Matt Le Tissier's bid to become Southampton chairman is over with the south-coast club now days from going out of business.
Saints legend Le Tissier, the hero of many a relegation battle as a player, will not be the club's saviour off the field after the Pinnacle consortium he was backing pulled out of the running to take control.
Administrator Mark Fry is now thought to be left with two potential buyers - but said last week he would have to consider starting to wind up the club by Friday.
Le Tissier revealed the takeover had been scuppered due to an impasse with the Football League over the 10-point penalty imposed after the club's holding company went into administration.
In a statement, the former midfielder, 40, said: "It is with great regret and frustration due to ongoing issues with the Football League that I, and in turn those behind the Pinnacle consortium, decided to withdraw our interest in purchasing Southampton Football Club.
"With the ongoing issues with the Football League persisting, our backers have simply refused to provide the requisite funds to complete the takeover.
"I would like to thank (Pinnacle boss) Tony Lynam for all his hard work and the others who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for Southampton Football Club.
"I hope beyond hope that Mark Fry can find a buyer for the club.
"We were unaware of the issues with the Football League when we entered into our agreement to purchase the club and them coming to light so late in the day has resulted in our backers' decision not to proceed under the terms on offer."