Gretna faced with oblivion if funding is not found today

Gretna could face extinction as early as lunchtime today – and disappear immediately from Scottish football – unless their administrators, formally appointed yesterday, raise £30,000 emergency funding by midday.

"We need £30,000 to enable the club to fulfil its fixture on Saturday against Aberdeen," said David Elliot of Wilson Field, a Sheffield-based firm of insolvency practitioners.

"That is emergency funding for wages and overnight stay and transport. Unless Gretna get £30,000 by lunchtime [today], the club is finished."

Gretna enjoyed a meteoric rise to join the Scottish Premier League this season after three successive promotions. They have been funded entirely by owner-benefactor, Brooks Mileson, 60, who has had sole authority for all financial matters.

This season has been poor on the pitch, with Gretna bottom of the SPL and, after a 10-point deduction for entering administration, with only six points and guaranteed to be relegated, if they survive at all.

Mileson's contracting of a brain infection – the latest in a string of life-threatening illnesses – triggered the current crisis. All funding has been cut, the club's debts are around £4m, the players have not been paid for a week, and there is no certainty of any future finance.

"Gretna is a loss-making club that has survived only because of its benefactor," said Elliot, who said Gretna are effectively up for sale, if they still exist this evening.

Pressed on the need for £30,000, he said: "If people cannot be paid then – and this is emotive – I'll have to stop [trying to save the club] ... This is critical. It's not a bluff."

Gretna's directors passed a resolution at a board meeting last Friday to place the club into administration. It was anticipated that Gretna would survive until at least the end of the season, with help from an advance on SPL television money, due at the end of the season.

But Elliot revealed the club had already had, and spent, "a considerable amount" of advanced funds, and that a further £100,000 was available only if Gretna can guarantee they can last the season.

Given that each "home" match at Fir Park, where they share with Motherwell, costs £22,000, and that wages are around £20,000-£30,000 per week, that seems unlikely. Mass redundancies are expected.

Elliot said talks were being held with an unidentified party to secure the £30,000 emergency funding but there were no guarantees this will be secured.

Elliot added: "The club is under immense pressure from creditors. The main creditor is the Inland Revenue who are owed £350,000 by the club and it was their intention to take that debt into court on Monday [of this week]."

According to Elliot, the Inland Revenue was ready to issue a winding-up petition or a provisional liquidation order. Among others owed money are two former managers, one claiming £800,000 and another £100,000. Hire-purchase payments on cars are outstanding, and Elliot anticipates further claims.

If Gretna go out of business, it is likely to have a huge impact further up the league. It seems highly probable that all points won against them this season would be taken from the SPL's 11 other clubs. This would almost certainly impact on the chase for European places next season.

Fourth-placed Dundee United have taken only three points from three games against Gretna, while Motherwell, in third, have taken nine. The SPL has yet to confirm what action will be taken if Gretna go bust.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea