SHEFFIELD United are taking Worksop Town to court over an unpaid bill for a loan player in the 2007/08 season.
Young goalkeeper Steve Hernandez was loaned to Tigers by the Blades, before leaving the league club and joining Peter Rinkcavage’s Worksop on a permanent deal.
But United confirmed to the Guardian this week that they are chasing cash owed to them from the loan.
Finance director Craig Burns said: “I can confirm we are pursuing a long overdue debt from Worksop Town FC, we have endeavoured to be as flexible as possible since the debt initially arose back in season 2007/08.”
“We have worked closely with Worksop to assist them in settling this debt initially through a contra deal whereby part of the balance due was offset against ground hire.”
“However as continued negotiations have failed to result in settlement of the debt and even following SUFC participating in a pre-season friendly at Worksop Town which generated sufficient funds to clear this debt, SUFC have been left with no other alternative than to pursue this debt like any other debt owed to the club.”
But Tigers owner Jason Clark, who took over the reigns from previous chairman John Hepworth in 2010, claimed the Blades were not co-operative after he attempted to negotiate the bill.
He said: “This is an alleged debt that pre-dates my time at the club by a few years.”
“I have discussed this with SUFC and they have insisted on full payment, despite the significant gaps in the paperwork to sustain their view.”
“I have also offered to either come to an agreement on a reduced amount, by way of settlement, which they have declined.”
The Chesterfield businessman continued: “In addition I have offered to utilise future pre-season friendlies to fund this, they have said this is not acceptable and that there will be no more pre-season friendlies anyway.”
“They also insisted on taking 50 per cent of the profits from the recent pre-season friendly, which defeats the object of having it in the first place.”
Clark, who has overseen a return to Sandy Lane this season, was adamant that the issue between his club and Sheffield United was the least of his concerns at present.
“Given the challenges that Worksop has been through in recent years, I am more interested in focusing on the positives, such as the upcoming Macmillan fundraiser, than I am worrying about a long standing dispute such as this.”
“If they want to pursue court action, that is their perogative,” he added.