Gretna 'lessons' must be learnt

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, Gordon Smith, will seek talks with league officials in an attempt to prevent a repeat of Gretna's demise.

The club's resignation from the Scottish Football League was approved yesterday, 24 hours after administrators put their Raydale Park ground up for sale. Their financial collapse was precipitated in February when their owner and benefactor, Brooks Mileson, withdrew his funding after spending time in hospital with a brain infection.

The English businessman spent about £8m taking the village club from the Third Division to the SPL, but left them with debts approaching £4m, and Smith believes lessons must be learned over Mileson's role.

"Unfortunately the problem with Gretna was their success was down to the money of one person and there was no stability behind it because of that," Smith said. "That's something that maybe lessons have to be learned about, the stability in the game.

"If someone is putting a lot of money into a team and it's getting a bit of success for a while, is there any future for that team if that one person pulls out? I think all of us in Scottish football need to look at that, all the bodies, everybody involved in the game. The SFA, the SFL, the SPL will need to look very closely at these aspects of how the game is structured and financed."

The end of their six-year stay in the Scottish leagues now leaves a vacancy which East of Scotland side Spartans hope to fill. Spartans general manager, Derick Rodier, said his club will be working flat out to have their application ready for the 12 June deadline.

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