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Crisis club Gretna relegated to Third Division

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 May 2008

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Gretna were relegated to the Scottish Third Division on Thursday after the crisis club were unable to guarantee they could fulfill their fixtures next season.

Gretna, who went into administration in March, were relegated from the Scottish Premier League this season and have now been demoted by two further levels after talks at the Scottish Football League’s annual general meeting.

They now have less than a week to avoid expulsion from the league as SFL officials will not accept the continuing status of a club in administration.

The SFL want any takeover to be completed by the early part of next week or they will invite applicants to replace the stricken club.

David Elliot of administrators Wilson Field has been negotiating with a consortium fronted by football agent Paul Davies. But the SFL were unconvinced by Davies’s business plan and were also concerned by the unsuitability of Raydale Park for First Division football.

SFL chief executive David Longmuir said: “We and the SFL had to make sure we protected the integrity of our league.

“There was no commitment from the administrator that Gretna could fulfil the fixtures at all in the coming season, which means we had to do what we thought was right for our league.”

Longmuir also confirmed that Airdrie will be promoted to Division One and Stranraer to Division Two.

Gretna went into administration in March after owner Brooks Mileson, who is terminally ill, cut off his supply of cash to Gretna which also saw them effectively relegated as they were deducted 10 points.

Under Mileson, who invested 8 million pounds (16 million dollars) into the club, Gretna had enjoyed a rapid rise from the obscurity of non-league football to the SPL, as well as reaching the 2006 Scottish Cup final.

The club has a tiny fan base and has had to play SPL matches at Fir Park last season because their own Raydale Park ground did not meet top-flight standards.

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