Goodbye Gretna? The SPL Minnows in Trouble

Simon MartinSenior Writer IMarch 7, 2008

A sad day for Scottish Football fans as Gretna, a club that has worked tirelessly over the years to battle their way through the SPL, revealed that it is facing bankruptcy.

The Scottish club will hold crisis talks with their financial backers this week after caretaker Mick Wadsworth made the revelation.

Attendances have been low all season for SPL matches—but when a paltry 501 home fans turned up to Fir Park yesterday evening, the alarm bells were ringing. Gretna lost the match 0-3 to Dundee United, another SPL club that is suffering falling attendances.

Liquidation is not on the cards for Chief Executive Graeme Muir.

"I don't think it is just as bad as that, but we have a difficult situation at the club, does any club have a future when only 501 fans turn up? Dundee United did not bring many fans through, so I think many Scottish clubs are facing problems," he told journalists at a news conference this morning.

This is Gretna's first season in the top flight, and they have so far scored 16 points from 28 games, and not only are there no guarantees they will stay up—there are no guarantees that there will be a Gretna next season.

Part of the problems stem from the SPL's insistence that, despite falling attendances across Britain, every SPL team must have a 10,000 seater stadium—which Gretna simply cannot afford to build.

Not only that, but while owner Brooks Mileson has been seriously ill in hospital with a brain infection, players wage packets have been late in arriving—the first sign that something was amiss.

This sports writer is hoping that the fairytale for the scottish minnows of the SPL is not over, and that they can sort their problems out—otherwise another football club will go the way of Scarborough town, and that would never do.

Good luck, Gretna.