Accountant in Barnet rescue bid

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DAVID BUCHLER, one of Britain's leading insolvency practitioners, has offered to inject pounds 250,000 of his own money into Barnet, the struggling second division football club knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea last week, in order to save it from collapse.

A proposal from Mr Buchler, a former director of Tottenham Hotspur and senior partner of accountants Buchler Phillips, is to be put to a creditors meeting on Wednesday. The club is losing around pounds 300,000 a year, needs pounds 500,000 to be spent on ground improvements and is rooted to the bottom of the second division.

Mr Buchler has offered pounds 250,000 to pay creditors owed pounds 1.7m, allowing the club to be saved under a company voluntary arrangement. The proposal is understood to have the backing of the Inland Revenue, which is owed pounds 500,000. But its success depends on the votes of the former chairman, Stan Flashman, the self-proclaimed 'king of the touts' who was declared bankrupt in August after failing to pay a VAT demand for just pounds 8,182.

However, there is controversy over who will be able to vote on behalf of Mr Flashman, who claims to be owed pounds 500,000 by the club. His trustee in bankruptcy, Alan Price of the accountants Casson Beckman, claims the votes but this is contested by Mr Flashman's wife. A mysterious third party, called Mr Davies, came forward towards the end of last week and said he was owed pounds 250,000 by Mr Flashman and should be entitled to half his votes. The decision on who has the rights to the votes falls to David Rubin, a north London accountant who would become supervisor of the CVA, which requires approval by a 75 per cent majority to succeed.

Barnet faces a winding-up petition, brought by a former director who is owed pounds 15,000. The petition has been adjourned four times.

If Mr Buchler's company voluntary arrangement fails, the winding-up will go ahead, and Barnet's creditors will receive very little.

Should Barnet go into liquidation it would lose its Endsleigh League registration, the players would be offered to other clubs on free transfers, the ground would revert back to Barnet council and the only assets would be some rather tired office furniture and second-hand football kits.

Mr Buchler's battle to take control of Barnet has already taken him to the courts. He was invited in by Stephen Glynne, who bought Mr Flashman's stake for pounds 1 only to find that Ricky George, the ex-professional footballer who took over from Mr Flashman as chairman, had redistributed two thirds of Mr Glynne's shareholding to a builder owed pounds 140,000.

Mr Glynne, with Mr Buchler's backing, went to court and had the redistribution reversed. Mr Buchler bought the shares and was appointed chairman of the club.

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