World Football: Game Over For Scotland's Gretna F.C.

Andrew BarrySenior Analyst IJune 3, 2008

So it's official, the rags to riches story of Gretna F.C. has entered its final chapter. The former SPL side are on the brink of extinction and that will end a fairytale six years.

The club were only voted into the Scottish League in 2002 and through the money of wealthy benefactor Brooks Mileson, they rose through the leagues. Gretna claimed three successive league titles and a runner-up place in the Scottish Cup.

They claimed every title they could before gaining promotion to the SPL. They fought for every point and were a determined eleven but still found themselves last when the worst possible scenario hit.

Mileson withdrew his financial support and Gretna declared administration.

Already marooned to the foot of the SPL table, a further points deduction then confirmed the club's fate.

Unable to pay both their on- and off-field staff, mass redundancies followed as the club battled bravely against the threat of extinction.

Their meteoric rise through Scottish football was coming back to haunt them, as the realisation that they had been punching above their weight for far too long was resulting in disastrous consequences.

Football agency consultant Paul Davies was all set to prepare a bid to intervene in Gretna's inevitable fate. However, the offer was doomed when the Scottish Football League voted to demote Gretna to the Third Division.

SFL chief executive David Longmuir claimed the proposed business plan was "fundamentally flawed" and offered no guarantee of paying off the club's football debts.

Soon after administrator David Elliot placed their stadium, Raydale Park, up for sale to non-footballing parties.

Then the final few words of the Gretna tale were uttered to the SPL as a spokesman confirmed, "I have this morning received intimation from the Gretna FC administrator of their resignation from the Scottish Football League with immediate effect."

Game Over.