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Farsley Celtic FC on the brink of extinction?

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Could Leeds's second football team Farsley Celtic be on the brink of closure?

Celtic are on the brink

Fearing closure: Farsley Celtic

« Previous « PreviousNext » Next »View GalleryADVERTISEMENTPublished Date: 27 June 2009
By Wendy Walker
JUST two years after living the dream of Conference football, Farsley Celtic are facing extinction.
The west Leeds club face a winding up order in the High Court in London on Wednesday – over a £200,000 tax bill – and unless a new investor comes forward within the next 72 hours say there is "very real possibility" Celtic will go to the wall.

In a last-ditch bid to stave off the petition being brought by the Inland Revenue, Celtic's board has agreed to put the club into administration but claim the taxman has refused a request to adjourn Wednesday's hearing pending the formal appointment of an administrator.

Commercial director Paul Grayson, who revealed the club survived a separate winding up order in March, said: "At this moment in time it's looking bleak.

"If people want a club in west Leeds – in the second tier of non-league football – now is the time to step in.

"Without outside help I would say things are 30/70 against us surviving and even that's being optimistic.

"If nobody comes forward in the next three days and the judge won't allow us to put the club into administration, then there will be no Farsley Celtic on Wednesday. The padlocks will be on the gates."

The extent of Celtic's problems became clear in January when president John Palmer, in an exclusive interview, told the YEP the club had "overstretched chasing the dream".

Three promotions in four seasons – culminating in a glorious night in May 2007 when Farsley beat Hinckley United 4-3 in the Conference North play-off final – ensured Celtic would spend their Centenary season as a Conference club for the first time in their history.

But Palmer admitted Celtic – who were relegated after just one season in the Football League's feeder division – had been banking on a multi-million pound deal to sell off part of their land at Throstle Nest for housing.

When Leeds City Council thwarted those plans in March 2008, Farsley discovered the success was built on shaky foundations. The credit crunch arrived, and the land was worth a fraction of the price.

Nevertheless, Palmer insisted in January: "There is no chance whatsoever of this club going out of business. It's left us in a bit of a state but I do believe we can get out of it."

But in a statement released to the YEP last night, he confirmed the financial position had deteriorated.

Palmer said: "We have no choice but to consider administration. I have worked tirelessly to try and raise sufficient money to avoid the process, but the economic climate means that investors are tightening their belts.

"It is profoundly sad, because we sit on over six acres of land, we have a sports hall and I believe, with a bit of work, a club that the people of west Leeds would come out and support.

"Paul Grayson has had a number of discussions with HMRC, and Paul Truswell MP has done what he can but, unfortunately, the Revenue are reluctant to allow us time to pay.

"That is their prerogative, and it has perhaps not helped that in the past our payment record has not been the best.

"The board of directors resolved to enter administration at a meeting last week.

"We have held meetings with a couple of insolvency practitioners who are working up until Wednesday's deadline in the hope that the winding up hearing will be adjourned so as to give time to allow for the formalities associated with the appointment of an administrator."

Anyone interested in helping Farsley Celtic should contact the club.
Would Farsley Celtic presumably get points deducted as they go into administration? It would be very bad news to see them disappear especially as they only played in the Conference National a few years back although do they have much of a support base (presumably LUFC supporters who watch Farsley Celtic at Throstle Nest as opposed to watch LUFC away) and how come has there been no progress on Farsley selling that land for residential development which could have helped secure the long term status of FCFC?

