Clubs In Crisis
Nobody wins unless everybody wins... 09 April 2009 - 20:21

Rotherham United

Rotherham accept points deduction


Rotherham United have accepted a 17-point deduction for the new season after agreeing to a set of criteria imposed on them by the Football League.

From BBC Football:

The Millers were handed the penalty after being unable to satisfy the normal conditions of Football League rules for exiting administration.

The club were given a deadline of noon on Friday to accept the punishment in order to start the season on Saturday.

They will now face Lincoln at home in their opening fixture.

Rotherham could not agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement with its creditors but the League decided under the 'exceptional circumstances' provisions of its insolvency rules to set the conditions for their League future.

In a statement, the League said it was imposing the punishment because it was the Millers' second insolvency in recent seasons.

They also said the club must return to Rotherham within four years after they were forced to leave Millmoor, their home for more than 100 years, and play games at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield from the start of 2008/09.

The 17-point deduction puts them second bottom of the League Two table above Luton, who had 30 points taken away for misconduct and for failing to satisfy the League's insolvency rules.

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Rotherham United to Quit Millmoor


Rotherham United are quitting the town for Sheffield after 101 years at Millmoor.

From The Star, by Bob Westerdale:

The club said "every possible effort has been made to reach a position where staying at Millmoor was viable but unfortunately we were unable to achieve this."

United's high command insists it "will now re-double our focus in working with the council to move to the new Community Stadium in as short a time as possible " - but fans know that could take years.

The Millers are going to Sheffield as a direct result of talks with the stadium landlords, the Booths, breaking down.

The club said it was "happy that we have been able to negotiate terms that allow us to play at the excellent Don Valley stadium."

That will be a significant change for Rotherham fans, who wil have to get used to a more modern stadium where the stands are some way from the pitch.

New Millers owner Tony Stewart said: "This is a momentous step for us but I am determined that every deal that this club enters in to is workable and financially viable. I have no intention of seeing this club hit the financial rocks again and I am sure our supporters would expect nothing less".

"We have done all we could to allow this club to stay at Millmoor but I am not going to wallow in this, we are going to make sure that we make our time at Don Valley as exciting as it can be and trust that our supporters will back us through this period as they always have. We will work doubly hard with the Rotherham Borough Council, and other interested parties to ensure that the new Community Stadium becomes a reality as soon as possible. In the meantime we will now press ahead with plans for the coming season which have been held up by the discussions over Millmoor."

Stewart has been funding the club recently as an official exit from administration has yet to be completed.

Stewart had hoped to negotiate a deal to reduce rent on Millmoor in a new lease agreement that would also see the Booths help to fund minor ground improvements.

With the new fixtures released on 10th June, the decision had to be made quickly.

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Booth threat could close Millers


Rotherham United face immediate closure following an ultimatum from the Millmoor landlords, the Booth family.

From BBC Football:

They have threatened court action to prevent the sale of the club unless their existing privileges are retained.

Rotherham United's chief operating officer Paul Douglas has told BBC Radio Sheffield their terms are scaring off new owners.

He said: "It could spell the end, we're certainly not in a position to go to court and take on a wealthy landlord."

A billionaire Russian businessman has already withdrawn his bid to buy the club because of the Booth's perks, which include tickets to the FA Cup final, VIP access to home and away games and free use of the club physio up to three times a week.

The bid was one of five made to buy the club and believed to be one of two shortlisted by administrator Jeremy Bleazard for preferred bidder status.

Douglas says the situation has to be resolved for the future of Rotherham United.

"Unless there is a change of heart and some conversations happening soon then it does spell the end, not to mention any bidder must be thinking 'do I really need all this?'," he added.

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Rotherham United face extinction


Rotherham United's administrator Jeremy Bleazard has said the beleaguered League Two outfit must find a buyer by 1700 BST on Friday or face liquidation.

