Crystal Palace saved from extinction

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The Independent Football

The consortium attempting to buy Crystal Palace are confident they can proceed with their takeover after the Coca-Cola Championship club dramatically avoided extinction today.

The administrator in charge of the Eagles, who have debts of £30million, gave the CPFC 2010 group until 3pm to reach an agreement with Bank of Scotland over the purchase of the club's Selhurst Park ground before the liquidation process was due to begin.

Hundreds of Palace fans who had gathered outside the headquarters of Lloyds Bank in central London and at Selhurst Park were fearing the worst when that deadline passed.

But a deal was eventually agreed in principle to haul the 105-year old club back from the brink of going bust in the nick of time.

A statement from CPFC 2010 read: "We can now confirm that there are no material differences between ourselves and Bank of Scotland regarding the sale of Selhurst Park.

"While it is not 100% done we are confident that all the main barriers have been removed.

"We would thank the fans for their support and urge everyone at the ground to leave peacefully as we work to try to conclude things."

The takeover stalled yesterday over a clause in the contract which would see the bank receive further money if the ground was sold on in the future.

Club administrator Brendan Guilfoyle, who has no funds to pay wages and made 29 staff redundant on Friday, said he would have to begin selling players - effectively ending any hopes of the takeover being completed - unless the deal could be salvaged by this afternoon.

CPFC 2010, fronted by local businessmen Steve Parish and Martin Long, even called on Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene while local MPs also got involved.

Malcolm Wicks, the Labour MP for Croydon North which includes Selhurst Park, said: "This is great news.

"Crystal Palace is a proud club with a long history and things were looking very bleak.

"I am pleased that Lloyds Bank, (stadium administrator) PricewaterhouseCoopers and the club's administrators have now knocked together an agreement to ensure a successful takeover by the CPFC 2010 consortium.

"Some details still need to be sorted, I understand, but let's hope the club can now look ahead with confidence. It was touch and go, the equivalent of a vital goal in the 93rd minute."

Barring one or two logistical issues which need ironing out, the future of the club should now be secure.

Palace, who overcame a 10-point deduction to avoid relegation to League One on the final day of the season, now appear to have won an even bigger battle.