Cherries: Big Halloween crowd could finally scare off the tax man

29 October 2009 07:00
CHERRIES chairman Eddie Mitchell says a bumper Halloween attendance could help the club finally rid itself of the dreaded tax man.

Mitchell insists the extra income from a 6,000-plus crowd for the visit of Rochdale on Saturday would go a long way to clearing the clubs outstanding debt to HM Revenue and Customs.

He was speaking after Cherries were yesterday given the go-ahead by the High Court in London to make a payment to the Revenue, the clubs most pressing creditor.

His comments also come on the eve of Cherries last home game before the club returns to court on November 16 for D-day on a winding-up petition, brought by HMRC over unpaid taxes of around £400,000.

Mitchell told the Daily Echo: We have been given permission to make a payment towards clearing the legacy debt and it will reduce it to £150,000. Were hoping to make another payment next week and that would reduce it even further.

We have got to get this debt paid by the middle of November, otherwise we could find ourselves in hot water.

If we could get an extra 1,000 through the turnstiles on Saturday that would go straight to the tax man as well. I am confident we will get there but we need people coming through the gate.

Unless we have an FA Cup replay or a second round tie, this is our last home game for five weeks so we need to get the numbers up because the income is going to dry up.

Although Cherries have the fifth highest average attendance in League Two (5,441), they have only attracted a 6,000-plus crowd once this season 6,327 against Burton Albion in September.

And despite topping the table continuously for more than six weeks, little more than 5,000 home supporters turned out for the 3-1 win over Grimsby five days ago.

Mitchell added: We need a good crowd, not just for the finances but to ensure we remain at the top of the table. Everybody associated with the club wants promotion.

If this team continues its excellent start and goes on to win promotion, we would need gates of 7,000-8,000 to compete in the top half of the league above so why not start practising that now.

Mitchell confirmed the club had not been given permission to pay its current VAT and PAYE liability to HMRC but said sufficient funds were available to do so.

Meanwhile, Cherries will be holding their first £5,000 cash draw at half-time during the Rochdale match with tickets, priced at £5, on sale at the ground.

Source: Bournemouth_Echo