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Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Sunday, 30 March 2008 20:36 UK

Irons fears the worst for Gretna

By Clive Lindsay

Brooks Mileson and Davie Irons celebrate promotion
Mileson and Irons had happier times at Gretna

Morton manager Davie Irons does not expect to be facing his former club, Gretna, next season, even if he saves his present one from relegation.

Defeat by St Mirren confirmed Gretna's own relegation - a couple of weeks after they went into administration.

And Irons told BBC Sport: "I hope I am facing Gretna next season in Division One as it would mean we had stayed up.

"But, from what I have heard, I don't think they will survive and it doesn't give me any pleasure to say that."

Irons is still mystified at the turn of events that led to Gretna's cash crisis this season.

Owner Brooks Mileson had financed their rise from non-league football in England and through three promotions north of the border to reach the Scottish Premier League last May.

But his backing was withdrawn this month and Irons' own departure to Morton was followed by redundancy for 22 players, as well as coaches and other backroom staff.

"It was a situation that nobody foresaw coming until a week before it actually happened," said Irons.

Brooks' illness must be so bad that he can't do anything about the Gretna situation

Former Gretna manager
Davie Irons

"Things were happening that we were not aware of as we were concentrating on the football side of things."

Mileson has not been seen in public since taking ill shortly before Gretna went into administration.

"He was so proud of everybody at Gretna and that's where the confusion lies," said Irons.

"I still don't think that Brooks would walk away from Gretna.

"His illness must be so bad that he can't do anything about the Gretna situation, otherwise it is bizarre.

"He was seriously ill at the start of last season but we carried on."

Irons still keeps in touch with friends at the club or who have just been made redundant but is unable to shed light on the details of the crisis.

"The only contact I have had recently was a text from Brooks' son passing his condolences for the death of my father," said Irons.

"Either the funds have dried up or Brooks has decided enough is enough.

"But everybody was led to believe that the man had a fortune.

"He is not the kind of guy to go on about being rich, but the impression given was that he was a wealthy, wealthy man.

"He said that there would be a club there even after he had gone.

"But something has happened and that's the factor that nobody really knows."


Some had criticised Irons' decision to leave for Cappielow.

"It had started to become apparant that things were not very healthy at the club," he said.

"It was not the case that I jumped ship. It was a case of having to look after myself and my family and I was fortunate enough to be approached by another club.

"It's obviously very sad what has happened, especially for the staff who have been there for a long time."

Relegation from Division One could be cancelled should Gretna go out of business at the end of the season.

"There are a lot of permutations, but I would not want to stay up by default," added Irons.

"We are second bottom and face a fight in our last four games, but I believe we can stay up, although Livingston and Clyde will be thinking that too."

see also
St Mirren 2-0 Gretna
29 Mar 08 |  Scottish Premier
Queen of the South 0-0 Morton
29 Mar 08 |  Scottish League

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