By Matt Badcock
Kevin Sturmey remembers the taxman calling not long after he’d taken over running Taunton Town along with Andy Power.
“We paid the VAT bill for the first quarter we were involved,” Sturmey says. “Then we got a letter from Customs & Excise, as it was then, with interest charges and default charges.
“I rang them up and said, ‘What the hell are you doing? We’ve paid it, can you not see it’. They said, ‘Yes, but this is from January 2009’. I thought, ‘Oh god’.”
It got worse.
“The club owed money everywhere,” Sturmey continues. “Then in 2011, when we were just moving forward, we had a fire. It wiped out our facilities which were full of asbestos. We discovered we were under-insured by £300,000. We’d inherited the policy and it was due for renewal about five days after the fire.
“We had to make two ladies redundant, we had to buy ourselves out of an option – the club had signed an option agreement on the ground for next to no money with no legal advice – so we had to negotiate with developers.
“We ended up trying to do as many deals as possible. I managed to get the person who was awarded the contract to build modular buildings, because that’s all we could afford, but I said part of the deal is, ‘You have to be our main shirt sponsor for two years’. They went bust 80 per cent of the way through the project. My vice chairman Brian Pollard picked up the tab to finish that – hence the boardroom is called the Brian Pollard Suite now.
“Without him I’d be sat here getting wet – we’d have no roof on this building. So it was a tough baptism!”
Tagged Taunton Town FC