City firms fight to save troubled football clubs

Wilde Sapte, Dibb Lupton Alsop and Lawrence Graham are battling against the clock to try and save three football clubs from going to the wall.

Crystal Palace, Luton and Portsmouth have all gone into receivership and any rescue package has to be completed within the next few weeks to beat the 31 July deadline set by the Football League.

Wilde Sapte has been appointed by administrators Moore Stephens Booth White to save Crystal Palace from going under. Mark Andrews, senior partner, and insolvency partner Rachel Anthony are working on the rescue.

When clubs go into receivership an expulsion order from the Football League is automatically issued with a suspension attached to stop any action from proceeding.

This is the first time that the League has given clubs a deadline after which the suspension will be lifted, allowing the expulsion order to proceed.

However, Anthony says that the Football League has given Crystal Palace a reassurance that as long as “reasonable progress” has been made by the July deadline then the suspension will not be lifted.

John Verrill, insolvency partner at Lawrence Graham, is acting for the receivers of Luton FC, Buckler Philips. Verrill would not reveal the other parties involved as he says negotiations to save the club have reached a critical stage. But he says he is circumspect as to whether Luton will survive through to the next season.

Portsmouth FC seems to be out of danger after the completion last week of its sale to Croatian self- made millionaire Milan Mandaric for u4.5m, subject to Football League credit approval.

The administrator Kidsons was represented by Dibb Lupton Alsop. Insolvency partner Simon Neilson-Clark led the team, while the buyer was represented by Southampton firm Paris Smith & Randall.

The Football League is represented by Edge Ellison.