Borough back in court as drop fears deepen

Gosport Borough chairman Mark Hook
Gosport Borough chairman Mark Hook
Ryan Pennery netted for Moneyfields. Picture: Neil Marshall (171026-11)

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Gosport Borough are facing a fourth winding-up order in less than a year for failing to pay taxes due to HM Revenue & Customs.

Their latest case is set to be heard on May 15 in the High Court of the Royal Court of Justice in London.

The news broke as Borough sank deeper into National League South relegation trouble with a 4-0 defeat at Welling United.

This latest reverse leaves the Privett Park outfit four points adrift of safety with four games left to play.

Financial problems have plagued the Borough all season and show no sign of easing.

Since October a number of players have walked out after complaining of not being paid on time.

At the same time, a transfer embargo imposed by the National League hindered attempts to fill the gaps.

For the last six months, chairman Mark Hook and manager Alex Pike have hunted for fresh investment. So far that has failed to materialise.

Hook, however, feels the club can get themselves out of trouble both on and off the pitch.

‘Our VAT bill was due on March 8 and the taxman refused my offer to pay it by the end of the month,’ he said.

‘That is when they issued the winding-up order.

‘It will be paid before our hearing on May 15. Everyone is aware of the financial problems we have experienced this season. After seven meetings with Jim Fallon in the summer he promised us £40,000 of sponsorship.

‘He pulled the plug at the last minute and it is now, towards the end of the season, we are feeling its effects.

‘We are where we are and will continue to work hard to get out of the situation.

‘Discussions about a takeover are ongoing and look promising.

‘I don’t want to say too much but we are moving in the right direction.’

Hook is also confident Borough can get the wins needed to haul themselves out of the bottom three.

He feels the Easter games at Bishop’s Stortford and at home against Oxford City are both winnable.

After a trip to Concord Rangers, Borough end the season with the visit of relegation rivals Whitehawk.

‘We are not giving up on anything,’ said Hook.

‘It angers me when people spread rumours about Borough wanting to drop down the leagues.

‘We will always play at the highest level we can.

‘If we get out of relegation trouble we will stay in National League South.

‘Talk of us looking to drop down to the Wessex League is absolute nonsense.’

After a goalless first half at Welling, Borough conceded almost immediately from the restart.

That left them chasing the game and in the end they were well beaten.

Gosport Borough: Jordan, Lanahan (Bailey, 57min), Sanders, Oastler, Bird, Lea, Carmichael (Martin, 67min), Harding, Suraci (Brice, 57min), Lee, Wright. Att: 450