League One Plymouth Argyle are staring administration and a subsequent points deduction in the face as the creditors circle in what could be the end of the almost 115 year-old club. The Pilgrims' season has been a tale of financial troubles, with their board desperately seeking some sort of outside investment, but the (repeatedly) promised funds have never materialised and they've had to resort to selling players and taking loans from their supporters group in order to remain operational. Unfortunately, that looks set to come to an end shortly, as they look unlikely to be able to pay a £300,000 tax bill from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and thus may soon face another winding-up petition from the courts*.
*i.e. be put into liquidation.
In order to avoid that ignominy, the club looks like it may be forced to go into administration fairly shortly with an eye to sell their ground, Home Park, which should provide enough funds for the team to operate for the rest of the season while the club looks for new ownership. Plymouth have already begun the search for an administrator, although the club is not yet in administration, according to their management. A statement on their website today reads:
The directors of Plymouth Argyle Football Club have today issued a 'Notice of Intention' to appoint an administrator as they continue to seek a solution to the company's current cash flow problems.
This action gives the club protection from insolvency action from creditors, whilst at the same time allowing the directors the opportunity to turn current expressions of interest into a permanent and lasting solution for the club.
While entering administration does alleviate the immediate concern of being wound up, it comes at a high cost in the footballing world. By taking this step, the Pilgrims see their points total slashed from 33 to 23, which drops them to bottom of the table in League One and almost certain candidates for relegation (they're currently 19th of 24), a blow which may prove as fatal to the club as liquidation. It would be a very sad end to a club with more than a century of history to its name - it seems as though outside investment must be found, and fast, for the team to survive.