THE taxman has issued a claim for a winding up order which could threaten the survival of Kettering Town Football Club.

The petition by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs requesting the winding up of Kettering Town Football Club Management Ltd was made public yesterday.

A hearing to discuss the winding up order is due to be held at the Royal Courts of Justice at 10.30am on February 6.

The HMRC says the club has not paid a tax bill, but has declined to say how much it is owed.

An HMRC spokesman said: “We cannot comment on specific cases due to taxpayer confidentiality. However, ensuring tax is paid in full and on time should be at the centre of football’s business strategy just as it should be for any other enterprise.

“HMRC does not initiate winding up football clubs lightly, however we will not hesitate to do so when that is the right way to protect the country’s tax revenues and other creditors.”

The petition to wind up the company was first presented by the Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs on December 9.

The order states: “Any persons intending to appear on the hearing of the petition, whether to support or oppose it, must give notice of intention to do so to the petitioners or to their solicitor by 4pm on February 3.”

Kettering Town chairman Imraan Ladak could not be contacted to comment on the development.

The news comes at the end of a dramatic week for the Poppies, which saw manager Mark Stimson replaced by former boss Mark Cooper on Wednesday.

In an interview with the Evening Telegraph, Cooper said he had returned to the club after being assured that new investment was on the way which could help secure the club’s future.

The club is still operating under a transfer embargo imposed by the Football Conference after failing to pay players on time over recent months.

Cooper is only working for expenses and is managing the club on a caretaker basis until the end of the season.

Fan and scoreboard operator Chris Knight, 35, of Titchmarsh, said: “Unfortunately at the moment I can’t see the wood from the trees, and I think this is the end.

“I think this is terminal. The only chance now is if a consortium or someone who wants to buy the club comes forward.

“And if there is, have they been made aware of this? “I think it is going to force the situation and I think by Monday we will know exactly what is going on.

“It is very sad news. But I will still be going to the Telford game hoping for a win.”