How are the other minor league teams around Leeds of Guiseley AFC and Garforth Town AFC performing in terms of financial stability and on the pitch?
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When FC were in the Conference at the same time as LUFC found themselves in the 3rd tier for the first time, there were mutterings that FC should rebrand themselves as "AFC Leeds" and try to become a 2nd Leeds league team. With the 15 point deduction, it seemed possible that the teams could be playing each other within a year. Thank God that didn't happen - it would have been the end of any prospect of LUFC getting back to their rightful position. Leeds would have become like Sheffield - a football graveyard with 2 mediocre teams battling it out for the occasional season in the top flight. If FC had remained what they had been for 98 years - a decent village team- they would still have a reasonable future.
Leeds would have become like Sheffield - a football graveyard with 2 mediocre teams battling it out for the occasional season in the top flight.
That's a bit harsh. Sheffield United are there or thereabouts and the two Sheffield teams are playing at a higher level than Leeds. I think we're the ones who are living in a football graveyard.
I think we're the ones who are living in a football graveyard.
I agree that's the case at the moment. But long-term I would say our prospects are brighter than either of the Sheffield clubs. Their total haul of trophies between them since the war consists of one League Cup win. In the same period (in fact since 1968) we've won 7 - we should really have won more, but it's still a lot better than them. And don't forget that they have both spent time in the lower divisions.
That's a bit harsh. Sheffield United are there or thereabouts and the two Sheffield teams are playing at a higher level than Leeds. I think we're the ones who are living in a football graveyard.
I think that football on the east side of the Pennines, nay, England is a bit of a football graveyard. A bit like teams composed of Harry Enfield's "Mr Dead". East of the A1 only Sunderland and Hull are in the Premiership. In fact even if you take the M1 as the line I'm stumped if I can do any better. It's definitely a London/North West thing with a bit of Brum. Better left alone really.
Farsley Celtic have just gone into administration with only hours to spare before a winding up order was issued against the club.

Brewery puts Celtic into administration

John Palmer

« Previous « PreviousNext » Next »View GalleryADVERTISEMENTPublished Date: 01 July 2009
By Wendy Walker
Troubled Farsley Celtic avoided today's winding up order with just hours to spare after being put into administration yesterday evening.

Celtic were due to face a petition brought by the Inland Revenue – over a £200,000 tax bill – in the High Court in London, and feared with time against them it could spell the end for the Throstle Nest club.

Farsley's board of directors decided to enter administration last week but said in a statement on Friday they didn't have time to complete the formalities before today's court hearing.

However Coors Brewery, who are also creditors, have called the administrators in.

A new statement released last night read: "The board of Farsley Celtic 1908 Ltd are today able to confirm the appointment of Mazars as administrators.

"By entering administration, the petition to wind the club up is unable to proceed and enables the club to continue to trade."

Club president John Palmer added: "Paul Glover and I today met with the administrators after the appropriate papers were filed at court.

"Whilst it is a relief that the effect of administration avoids, in the short term, the threat of winding up, there is a lot of work still to do and we shall be working closely with them in the next few weeks."

Farsley got into financial difficulties following a meteoric rise to the football Conference for the first time in their history, courtesy of three promotions in four seasons.

The club had plans to sell off part of their land for housing to finance the dream, but Leeds City Council turned down a planning application for Bellway Homes to build 26 houses and 31 apartments on the site in March 2008 and the problems started to mount.

Meanwhile on the field, Farsley lasted just one season in non-league football's top-flight.

The players returned for the start of pre-season training last night ahead of their second term back in Blue Square North and now face starting the campaign with an automatic 10-point deduction.
So would there be any serious interest out there to save Farsley Celtic considering they are such a small club with little support and it would be inevitably ironic if FCFC had folded and their entire ground was redeveloped for housing similar to the former Bramley RLFC McLaren Fields stadium when they went under in the 1990s. Could Farsley perhaps ground share at either Headingley, John Charles, Odsal, Valley Parade or even Elland Road perhaps as a way of saving their club? How much time will there be until if it is known that Farsley are no more?
Just seen on Freeview news they've been kicked out of Conference North and have nowhere to play next season as all other leagues have now arranged their fixtures. Seems harsh - why could they not start with a points deduction?
They are going to appeal. The same thing happened to Northwich Victoria last season and the FA overturned the Conference's decision and instead they were deducted 10 points. Fingers crossed then, the FA have set a precedent.
They are going to appeal. The same thing happened to Northwich Victoria last season and the FA overturned the Conference's decision and instead they were deducted 10 points. Fingers crossed then, the FA have set a precedent.
But didn't (formerly for many years in the Football League) Halifax Town who also went bust got thrown out of the Conference (either the Conference National or the Conference North) and hence were wound up with a new club using the Halifax Town name playing all the way down in the Northern Premier League Division One North. This isn't some FA conspiracy against clubs from Yorkshire is it considering Scarborough FC had also wound up when they went under? ;) Still it would be very bad news if it was to be the end of Farsley Celtic. :eek:hno:
Could Farsley Celtic be saved by having their debts cleared for a new housing development on unused land as a smaller scale scheme to that which was rejected by Leeds City Council last year?

New housing hope for under-threat Farsley

An alternative housing scheme could throw Farsley Celtic a cash lifeline

04 July 2009
By Paul Robinson
EMBATTLED non-league football club Farsley Celtic have new hope in their fight to stave off financial disaster.

