After seven months of decreasing ambitions, Sven Goran Eriksson's improbable sojourn at Notts County reached its end last night after the club was taken over.
The Swede stepped down as director of football in the wake of Peter Trembling's resignation after the chairman signed over his 90 per cent share in the club to a consortium fronted by Ray Trew, a former chairman of Lincoln City. Eriksson is likely, though, to retain a connection with the club in an honorary role as the improbably titled joint life president.
The consortium's most pressing concern will be to ensure County settle all debts, including a £324,000 tax bill. Last month they were granted a 28-day reprieve by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs giving them until 24 February to pay up. The extension was granted on the understanding that a new investor had been found who would provide the necessary funds.
"I am absolutely certain I can do something with this club," said Trew, who left Lincoln in 2007. "But I might upset a few fans. The problem with this club is that it has been living beyond its means and that cannot go on. We have to build a club here that is secure for the future generations and that means we will have to make some serious decisions."
Jim Rodwell, a former non-league player and chairman of Boston United when the club went into administration three years ago, is believed to be taking over as the League Two club's chief executive.
Eriksson was dramatically brought to England's oldest league club in July as director of football when Munto Finance took over amid promises of million-pound investments and a long-term plan to reach the Premier League. But the funds never materialised and apart from an embarrassingly brief stay by Sol Campbell, neither did the big-name signings. Munto were bought out by Trembling for £1 in December but Eriksson unexpectedly remained at the club. Trembling concentrated on hunting out new investors as the club's problems mounted – yesterday it was revealed they owe Nottingham Rugby Club £37,000 – and has now sold out for another nominal £1 fee.
"I have said all along that for relatively little investment and the capability to build thereafter, this opportunity represents one of the best, pound for pound in football," said Trembling in a statement. "The new owners are not of the £25m-plus ilk but they do know the football business and most importantly have sufficient funds available to ensure the immediate survival of this club. The club was left in a desperate situation courtesy of Munto Finance and at the appropriate time I will reveal more information as to what happened here."
County are currently seventh, the last play-off position, and take on Fulham in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
Eriksson has been linked with other jobs almost since the day he arrived, most notably reports that he was lined up to take North Korea to the World Cup finals, and he may yet find himself in South Africa this summer in charge of Nigeria.Reuse content