County cling on to life support hope

Andy Tilley
Sunday 29 September 2013 05:56

The administrator Paul Finnity is cautiously confident that fan power will save Notts County from looming extinction. Crisis-hit County, at 141 years the oldest professional football club in the world, face expulsion from the Second Division on Monday if the Football League's board of directors are unconvinced by plans for a takeover.

The Meadow Lane club have spent a record 15 months in administration with the latest takeover proposal being dependent on Notts County Supporters' Trust raising £250,000 to help bankroll the rescue package. Finnity is optimistic supporters from all over the country will rally to the Magpies' cause.

He said: "While we have one or two things still to finalise before the meeting of the Football League board, we're cautiously confident there won't be any last-minute hitches and a deal acceptable to all parties will be agreed.

"However, to finalise the deal the Notts County Supporters' Trust need to raise £250,000, which they are hopeful of securing following declarations of financial support from fans of other football clubs.

"We are fully behind this initiative by the Notts County Supporters' Trust to hold money-raising activities at football grounds up and down the country. Any financial help provided by football fans around the country will be greatly appreciated and truly demonstrates the football community wants Notts County to be saved."

Finnity added: "We've made some significant progress following some very fruitful discussions these last few days. We're more confident now than at any time in the last month we will have a deal that can satisfy the requirements of the Football League.

"Full credit should be given to the consortium who came forward at short notice when it became apparent that the previous deal could not be successfully concluded to the satisfaction of the League. In addition, the City Council have been amazingly supportive and are wholeheartedly behind this consortium."

County had hoped to emerge from administration during August but a £3m takeover package fronted by businessmen Raj Bhatia and Frank Strang collapsed at the 11th hour. The League granted the Magpies a month's stay of execution after their former director Derek Pavis persuaded another consortium to step into the breach, but the financing behind that second deal fell through.

Now Pavis has helped to broker a third initiative which relies on the £250,000 contribution from supporters. Mark Durkin, the Supporters' Trust treasurer, said: "The level of support given to us from fans of other clubs has been absolutely phenomenal. Regardless of their own allegiance, fans are making it clear that, for the good of football as a whole, the world's oldest club must not disappear.

"At many grounds supporters' trusts will be holding fund-raising activities to demonstrate their support.

This is an opportunity for all fans to do their part to help in our fight to save a unique part of football heritage."

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