Farsley went into administration on Tuesday with debts of more than £200,000.

Their problems kicked in after a money-spinning scheme to build homes on land they own next to the main pitch at their Throstle Nest ground was scuppered by city councillors last year.

But now it has emerged that proposals have been drawn up for an alternative housing scheme that could throw the club a cash lifeline.

Farsley and Leeds-based developer Chartford Homes have submitted an application to the council for planning permission for 14 new houses at Throstle Nest.

They would be built on the club-owned former cricket pitch which lies behind the site's main stand.

Farsley officials say the money generated by the scheme would be enough to clear their debts.

Celtic spokesman Philip Morris said today: "If things go as we are hoping then our future should be a lot more secure."

One reason why Farsley believe their new plans could succeed where the old ones failed is the reduced number of properties involved.

Their original proposals – drawn up in conjunction with Newcastle-based Bellway Homes – made provision for 26 houses and 31 flats.

Councillors cited a number of concerns when they rejected the club's planning application in February last year, despite a recommendation from officers that it be approved.

They included the use of land designated as greenfield and an alleged under-provision of "affordable" housing.

The Chartford scheme includes plans for a new two-storey clubhouse at Throstle Nest as well as extra playing pitches and car parking.

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said the planning application was due to be considered by the end of September.

Its fate isn't the only issue concerning Farsley at the moment, however.
As revealed in yesterday's YEP, the Conference league has told Celtic they cannot take their place in its North division next season because of their cash flow woes.

Farsley are planning an appeal to the Football Association against the decision.

The club has set up a fighting fund – tagged '101, Still Going Strong' in reference to their age – to raise money to pay for the appeal.
It would be good if there could manage to clear their debts and effectively save their club although if they cannot get into any league then it would of course still have an obviously adverse affect for their club anyway (which I could guess would force the club to close down anyway). Have Leeds City Council said anything on the clubs plight? Surely the status of sports teams across Leeds even small outfits such as Farsley should be something to comment about i'd have thought and would this planning application by processed at the standard speed that planning applications are processed or would it be rushed through due to the special circumstances of the clubs future hinging on the possible sale of this land?
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Farsley Celtic have been refounded as Farsley AFC and their future looks assured with Leeds City Council purchasing their ground and the club will play in the Northern Counties East Football League Premier Division next season:

Farsley Celtic: John Palmer interview

John Palmer.
Published Date: 28 June 2010
By Wendy Walker
The champagne corks are popping at Throstle Nest.
Chairman John Palmer hosted a World Cup party to celebrate the resurrection of former Conference outfit Farsley Celtic, which was finally confirmed on Friday morning.

* Click here for latest YEP news.

The 'new' Farsley took the first major step to recovery when the Football Association recommended they be accepted into the Northern Counties East League top-flight in May, a decision which was ratified by the league earlier this month.

And the deal was sealed on Thursday night, when Leeds City Council bought Throstle Nest back from administrators Mazars and immediately sold on the main part of the football club to FC2010, the company set up by the Palmer-Farrell consortium which has been battling to save
Farsley since last September.

Life president Palmer has been through every emotion possible over the past 12 months – anguish, hope, pain, relief, tears, joy and despair – as Celtic first went into administration last July and then out of existence this March.

But his battered and bruised consortium, consisting of wife Margaret, sons Steven and Philip and family friends Dorothy and John Farrell, have finally triumphed in adversity and the relief will be there for all to see when he throws the doors open to all at Throstle Nest today for a World Cup-themed celebration barbeque.

The 74-year-old said: "It's been one of the worst periods of my life. It's been absolute hell.

"There were a few times when I thought I'd lost the club. Last September, I'd given up. I went to work and my wife, sons and the Farrells resurrected it because they knew what it meant to me.

"We were then convinced we could take it into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) last season and come out of it under the FA's Appendix E rule where you pay off all the creditors.

"We had that all lined up and had it gone through we would have seen the season out and stayed in Conference North, but the rug was pulled from beneath us.

"That was the day they pulled the plug on the club in effect and it was really hard to take.

"Our bid then was far in excess of what we have paid now. We thought it was going to be accepted, we had worked exceedingly hard to get there, and I felt sick to the stomach.

