Insolvent professional football club ‘could have paid creditors’; anger at ‘phoenix-like’ Thomas Cook relaunch; and ICSM Credit slams the furlough fraudsters

Pic: Cheshire Live

Insolvent professional football club ‘could have paid creditors’; anger at ‘phoenix-like’ Thomas Cook relaunch; and ICSM Credit slams the furlough fraudsters

Macclesfield FC may not be Manchester United FC but to their supporters they are of equal importance. The club have gone bust leaving the town without their team known as the ‘silk men’ due to the community’s famous trade in fine textiles. In court it quickly became apparent the owner had been less than transparent about recent financial events.

Pic Sportsmole

Something ‘not right’ in Macclesfield

After 146 years of football Macclesfield Town FC has been wound up in the High Court today (September 16) with half a million pounds of debt.

The BBC reported: “Judge Sebastian Prentis made a winding-up order during a hearing in the Insolvency and Companies Court after being told £190,000 was owed in tax. In addition, a solicitor for John Askey said the National League club's ex-manager was owed £173,000, while a financial lender was owed the same sum. The club's owner Amar Alkadhi had asked for a further eight-week adjournment.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said essentially the creditors and the taxman eventually ran out of patience with the owner as time and again they could have been paid with the winding-up petition, having been adjourned 12 times.

The club founded in 1874 had gained promotion EFL twice since 1997 but had been booted out following problems last year. Players went on strike when they were not paid and youth players were brought in to play for free. However some fixtures couldn’t be fulfilled and the team were expelled from the league.

“It’s very sad for the town of Macclesfield but it’s another case of financial mismanagement,” said Ian Carrotte. “Something wasn’t right as the owner claimed in court to have more than a million pounds to pay everyone but the judge didn’t buy it. There were unpaid invoices from a range of suppliers, a tax bill and unpaid wages and expenses. ICSM Credit had heard warnings about this from suppliers for more than a year and it was a classic case of a club run without any credit control.”

He said it was now up to others to see if they could reform the club as had happened at Accrington Stanley and Newport County but the existing set up was gone.

Anger as Chinese firm relaunches Thomas Cook

The Chinese travel outfit Fosun Tourism Group has relaunched Thomas Cook as an online travel agent sparking anger amongst some former workers, customers and suppliers.

Travel Weekly said the firm had obtained its Atol licence wo were good to go following the purchase of the website, name and social media sites by Fosun. The trade journal reported: “It is being run in the UK by a team including former Thomas Cook group strategy and technology director Alan French as chief executive and former head of sales, e-commerce and marketing Phil Gardner as chief commercial officer. About 50 staff are being employed, many of whom worked for Cook before its collapse. All are working remotely for now. It will operate purely online at, with an initial focus on three-to-five-star product in destinations on the UK government’s ‘safe lists’. It will use a trust model to ring-fence payments.”

Former staff, suppliers and customers however were not so happy as when the firm went bust last year 150,000 British tourists had to be flown home by the Civil Aviation Authority, many lost their beach weddings, thousands were kicked out of their hotel rooms abroad and had to make their own way back and 9,000 staff were canned. Some have taken to social media to vent their anger with one supplier demanding the Chinese firm pays all the unpaid creditors.

Ian Carrotte said: “Although strictly speaking it is not a phoenix company, it is certainly phoenix like in the fact that many of the management team are back in post. It will not help the image of a once respected company as it attempts a rebirth. I strongly advise any supplier approached by the new set up to be very cautious.”

Pic Ian Carrotte

Ian Carrotte: furlough fraud must be investigated

The police have been making a string of arrests over fraudster company bosses misusing the furlough scheme while the taxman are looking at thousands of dodgy claims.

Ian Carrotte said he was angry that the vast majority of SMEs who had not qualified for any of the Government hand-outs had been forced to fend for themselves relying on savings to get them through the lock-down.

The Guardian’s Rajeev Syal reported today (September 16): “HMRC is examining 27,000 ‘high-risk’ claims, with a number of criminal investigations into suspected fraud now under way, the prime minister’s spokesman has said. Two people were arrested in Walthamstow, north west London, last week suspected of a £70,000 fraud.

“Officers from the Met and Suffolk Police seized more than £110,000 in crypto-currency in August believed to have come from the bounce-back loan scheme. A 35-year-old woman was arrested in Ipswich on suspicion of fraud and money laundering. Detectives found mule bank accounts – used to transfer criminal cash on behalf of others – had allegedly been used to receive the proceeds of fraudulent applications to the scheme.”

Ian Carrotte said it was to be expected that when the Government were allocating the £3.5bn package to support business that some rogues would ‘try it on.’

“It’s the sheer scale of the fraud I find difficult to take,” he said, “Anecdotally I’ve heard of scores of stories of unscrupulous directors claiming furlough for their staff but still expecting them to work from home. And there have been reports in the trade press of bosses claiming higher salaries for staff than they are paid and keeping the difference.”

The Government’s watchdog the National Audit Office said it will investigate procurement as well as MPs and members of the media have raised concerns over pop-up companies claiming to manufacture PPE gaining lucrative contracts and then failing to deliver the equipment.

Rajeev Syal reported: “The head of Whitehall’s spending watchdog has warned ministers there will be ‘no excuse’ if billions of pounds worth of fraud within government schemes continues under a second coronavirus lockdown.”

ICSM Credit are concerned that legitimate suppliers of PPE have not been able to secure contracts due to the bogus firms using ‘the old boy network’ to secure deals.

“Around a million self-employed freelancers and one man bands could not get any help from the Government,” said Ian Carrotte, “but these fraudsters by their actions have put many of these legitimate business people into financial difficulties and even sent some SMEs under.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel - while at the moment there's a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach - ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website or email Ian at on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

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