Notts County are the oldest Football League club. They have won the FA Cup, spent 30 seasons in the top flight and just missed out on being founder members of the Premier League. On Wednesday they face a hearing over their unpaid tax bill which could well see them going into administration and a 12 point deduction to accompany the start of their campaign in non-league football. Hapless chairman Alan Hardy has asked for more extensions than Brexit.
The National League is not an easy division to get out of which just one automatic promotion place as former league clubs like Chesterfield have found. Indeed, eight former league clubs such as York City have ended up in second tier the National League North. Stockport County only got back to the National League for this season, as did Torquay United from the National League South.
Hardy is seen as the chief cause of the club's troubles, but they have been in a downward spiral for some time. There have been 16 managers this decade as successive owners have sought the elusive winning formula. In 2009 a Middle East consortium calling itself Mungo Finance tempted Sven-Goran Eriksson to become manager, but it soon became apparent that they did not have the funds they said they had.
Hardy continues to insist that the arrival of much needed new owners is very likely, but they may be tempted to wait and get the club for a knockdown price when it has gone into administration. However, the level of debt that has been accrued during Hardy's tenure is unknown. Unpaid wages for players from June have been partially offset by a donation from the Official Supporters' Association. There have also been arguments over the use of training facilities at Basford United.
It is yet another tale of loyal supporters being let down by owners not up to the task