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Hinckley AFC


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Nov 26, 2009
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Tomorrow Hinckley United could be wound up in the high court. After struggling against debts, they have had to try to find £150,000 which is owed to the former chairman. There is little hope of any investment, and it seems that the directors of Hinckley United would readily accept liquidation. Yesterday, the Knitters lost 3 - 0 at Chesham in the Southern League Premier Division. At the final whistle the players went over to the travelling fans and shook their hands and thanked them for their support, while manager Stuart Storer stood in quiet reflection in the centre circle, probably wondering what had gone wrong. So barring a last minute intervention, Hinckley United have played their final game. Many things have gone wrong for Hinckley, a team who not that long ago nearly reached the national conference. But since then the club has had severe financial problems, and after being relegated last season from the Conference North, the team are currently in the relegation zone of the SLP. No money, no players, but a loyal set of fans who just want to know why they are losing their football team.

Very sad times for football in Hinckley. Hopefully, real Hinckley people will help to reform the club.

Farewell Hinckley United, and thanks to Stuart Storer and the players, who have not been paid for weeks. I hope they all find new clubs soon, and have success wherever they go.
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sad, seen Hinckley v Corby a few times. What sort of size place in Hinckley? kills me that Corby get such poor crowds yet there will be 200 Liverpool shirts in the town centre on a weekend watching football in pubs.
About 50,000 live in Hinckley, but gates for the football team are only about 300, whereas a few years ago it was double that. The club has been bled dry, yet those responsible for their demise will probably never have to account for the mismanagement of the club.
As feared Hinckley United cease to exist. A very sad day indeed. I and many others now await news of the plans to reform the club.
I read in that article that this embodiment of the club was only formed in 1997. So if there's an appetite for a club in Hinckley they should easily be able to form another one, it's not a century plus old institution that's fallen away. They need to be mindful though of the club's natural level - too many non-league clubs get ideas above their station. You can buy success to a degree in the short term, but you can't buy support. If there's no or very minimal historic interest in a club in a certain area then you can't just generate that overnight. It's why McDons will never attract decent support for generations, people who live in Milton Keynes didn't have no interest in football whatsoever until the day at which Winkleman stole a club and then decided they were into it after all. People who live there support someone else.
Hinckley United were formed as a result of a merger between Hinckley Athletic and Hinckley Town. Athletic were the original Hinckley team and their ground was close to the town centre on Middlefield Lane. They spent most of their time in old west midlands league. Town had a ground at the back of the cricket and rugby clubs on Leicester Road. For years Town were playing in the lower reaches of the Leicestershire Senior league, but when the Downes family became involved, they quickly moved up to the central midlands league, but had little or no support from the Hinckley public, who saw Athletic as their team.
When the two amalgamated in 1997, they originally played at Middlefield Lane, and with plans in place for the club to play at the highest level of non league football, a new stadium was built and Hinckley United moved into their new home in 2006/7. The Greene King stadium is on Leicester Road and very close to the cricket and rugby clubs. United enjoyed some good success, and reached the conference north play off final, only to be beaten by Farsley Celtic. But financial problems were already appearing, problems which never went away, and just got worse and worse.
It is fair to say that Hinckley United had plans that were probably unrealistic. And in chasing their goal of the Conference they spent money they had not got, and then when the Downes family walked away from the club, it left them with massive debts. United have died a slow and painful death, and hopefully other clubs will learn from this and not go down the same route.
Thanks Frank.

From what I read it appears that the ownership of the stadium is effectively 100% in the hands of the previous owners - so I am guessing that the new club will need to find somewhere else to play? Is there scope for a small scale stadium elsewhere in Hinckley?
Thanks Frank.

From what I read it appears that the ownership of the stadium is effectively 100% in the hands of the previous owners - so I am guessing that the new club will need to find somewhere else to play? Is there scope for a small scale stadium elsewhere in Hinckley?

The ownership of the club is a very strange and complex issue. The Downes family own the main stand, but as for the rest of the ground, the all weather pitches and the youth pitches, I am not sure who owns them. I am led to believe that Hinckley United do not own anything there, and just to muddy the waters, only recently the directors moved all assets of the club into a newly formed holding company.

As for where the newco team would play, well there is no other stadium in Hinckley. So they might have to ask Barwell FC if they could ground share, something which I am sure that Barwell would reject. Which leaves us with what will happen to the current ground. One possibility I have heard is that the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council could buy the entire complex at Leicester Road, and then lease the Greene King stadium to the newco, and also lease out the all weather and youth pitches. Failing that, I cannot see where the newco could play.
Unless Coventry try and move in rather than being at Sixfields, it does seem difficult for them, especially with muddied waters about stadium ownership. Sorry to hear this about your local team Frank. It is a real shame.
I think Coventry are contractually bound to stay at Sixfields for the next two seasons after this and in any case the ground would surely need serious improvements to meet Football League criteria - the seating capacity's way too small as it is for a start.
Had a feeling that would be the case, I was just remembering Hinckley being suggested as a possible venue for the roving Coventry before the Northampton switch was confirmed.

Mind you, getting into bed with SISU would not be a good way for a phoenix club to start up.
Coventry City will not be moving in to the stadium. That will not happen, as Dan said, it will need a lot of work to meet football league standards.

The ground issue is very strange. There is a large grassed area at the top end of the complex which is owned by the Powers family in Barwell. And they have always refused to sell it to the Downes family. Local politics at work here. The Downes family have been heavily criticised over this whole sorry affair, but I do not think that they are entirely at fault. What has also come to light is that the police are investigating the finances of Hinckley United, though I am sure more information about this will be forthcoming in time. Also, why was a new holding company set up. And what assets have the club got? I would be interested to know the reason why.
Yet Nuneaton, who are just down the road, are riding high in the Conference at the moment. Is their success also built on sand? I'd hope a reformed Hinckley would have enough support to be sustainable at an appropriate level. Too many Wolves fans in Hinckley maybe? That's not just you Frank, but a large chunk of my family as well!
The thing is if you have a bit of financial backing and decent support you can sail through the lower echelons of the pyramid in no time. Halifax are back in the Conference now and they went bust in 2008. Meanwhile Stockport who we were playing in the league just over a decade ago are in the Conference North.
The statement released today by the Directors of Hinckley United:

Now that the dust has settled following the court hearing yesterday the directors of Hinckley Football Club Limited would like to thank yet again everybody that supported the club and themselves in their respective positions over the last few years.

The business went into liquidation with liabilities in excess of a million pounds and the directors ourselves had invested a significant six figure sum.

We would like to assure all that any investigation into the running or financial affairs of the football club will be fully supported by the board. If necessary and if requested we are happy to provide information to the authorities going as far back as they require.

The directors would also like to inform all supporters, sponsors and shareholders that their intention is to attempt to continue with a new football club playing at the Greene King stadium and it is our intention that they will honour, where possible, any promises that have been made to shareholders in the past.

In the coming weeks we will be working hard with the Liquidator (when appointed)and Greene King Brewery to ensure that any football club that is raised from the ashes is run professionally and financially within its means.


May I politely ask what planet these people are on? They should never be allowed anywhere near Hinckley again, let alone be part of the newco club.
My dad worked in Hinckley for many years. Sad to read about what's gone on with the football club. I go and watch Stourbridge quite a bit, I was looking forward to playing Hinckley this season.