The bizarre tale of Notts County finally reached its ‘I told you so’ moment when Sven Goran Eriksson left the club last week.
Sven, who has been viewed by some as greedy, helped the club out by waiving the £2 million pay off he was due.
But what exactly went on at County? Because it seems to me that, in an era where men facing criminal charges can take control of an English side, you can also buy a club if you have no money.
A supporters’ trust saved County a few years back when they bought the club to prevent it going out of business. However, the fans were unable to raise enough funds to keep the club ticking over so they agreed to sell to the mysterious Munto Finance consortium.
This Swiss-registered, Middle Eastern consortium sounded fancy. Switzerland and the Middle East are rich right? Look at Manchester City.
But the whole thing was the idea of three blokes, one of whom has had £1.9 million of his assets frozen. Peter Trembling was the front man, giving the journalists all the sound bites they wanted to hear – five year plans, Premier League football, a new stadium, academies, things like that.
The big names turned up. Sven and Sol Campbell joined, and even Kasper Schmeichel is thought to be on at least £30,000 a week.
But the most amazing thing is the money was never there. It’s like me going into a department store, filling my boots, telling them the money to pay for it is on its way and then legging it. It doesn’t happen in the real world so why here?
Campbell must have suspected something and quit, though trudging around Morecambe’s ground probably had something to do with it as well.
The consortium had agreed to put in £5million but instead put in barely £50,000. However, contracts had been signed and money was pouring out of the club at an alarming rate.
Problems with the taxman soon followed. A winding up order was issued and the club had a transfer embargo placed on it when they couldn’t confirm who their real owners where.
The whole saga has come to an end with former Lincoln City chairman Ray Trew purchasing the County.
He has promised to try and save the club, cut the wage bill and avoid administration. But the damage has already been done, just as it has at Portsmouth.
At the start of the season Notts County’s League Two odds suggest they were destined for promotion. Now, the fans will be happy if the club survives to see another season.
There is something seriously wrong with the fit and proper persons test if unscrupulous figures like the ones at County can take charge and nearly ruin the country’s oldest Football League club.
Thankfully they didn’t, but it was too close a call and the FA must make sure it can’t happen again.
Meanwhile, in horse racing news the odds for this year’s Aintree Grand National are really starting to hot up and could be worth keeping an eye on.