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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 22:25 GMT
Wrexham FC in administration
Wrexham director Dave Bennett (right) arriving at court on Friday

Wrexham Football Club have been put into administration, after being granted an order at the High Court.

Owner Alex Hamilton has rejected several offers to buy the club.

Wrexham's directors made their application for administration to a judge in Manchester. They believe it will save the club from closure.

The club have become the first to be deducted 10 points by the Football League as a punishment, but they have vowed to appeal.

Losing the points has dropped the club from 16th in League One to 22nd, or last but two.

Wrexham FC owe 900,000 to the Inland Revenue, and going into administration would hold off liquidation.

The Pryce Griffiths Stand
Wrexham is the oldest football league club in Wales

Director Dave Bennett said after the hearing: "I think the lawyer summed it up, when he said that we weren't going into administration to take advantage of the creditors but to save the club.

"The judge said at the end that we deserved to survive as a club, one that is 132 years old and I'm proud of that."

Secretary Geraint Parry said the club were struggling to pay players.

"We need to know where we are going. If administration is the process which takes us forward, then so be it," he said.

On the pitch, Wrexham travel away to Scunthorpe in the second round of the FA Cup on Friday night.

Manager Denis Smith said of the points deduction, wich takes the club into the League One relegation zone: "We can try (to appeal) but it's the first time it's happened.

"We don't know how the league would view (it) but if they looked at it sensibly they might look at us with sympathy."

It emerged in court that there was a third party interested in buying the club, but directors would not be drawn on whether it was one of the original bids or a fresh offer.

Administration means that a court-appointed accountant takes over the financial control of the club from its directors
The administrator tries to find a settlement with the club's creditors or to sell the club as a going concern
In the last 11 seasons, 34 Football League clubs have gone into administration, 12 since the collapse of ITV Digital
As well as a 10-point deduction, new League rules will not allow clubs to be in adminstration for longer than 18 months or two successive seasons.

Steve Williams, from administrators Begbies Traynor, said: "There are interested parties but as we're aware there are no formal offers as yet.

"Some people came on the scene yesterday and there was talk of an 11th-hour injection of cash to prevent today's hearing from happening or to ensure postponement.

"That didn't materialise, although we understand those people remain interested and perhaps the administration will allow that to follow through."

He said that he understood from a discussion earlier with owner Alex Hamilton that he was in "serious discussions with one particular party and he suggested that perhaps an announcement might be made in the next few days".

Mr Williams also maintained that selling players was not a priority for the survival of the club.

"If bids (for players) come forward we`ve naturally got to consider those,"

He added: "But at the moment we`re not saying player sales are essential to ensure the survival of the club. At this stage it`s not envisaged."

Mr Hamilton has turned down bids by Wrexham Supporters' Trust to buy the club.

Owner Alex Hamilton and one-time business partner Mark Guterman
Alex Hamilton (left) did not consider an offer from Mark Guterman

Former chairman Mark Guterman withdrew his latest offer to buy the club last month, claiming Mr Hamilton had refused to accept it within a reasonable time.

Responding to that approach, Mr Hamilton said he did not consider the offer because he did not believe that Mr Guterman had the money and challenged Mr Guterman to name his financial backers.

He also said an average gate of 4,000 Wrexham supporters could pay off the debt to the Inland Revenue if they each put up 225.

He called on the fans to follow him "into the gunfire of the creditors".

The club has seven days to lodge an appeal against the points deduction, which would then be considered by an independent panel.

John Nagle, head of communications at the Football League, said: "The sporting sanction itself is not intended as a punishment but rather as an attempt to balance the competitive advantage clubs receive by ridding themselves of debt.

"This sanction, which is fully supported by our member clubs, is designed to have a deterrent effect and to make directors more accountable to supporters for the way they run their clubs."


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