non league football with the players winning the hardest league in non league football, considering the highly charged desire shown by all the teams taking part.”
“Going forward, ambition was a big word I used pre season and I owe it to myself as my ethos has always been progression.”
“To manage in the same league again after winning the league doesn’t fill me with the same drive as 12 months ago.”
“I’m sure everyone connected with the club along with our loyal supporters will fully understand my decision.”
Marshall gave his backing to Keeton and Jon and Annie Knight on the working committee as they attempt to save Retford United.
He added: “With Dan Keeton at the forefront of football affairs, the club is in very good hands as I have huge respect for Dan as he has the football club’s best interests at heart.”
“He has gained credibility very quickly with his hard work, honesty and ability to connect with Graham (Walker, assistant) the players and I.”
“I would personally once again like to thank Jon and Annie Knight for being the cornerstones of the club this season and wish them all the very best for the future as these people are the best signings this club has ever made.”