Waterford United’s survival in the Airtricity League was confirmed yesterday after an application to wind up the football club was struck out.
The First Division club’s former first team manager, Stephen Henderson, had petitioned the High Court to have WUFC Operations Ltd, the company which operates the six-time league champions, liquidated. However Justice Mary Laffoy struck out the petition following after Henderson’s barrister Stephen O’Connor confirmed an agreement had been reached.
The club faced the possibility of being wound up after they failed to pay an original court order of €37,600 and legal costs to the Cobh man last December. Blues fans raised the money in the hours before the hearing and pledged a further €10,000 within the space of six months, which is said to be a telling factor in Henderson’s decision to accept an agreement.
A club statement read: “[The club is] very happy that the ongoing High Court dispute was finally resolved to the satisfaction of both parties and that the club can now move on and look at the future.”
Waterford United went onto pay tribute to their legal team and the FAI but paid a special tribute to the fans.
“The club would particularly like to thank the Blues fans. So many of whom have put their hands in their pockets over the last couple of days and dug deep once again to help their club.
“Waterford United FC can now move forward in fulfilling its obligations and look to the future one more, starting with this Friday’s Airtricity League fixture at Salthill Devon, and the friendly against Crystal Palace at the RSC on Saturday.”
Also speaking at the High Court in Dublin, Russell Dalton an avid fan of Waterford United, who was one of the fans behind the pledge of money to Henderson said: “We could not have done it without the fans and the huge effort of all fans.
“We’ve got donations from other club’s fans, some from Dundalk and from people who people who have been through a similar situation that we’ve been through. We got donations from all over the world. We still have a long, long way to go, so we have to push on with the effort, as we still have an obligation to meet.
“It must be known that, and I gather that the club will acknowledge, the work that us five people here did, in getting where we are today. If we hadn’t stepped in, only last Saturday, we could be having a completely different ending here today.
“We are deeply upset and embarrassed the way things have gone and how far they’ve gone. This is a ridiculous situation and we can never be in this situation again.
“It’s all about the fans, at the end of the day, they’ve been absolutely fantastic. People gave in a month’s salary. The dedication shown by the fans has been phenomenal and on behalf of the five of us here, and everybody who supports Waterford United, thank you very much, but we still need your help,” said Dalton.
Henderson had some strong words to say when he left the court. “I’m glad it’s all over and I’m glad that the fans will still have football in Waterford but it should have never gone this far.”
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