Insolvency – Football clubs thrown a lifeline

Football league officials are meeting today to examine submissions from the four clubs currently being run by administrators as they try to prove they will be solvent by the start of the new season.

Crystal Palace, which was bought by computer entrepreneur Mark Goldberg last year, is the highest-profile club to find itself in financial trouble.

The others are Portsmouth FC, Luton Town and Chester City.

Goldberg paid £23m for Palace last summer but it now has debts of £10m.

He brought former England coach Terry Venables in as manager on a package believed to be worth more than £1m a year, though he left the club when administrators were called in earlier this year.

David Rolph, a corporate recovery partner at Moore Stephens which is acting for the club, said he was confident a buyer could be found.

‘There are several interested parties and we should be out by the beginning of the season,’ he explained. Rolph added his firm had acted for other football clubs, on the audit and corporate finance side.

He also suggested that the Football League would extend the deadline set for the clubs to the start of the football season.

A league spokesman, however, stressed it wanted clubs to be out of administration by the end of this month.

The future for Portsmouth FC looked brighter this week after its £4.6m cash sale by administrator HLB Kidsons looked to be nearing completion.

Tom Burton, a corporate recovery partner at HLB Kidsons said he was waiting for the league to ‘rubber stamp’ the new deal.

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