Hereford United: We lost £600,000 on Bulls - Andy Lonsdale

Hereford United
Hereford United were expelled from the Football Conference in June 2014 before folding in December

Former Hereford United chairman Andy Lonsdale says he and fellow London businessman Tommy Agombar lost "in excess of £600,000" following their ill-fated investment in the Bulls.

But Lonsdale admitted they bought the now defunct club in a bid to make money.

"There's a good business there. Promoting youngsters, bringing them through, then selling them on.

"That was what we went there to buy and it's cost us a lot of money," he said.

"You need a showcase and we had that as they were a Conference Premier club to sell on to bigger clubs."

In his first interview with BBC Hereford & Worcester since the Bulls were wound up at the Royal Courts of Justice last month, Lonsdale blamed supporters for the club's collapse.

The decline and fall of the Bulls
After staying up in remarkable circumstances on the final day of last season, the Hereford United Supporters' Trust offered to buy the club for £1 and clear their £220,000 debts. But owner David Keyte opted instead to sell to Tommy Agombar. Eight days later, they were expelled from the Conference for failing to pay football creditors. Agombar then stood down as a director, leaving Andy Lonsdale in charge.
Having been accepted into the Southern League, the club spent the rest of 2014 under threat of liquidation, with the case adjourned eight times. Their final game was a 1-1 draw at Dunstable on 13 December and six days later, they were wound up.

He claimed the hostility of fans on social media after they took over the Bulls from David Keyte, had scuppered their plans for the club.

"What we didn't take into account was the fans, the hidden agenda.

"When we went there, we were hell-bent on keeping the club running, but it's come out now that the phoenix club was actually formed in Feb 2014, even before we started talking to David Keyte and they tried to drive us out of the club.

"They knew what they were after," he said.

Lonsdale added that having found out the full extent of the club's debts, he advised Agombar not to proceed with the purchase.

"Basically, when Tommy Agombar took over in May, I was just an adviser at the start, helping him.

"We were told by David Keyte that the debt was £300,000. That quickly rose to £1.2 or £1.3m, We actually advised him not to do it but he decided to carry on with it," he said.

"Later on, he made me chairman then I became director, then major shareholder before it all went wrong in December."

Meanwhile, Herefordshire Council have revealed that the north and south stands at either end of the former club's Edgar Street home have been excluded from the leasing deal which is being put together with Hereford FC,external-link the phoenix club being set up following United's demise.

"The end terraces have been excluded from the lease as they require considerable expenditure to bring them up to a safe and usable condition," said a council statement. "There is sufficient capacity in the east and west stands to meet the likely spectator capacity.

"There are no firm plans for these areas at present. Any future plans for the stands and how they can best support football will be discussed with the preferred tenants."