Gretna to enter administration due to £4m debt

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The Independent Football

The fairytale of Gretna evaporated yesterday with the announcement that the SPL's bottom club is to enter administration. They have unsustainable debts of around £4m. When administrators are formally appointed, probably tomorrow, Gretna will be deducted 10 points, hastening their inevitable relegation.

The club's parlous state has arisen because their owner-benefactor, Brooks Mileson, 60, has been, and remains, seriously ill after a brain infection. He held sole authority for all the club's financial payments, and a club source said yesterday that Mileson's lawyers now have power of attorney, and have halted any further financing.

Gretna won three successive promotions to reach the SPL for a first time this season. They also reached the 2006 Scottish Cup final, earning Uefa Cup football last season. But a club statement said yesterday: "[Mileson's] financing has enabled the club to achieve unprecedented success in Scottish football.

"However, due to ill health, he is currently not in a position to facilitate further financing. Following a board meeting on Friday 7 March, the directors passed a resolution to place the club into administration."

Gretna are ground-sharing with Motherwell this season because their Raydale Park home is unfit for SPL football. Floodlight deficiencies also make it currently unfit for First Division football, meaning Gretna might fold completely or be forced out of league football, although they should finish this season.

Fraser Wishart, the chief executive of the Scottish players' union, was at the club yesterday and said the club's players wanted urgent clarification on their futures. Redundancies across the club are expected. "I met with the players this morning and they were in good spirits but they are in limbo," Wishart said. "The players don't want their futures played out in the press, they are looking for clarity and they had a barrage of questions for me. I'm guessing that there will be casualties but we hope that they are kept to a minimum."