From BBC Football:

The club owe hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Inland Revenue, reports BBC Radio Sheffield.

Former directors Dino Maccio and Alan Cartledge are reportedly ready to submit a rescue bid and they have a deal to keep the club at Millmoor.

The Millers are scheduled to host Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday.

The club received a 10-point penalty in March when they entered administration for the second time in three seasons.

Millers manager Mark Robins told BBC Radio Sheffield: "A lot of people care deeply about this club.

"We've got to get things sorted out and resolved as quickly as possible."

Rotherham said they owed the money to the Inland Revenue because of falling attendances, as well as a smaller than expected insurance claim for summer flood damage.

The club had previously been saved from liquidation in the summer of 2006 when creditors backed a Company Voluntary Agreement.

They were also then hit with a 10-point penalty, which eventually cost them their League One status when they were relegated last season.

See also: Deadline to buy Millers extended

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Rotherham go into administration


Rotherham United are to be hit with a 10-point penalty after going into administration just two years after being saved from liquidation.

From BBC Football:

BBC Radio Sheffield understands the club have been denied another extension to their notice of intent to go into administration by the courts.

Rotherham owe hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Inland Revenue.

The points penalty will see Rotherham drop to 11th, six points off the play-offs with eight games to go.

The club had already extended their notice of intent once and had been hopeful they would be given a further 10 days at a hearing at Leeds County Court on Tuesday.

Rotherham said they owed the money to the Inland Revenue due to falling attendances as well a smaller than expected insurance claim for summer flood damage.

The club were saved from liquidation in 2006 when creditors agreed to a Company Voluntary Agreement.

They were also then hit with a 10-point penalty, which eventually cost them their League One status when they were relegated last season.

BBC Radio Sheffield understands chairman Dennis Coleman does not have the money to bankroll the club.

Despite spending much of the last month in negotiations to try and bring in further investment, Coleman has yet to find a backer.

The club have appointed XL Business Solutions as the administrator.

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Administration deadline extended


The club have finally released a statement announcing what we have come to presume, that the notice to appoint an administrator has been extended by 10 days.

From MillersNet:

The extension took affect on the 3rd March meaning that the club now has until the 13th March to find an investor. Should the situation not improve the administrator will be called in again incurring the 10 point penalty.

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Rotherham facing financial crisis


Rotherham say they will go into administration unless a major injection of cash is secured in the near future.

From BBC Football:

The club have filed notice to appoint an administrator and, unless the financial picture improves, will be docked 10 points as they were in 2006.

The League Two outfit cite Inland Revenue debts as a major problem.

They say they were close to a deal with a group last week but that was dashed because of the terms and conditions of the lease for their Millmoor ground.

"Over the past two years the board has been working very hard to reduce the level of operating losses at the club," Rotherham said in a statement.

"It is plain that things can not continue like this and that time is not on our side. We are not yet at a stage where a certain future for the club can be definitively guaranteed.

"We are conscious of the need to protect the club from any possible action from any of its creditors. In order to combat this, we have filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator.

"If no deal can be brokered then administration would be the only option for the club."

The Millers could become the third Football League club to go into administration this season, following Luton and Bournemouth.

Filing notice of intention to appoint an administrator - as Bournemouth did last month - gives the club a period of protection from its creditors while they are bidding to avoid administration.

However, under new rules introduced by the League last summer, if Rotherham (or any club) go into administration after the fourth Thursday in March, the 10-point deduction will be suspended.

If the club is relegated the points will be deducted from their tally at the start of next season.

If the club stays up the 10 points will be taken off their final total - and if that drops them into the relegation places, the club will be relegated.

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Millers achieve deal with creditors


From BBC South Yorkshire.

Rotherham United officials met with officials today and agreed a Company Voluntary Arrangement, accepted by a majority of the creditors, securing the club's short-term future.

The Millers owe £3.7m, and the arrangement will allow the club to repay the money owed to creditors from future profits the club make.