"I felt for the players and I felt deeply for the manager, Neil Parsley. He was the best manager in that league last season on performances and considering the meagre budget he battled with. The squad worked for every single point to get into a position where they would have been safe from relegation.

"But still we battled on, we still thought we could save it.

"We knew at that point we would be relegated and were bitter about that, both myself and the football management team, but still we never gave up. We kept on fighting, we kept plugging away and today is a triumph.

"We're not as high up the pyramid as we wished to be. We were led to believe we could be going into the UniBond League Premier and we have finished in the NCE League, but it's better than losing the club altogether."

Losing the club altogether has looked a realistic scenario on more than one occasion over the past 12 months as Farsley looked set to pay the ultimate price for a meteoric rise which saw them go from the UniBond League First Division to the Conference in just four years before they were relegated after one season sitting on non-league football's top table.

Things came to a head exactly a year ago today when it emerged Farsley faced a winding-up order – for the second time in a matter of months – in the High Court over a £200,000 tax bill and had just 72 hours to save their skins.

Creditors Coors Brewery called in the administrators just hours before the club were due in court but then Farsley were kicked out of the Conference, only to be reinstated days later albeit with a 10-point penalty.

Despite enduring a transfer embargo, that penalty was wiped out on the field before the end of the first month of the season in Conference North and Farsley looked a team destined for survival.

It looked in vain just days later, however, as the padlocks were on the gates at Throstle Nest in September following the collapse of a bid by Palmer to buy the club from administrators Mazars, with the league being informed Celtic wouldn't be fulfilling their remaining fixtures.

But 24 hours later the Palmer-Farrell consortium went in and saw a new offer provisionally accepted by the administrators who agreed they could run the club in the interim.

But creditors voted to end that agreement in March when Mazars said Palmer's group had failed to come up with a suitable offer for the club, which owed more than £500,000 to creditors.

Despite frantic negotiations, matches against AFC Telford, Workington and Harrogate Town were postponed and the last rites were seemingly read when the Conference announced the Celts – formed in 1908 – had effectively resigned from the league.

Mazars then asked for sealed bids for Throstle Nest but Leeds City Council swooped to purchase the land, which is also a community sporting facility, as developers circled.

Palmer's consortium have now bought the main ground back, along with the clubhouse. The council will retain ownership of the sports hall on the site and two junior pitches which will be financed by Chartford
Homes as part of a proposed housing development which was given planning permission last year.

"The council has been brilliant," said Palmer. "I have got to thank the councillors for all their efforts. It may have been sold to others had they not intervened."

Palmer also said Farsley have learnt their lessons from the past.

He added: "We (the consortium) have all put equal amounts of money in to rescue the club. We believed it would not have been in the best interests – as the council did – for it to be sold to a developer or other parties we believe were interested.

"And we will be financially sound – we won't get into serious debt again. We will pay wages we can afford and make sure the club is making money.

"The business plan has been approved by our solicitor, our accountant and the FA.

"We're not in the league we would have preferred to be in but we will be one of the teams to watch in the future.

"We will be going forward again, maybe not back in the Conference within five years – there will be no daft predictions – but we will be challenging for things."

There will be a familiar feeling to the 'new' Farsley when they return to pre-season training on Tuesday ahead of their first season in the NCE League since 1987.

Parsley has agreed to stay on as manager, with Simeon Bambrook and Mark Jackson also retaining their positions as both players and in the management team.

And the chairman is hoping the 1,000-plus Celtic supporters who officially "backed the Palmer bid" throughout the administration process continue to support the team officially named Farsley AFC.

Palmer said: "Neil Parsley has stayed, and I know he has been offered other jobs. He says he feels comfortable with us and he would like the challenge of moving the club forward along with Mark Jackson and Simeon Bambrook.

"Roy Stamer is another player who is staying and others are offering to come back for far less than they are being offered elsewhere.

"It's a new name unfortunately – Farsley AFC – but I am sure 'Celtic' will be chanted on the terraces for a long, long time.

"Celtic meant a lot to a lot of people for a lot of years but we were given no option really.

"But we have kept the village name, it's practically the same badge and we're still the same club at the end of the day.

"We have saved the club. It's been such an effort and it's taken a lot out of us but we can all sit back now and breathe easily again."
Certainly good news to see Farsley resurected as for quite a while it looked like the club would be killed off completely however any new club would surely have to remain financially stable and not grow too quickly as it did prior to going under previously.
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