Sheffield Wednesday on verge of administration

November 15, 2010

English soccer club,Sheffield Wednesday face a “distinct possibility” of going into administration, BBC Sport understands.

The Owls face a winding-up petition in the High Court on Wednesday over an unpaid PAYE tax bill of £600,000.

The League One club are talks with three potential buyers, and a takeover would stave off administration.

But Wednesday’s main creditor, the Co-operative Bank, may now decide to place the club into administration in order to secure the £23m owed to it.

With the taxman is also demanding VAT arrears of £300,000 by early December, administration has now become “a distinct possibility” according to a club source.

“We have a number of people who want to invest in the club, but the problem is that chairman Howard Wilkinson and chief executive Nick Parker and not in control of its destiny and are relying on the Co-op bank to do the right thing,” the source added.

One of the parties interested in acquiring the club is a UK investor, willing to inject £5m immediately in order to keep it operational for the rest of the season.

With the deadline on Wednesday looming, this is regarded by the club as the quickest solution, but the Co-op bank has yet to accept the bid as it would keep the debt levels the same.

The other two deals, while understood to be prepared to pay off some of the money owed to the bank, are more complicated, and the club fear time may run out before a deal is completed.

The identities of potential saviours remain secret, although BBC Sport understands Leicester chairman Milan Mandaric is involved with one of the bids despite a statement distancing himself from a takeover last week.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, a Sheffield MP has offered his help to keep the club afloat, and is understood to be considering talks with the Co-operative bank as the High Court hearing approaches.

In September, the 143-year-old club was saved from administration after reaching an agreement with the Co-operative bank over a £1.1m bill owed to HMRC.

But it is now thought the club’s largest secured creditor has run out of patience, and if agreement with a purchaser cannot be achieved, administration will be inevitable.

Wednesday, a top-flight force for the majority of the 1980s and 1990s, were relegated from the Championship last season.