‘2012 may see end for some clubs’

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A FOOTBALL insolvency expert has warned that failing clubs could be shut down in 2012 as several start the New Year in dire financial straits.

Brendan Guilfoyle, of The P&A Group, who has handled football insolvencies at Leeds United, Crystal Palace, Luton Town and recently Plymouth Argyle, said that it may no longer be financially viable to save some clubs.

Mr Guilfoyle and his colleagues at P&A, based in Sheffield, have created a new model for future football insolvencies following the sale of Plymouth Argyle Football Club last autumn. The deal to sell the club took more than six months and, according to Mr Guilfoyle, “penalised players, staff and advisers”.

He said: “P&A is planning a new model that will be fairer on everyone, more realistic about the chances of saving a failing club and make the process quicker and more transparent.”

The proposed P&A plan will focus on three key areas – no secrecy and more transparency; involving fans and other stakeholders from the start of the process; setting a month’s time limit for a prospective purchaser to come up with all necessary funds.

In a blog on whether football clubs are worth saving, Mr Guilfoyle said: “At the outset of any administration we will be realistic with everyone – fans, creditors, players and staff – spelling out exactly what the prospects are for a rescue. The market has changed and is getting worse; we can no longer assume we can find buyers for football clubs. We also need everyone to understand what could scupper a potential purchaser. At Plymouth Argyle two potential buyers withdrew because of campaigns run by fans.”