THE fight to save Hucknall Town Football Club is being boosted by fans buying tickets for matches they have no intention of attending.
For this week, they launched a virtual ticket scheme on the club’s website, with the hope of raising up to £30,000.
Supporters or sympathisers from anywhere in the country can ‘buy’ tickets for Town’s final two home games of February -- against Sheffield tomorrow (Saturday) and Lincoln United on Saturday February 23.
The tickets are priced £5 for adults, £10 for families and £500 for corporate.
The scheme, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the country, was the brainchild of Town’s former chief executive, Liz Morley.
Morley, who is overseeing the latest attempted revival of the club, as an employed consultant of ex-chairman Brian Holmes, said:
“Our stadium has a 3,000 capacity, so we have set ourselves a target of raising £30,000.
“If we could sell the equivalent in virtual tickets of just two capacity crowds, we could solve the club’s problems and rebuild for the future as an amateur club.
“Please help us by buying a virtual ticket. You may not be able to show your support in person. But by purchasing a ticket, your support will be with us in spirit.”
All money raised will filter through to a secure lifeline fund, administered by another of the club’s former officials, respected accountant Mark Burnell.
The Yellows’ latest financial crisis followed the resignation of former chairman Derek Blow in December after only six months at the helm.
The club subsequently defaulted on two monthly payments to HMRC as part of an agreement to pay off a VAT debt of £87,500.
All the club’s books have now been inspected by Morley, who has discovered that the total debt owed has escalated again.
Orginally, it was thought to be about £12,000. Last week, it had risen to £27,000. But now it stands at £36,000.
“This is because the agreement with HMRC was breached, and so further liabilities were incurred,” explained Morley.
On the field, Town remain rooted to the foot of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South after two more defeats in the last week (SEE PAGE 34).
But off the field, the club are determined not to go under.
Officials, past and present, have rallied round -- not just to save The Yellows but also because they would become personally liable for the debts.
“As an unincorporated association, the club has no legal status and cannot be put into administration to rise again lower down the football pyramid,” Morley continued.
“Therefore individuals are unable to protect themselves from liabilities.
“We simply have no choice but to find the money or shut down forever.
“If the club was wound up, the ground lease would be lost and a potentially long, complex legal battle could ensure beteween creditors and any past and present committee members who could be forced to counter sue each other for mistakes made.
“Our story should serve as a lesson to all other voluntary-led sports organisations in Hucknall.”