WREXHAM FC was just 24 hours from extinction on Tuesday, according to club directors.
A statement released through solicitors Walker Smith Way by directors David Bennett and David Griffiths reveals that the club is to petition the High Court to go into administration.
But what has really shocked supporters is that a High Court hearing set for yesterday could have seen the club liquidated - with the result that it would have been kicked out of the football league after 132 years.
That hearing, set up by the Inland Revenue to recover almost £900,000 in taxes owed by the club,was put on hold and lawyers instead went in to discuss the lodging of their petition for voluntary administration.
Clubs go into administration to safeguard their immediate future. An administrator is appointed and runs the business side of the club with excess revenue going to pay creditors. Administrators can even sell players if necessary to pay off creditors.
This painful method of stabilisation has saved many clubs, including Bradford and Leicester City.
The Football League, however, now deducts 10 points from teams that move into administration in an effort to encourage sensible budgeting.
'If an administration order is made by the court then there are adverse consequences,' said the directors' statement.
'The most obvious of which speakinging the deduction of 10 points. However, faced with the ingsative of the club ceasing to exist, the directors believe that their decision is in the best interests of the club and the continuation of League football in Wrexham.
'This is not a solution to the club's problems and is only a mechanism through which thetions can be sought.
'There is considerable hard work ahead and the directors are totally committed to continue their efforts if the club does enter administration. They will need the continued help and support of everyone involved in this matter including Wrexham Council and the Welsh Assembly.'
If the High Court moves the club into administration, it has a 10-14 day coolingoff period. If a buyer is found and can purchase the club in that time, Wrexham will avoid administration and all its penalties.
Wrexham Supporters Trust member Lindsay Jones said that hearing the club could have died this week had shaken him.
'You can't describe the feeling when you hear that your club could become extinct,' he said.
'People will now say that we are safe and trust me,the WST prefer administration to the alternative - Mark Guterman taking over - but it is not party time yet.
'We were being wound up by the Inland Revenue. According to the directors the WST have been speaking to, chairman Alex Hamilton has missed three meetings with the Revenue.
'The Revenue, as we under-stand it, are prepared to give you time to sort your finances out if you maintain current payments. When the club didn't, they had to act.
'It is difficult to find a buyer for the club unless the ground comes with it. We need lawyers to look at the deal which took the freehold from the club to Alex Hamilton. If that deal is reversed then we could kick Hamilton out with nothing.
'The first thing is getting people to the Racecourse on Saturday to watch us play Bristol City in the league.
'A full Racecourse and cashflow makes an administrator's job easier and prevents them from selling off players.
'Even Brighton are sending fans up on Saturday to support us, so there is no excuse for people in Wrexham not to go.'
Directors are now looking for someone to put together a rescue package for the club and anyone with such a plan is urged to contact them at the club. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2004 FREE (35p when sold)