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The end for Gretna.

Byline: By Neil Cameron

GRETNA were effectively killed off yesterday when the club's administrators sacked every remaining member of staff.

David Elliot, of Wilson Field, told coach Mick Wadsworth, the last of the players and other employees they were redundant.

There does remain the slimmest of chances they could survive as one potential buyer, a consortium headed by agent Paul Davies, were still in talks with the administrator last night.

But few at Gretna believed that to be a realistic proposition and barring a miracle the once fairytale story of Scottish football will be no more and their place in the league is to be taken by another club. Wadsworth said: "We're told there is still one interested party but because there are no funds to carry on then everyone has been made redundant.

"So the assumption from that, for most of us, is it's the end of the line regarding employment at Gretna.

"I think it will be right to say it's against the clock because the SFL will have to work on their fixtures.

"If Gretna are not there they have to look at the numbers in the league. So I think there are a lot of practical issues."

A statement from Elliot said: "A prospective purchaser has contacted us this morning and confirmed that he is still in negotiations with the SFL with a view to obtaining entry into the First Division."

Wilson Field, who took over the club's finances in March, had set a May 17 deadline for offers.

But none of the four parties who expressed an interest in the 2006 Scottish Cup runners-up came forward with a bid that could be accepted.

Gretna struggled to complete the SPL season after owner Brooks Mileson withdrew his funding in February when he contracted a brain infection.

The Englishman bankrolled Gretna's rapid rise from the Third Division to the SPL to the tune of around pounds 8million but has maintained a public silence on the club's plight after being released from hospital.

It emerged their debt was nearing pounds 4million and with their stadium valued at pounds 850,000 in the club accounts, hopes were not high a buyer would come forward.

Gretna survived a number of crisis days with financial assistance from the SPL and relegation became inevitable after they were hit with a 10-point penalty for moving into administration.

Airdrie could yet take a place in the First Division as the losing finalists in the play-offs.

New Broomfield boss Kenny Black said: "We gave the guys a holiday after the Clyde play-off game and said we would meet back up today in order to discuss our plans for next season.

"We thought uncertainty about what division we would be in would have gone now because we wanted to know what contracts we could offer."

"As it stands we may have to tell the boys we can offer them this based on being a Second Division club but that may change if the Gretna situation unfolds.

"While it is right Gretna are given a correct amount of time to have a recovery plan in place the uncertainty is not doing anyone any favours."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 20, 2008
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