As a result of the arrangement a new company has been formed, which will purchase the assets of the old company, but in essence their is no change in the powers that be at Millmoor.

The Football League now have to agree to the arrangement, which can take around eight weeks, and upon doing so will transfer the shares from the old company to the new one.

The agreement means the Millers will have 10 points deducted before a ball is kicked at the start of next season. The penalty is an automatic deduction enforced by the Football League in such a situation, however the Millers may appeal against the ruling.

'It's a bit of a relief, we were fairly confident it would go through,' said chairman Denis Coleman.

'Just a bit disappointed in a couple of people [creditors] that voted against it, Mick Harford for example... at the end of the day if the club had have been liquidated they'd have got nothing out of it.

'Saturday was a major hurdle, to stay in this division, today's the next hurdle, that's two of many... but let's take it forward now.'

Meanwhile the Millers have released three players. Winger Andy Monkhouse, and defensive pair Scott Minto and Phil Gilchrist have all been handed free transfers.

All three players have made limited first-team appearances due to injury this year.

However, Shaun Barker, Will Hoskins, Martin Butler, Paul McClaren, John Mullin and Paul Shaw are to be offered new deals.

================ Previously ================
Rotherham to escape liquidation

From BBC Sport:

Rotherham have announced that they are seeking a voluntary arrangement with their creditors to keep the club alive.

Despite recent investment from local businessmen, the club still owe more than £500,000.

Millers chairman Denis Coleman told BBC Radio Sheffield: 'This is to stop the club going out of existence and we're confident it will be agreed.'

If the proposal is agreed at the creditors' meeting on 5 May, a 10-point deduction will be enforced next season.

Last month a group of Rotherham businessmen, headed by Coleman, stepped forward with an investment package that the club had hoped would see off the threat of liquidation.

But with the financial position at the club worsening after the Inland Revenue issued a winding-up petition, the club have moved for a voluntary arrangement to avoid going out of existence.

Coleman added: 'What we've done today is not liquidation, it's not administration, it's a company voluntary arrangement.'

===================== Previously ==================
Death march to rattle of begging buckets

See Guardian Unlimited for full story, by David Conn.

The best efforts of Millmoor's supporters' trust have failed to pull the club back from the verge of extinction .

The 7,000 bumper crowd arriving at Millmoor on Saturday to watch creaking Rotherham United beaten 4-0 by their prospering near-neighbours Chesterfield were serenaded by the familiar sound of 21st-century lower-division football: fans rattling buckets. Many clubs in recent years have issued a warning that they can survive only a few more weeks, yet somehow all have managed to shed a sludge of their debts, mostly find new owners and stagger on.

Make no mistake, though, Rotherham are in trouble, just a few months after falling from, for them, the startling heights of four seasons in the second tier. The figures look like small change compared to the great Yorkshire collapses of Leeds United and Bradford City - £500,000 owed to the Inland Revenue and monthly losses of £140,000 - but the club no longer owns Millmoor, the fans on the board have no big money to throw in and no local businessmen so far fancy casting themselves as saviours.

The cruelest blow came at the beginning of last month when Southend United - top of League One - failed to pay £120,000 for the midfielder Jamal Campbell-Ryce, which Rotherham are adamant was owed following a straightforward 'pre-contract' transfer deal last September. Southend are disputing that, saying they had to agree personal terms with Campbell-Ryce before the deal became binding and are taking the issue through the courts.

The non-arrival of the £120,000 wrecked the instalments plan agreed with the Inland Revenue, who will now press to wind up the club for the PAYE owed. The supporters in charge of Rotherham, chaired by Peter Ruchniewicz, himself a lawyer, immediately called in insolvency practitioners who took a look at the threadbare books and advised that, after this Saturday's home game against Oldham, Rotherham would run out of money completely. Administration would not even be an option because the club would be trading at a loss, which no administrator can allow.

