Chairman says company’s revival is imminent

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LONG Melford chairman Alf Woodhouse has returned from New Zealand and told fans there is nothing to worry about as he expects the club’s future to be officially secured in the next few days.

According to Woodhouse, all the missing three years worth of tax returns and annual accounts are now with Companies House along with an application for Administrative Restoration.

It comes after the Free Press revealed the holding company handling the club’s finances, Long Melford Football Club 2002 Ltd, was dissolved by Companies House 12 months ago for ‘consistent non-compliance’ with tax returns and annual accounts, back to August 2009.

Melford vice-chairman Simon Garden, in sole charge of the club’s finances according to Woodhouse, said they had sent the paperwork but it had all been an “admin mix-up”.

But Sudbury-based accountant Andrew Stopps, who used to play for the club’s youth team, was brought in by honorary secretary Richard Kemp to recomplete the forms and send them off to effectively bring the club back to life.

Woodhouse, who had been visiting his son in New Zealand until the middle of last week, said of the dissolved company: “It should be reinstated within the next few days and the accounts have been resubmitted and are being accepted by Companies House.”

When asked questions about what had happened, Woodhouse did admit he received a letter from the club’s 100 per cent shareholder Lee Harding 12 months ago, notifying him the company had been dissolved and threatening legal action if Garden and himself, the company’s only board of directors, did not do something about it.

But Woodhouse said: “I would not want to comment other than to say things have gone wrong and it will not happen again.”

A spokeswoman for Companies House said: “We would not accept any documents as the company has been dissolved.”

But when asked if an application for Administrative Restoration had been received, as part of the paperwork sent by the club, she said: “The registrar did strike them off due to non-compliance but they can make an application for Administrative Restoration.

“Currently, the registrar is dealing with applications received in the building up to March 13 but there is no application registering on the company’s file.”

The Senior Cup finalists, who will play Whitton United at Ipswich’s Portman Road on April 4 (7pm), are without a scheduled game this Saturday and have arranged a home friendly tomorrow night (8pm) with fellow First Division side Brightlingsea Regent, who are also without a match.

Melford are currently four points off 10th placed Team Bury, who have a game in hand on them, in their quest to qualify for next season’s FA Cup.

Bottom side Cornard United must look to beat current leaders Thetford Town at Blackhouse Lane on Saturday (3pm) if they are to make up the three points Stowmarket, one place above them, got ahead of them by beating Halstead Town on Saturday.

Halstead will be looking to bounce back from that surprise defeat at home to Ipswich Wanderers (3pm), which saw them drop to fifth.

In the Ridgeons Premier Division, Hadleigh United, who recorded a much-needed win at Felixstowe & Walton United on Tuesday, are without a scheduled league fixture this weekend and are next in action the following Saturday (March 31) at home to bottom side Newmarket Town (3pm).