So Rotherham need around £500,000, plus money to pay the tax man very soon or they face liquidation. For real.

See Guardian Unlimited for full story, by David Conn.

=============== Previously =================
Club Could Fold 'In Weeks'

From BBC Sport:

Rotherham chairman Peter Ruchniewicz has warned the club could fold in weeks if they fail to close a funding gap.

A Save Our Millers campaign has been launched in a last-ditch bid to raise £1m to avoid going out of business.

Ruchniewicz told Rotherham's website: 'If we cease trading the club is likely to go straight into liquidation and go out of existence. But we believe the club can be saved if anyone with any sort of link to it gets behind us.'

Rotherham are currently losing £140,000 a month and Ruchniewicz said: 'We're sorry to have to tell fans that the club's financial position has reached a critical phase. If the club does cease trading, it is unlikely to go into formal administration given its limited resources and level of funds and assets required. The thought of the club going out of existence is too dreadful for any of us to contemplate, but is nevertheless a very real possibility.'

Rotherham claim a series of blows have added to the financial woes which existed before the current board took control.

The blows include a poor response to a recent rights issue, a reduction in season tickets sales and declining gate receipts, and an ongoing dispute with Southend over the transfer of Jamal Campbell-Ryce.

Ruchniewicz added: 'We're being advised by licenced insolvency practitioners and are in consultation with the Football League on a regular basis to try and find a solution. As a board we have statutory duties not to allow the club to trade beyond a point we believe it cannot recover from. That point in time is fast approaching.'

As part of its survival appeal, Rotherham have launched two initiatives, £Ten To Play Again, and £Twenty Five To Stay Alive.

================ Previously ================
Take over is off

Rotherham have called off talks with prospective buyer Neil Freeman. They claim the former director could not present evidence of where his funding was coming from and has not been able to produced a deposit.
'We went with him because he's a local lad, but he didn't seem to have the money and you can't go shopping without money,' said chairman Ken Booth.
meanwhile Freeman has said the real reason is a dispute over land at Millmoor is why negotiations have been halted.
He told BBC Radio Sheffield: 'The sticking point is over the top car park at Millmoor. It was in the first heads of agreement and then all of a sudden on Friday it wasn't.
'I think because the council have shown an interest to develop the site, they might be holding onto the land and trying to get us to name a price.'

==================== Previously ====================

In order to dispel any fears that may have been raised due to some recent inaccurate media reporting, Rotherham United chief executive, Phil Henson has today made it quite clear there is no danger of the club going into administration.

He said: 'The chairman, Ken Booth is fully committed to the club for the immediate future and his company will continue to underwrite the overdraft as they have done since 1987 so nothing has changed. Rotherham United have no debts.'

From the BBC:

Rotherham fear they will have to go into administration without the financial help of chairman Ken Booth. The Millers announced a loss of more than £730,000 for the financial year ending 31 May and are £1.6m in the red. Booth's cash helped Rotherham escape from administration in 1987, but he may not be willing to do so this time.

Rotherham chief executive Phil Henson fears the worst if the chairman's company, CF Booth Ltd, does not accept liability for the costs. Although income was boosted by match receipts and Football League hand-outs, staff costs soared by more than £500,000 to leave the club's overdraft at just over £1.6m.

Henson has warned of troubled times without Booth's guarantee - which could lead to the club slipping into administration for a second time. 'We would have massive problems,' he said. 'I can't speak for Ken, but at the end of the day, it's in the chairman's hands.'

Booth has already come under fire from supporters unhappy with the club's lack of ambition, a problem compounded with the lack of off-field income generated last season. Following the collapse of ITV Digital, television revenue at Millmoor dropped from just over £2.5m to £217,633.

And to that end, Henson admitted the club are prepared to listen to any offers from any prospective investors who can help Rotherham move forward. He added: 'The chairman has always said that he will be willing to listen to either an individual or a consortium who might be able to help the club's financial position.'

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