In today's big money world where cash is most certainly king, football has transformed into a business. Gone are the days of the small business owner or individual who is responsible for a number of different items both on and off the pitch. In the days of yesteryear, owners were performing a host of roles for their sides.
The further the club in the footballing pecking order, the more someone undertook from painting the stands to being the club announcer. Fast forward to today's situation and football is an altogether different game. Wealth has superseded the game where several influential owners rule the roost. Take for example Paris Saint Germain who were only found in the 1970s. They are currently owned by a powerful Qatari based investment group who have now pumped millions of Euros into the Parisian club.
In addition, one only has to take a sneaky peak across the pond where rich businessmen have been buying up Premier League clubs like streets on a Monopoly board. Roman Abrahamovich at Chelsea is a prime candidate who has injected more than $1 billion into Chelsea. On the other hand, the Abu Dhabi Group have done exactly the same at Manchester City. Furthermore, they have also launched a brand new state of the art training complex recently which cost a mind blowing $400 million to set up. With Financial Fair Play looming on the horizon for many sides, it could lead to catastrophic circumstances in the stands and on the turf.
Several top sides have disappeared from the soccer limelight after fiscal meltdowns that have seen them slide down the leagues. Whether it is a case of a lack of financial clout from the powers that be or not enough money coming through the tills, some teams have been hit in their back pocket. Here is the rundown of the top 15 clubs that went bankrupt.
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Located in the North East of England, Darlington were once a formidable force in the lower leagues. However, this was all to come to an abrupt end as they were forced into adminstration in the last few years. In fact, not only did their previous stadium become non existent and were forced a winding up order. Yet, Darlington have been wound up not once but three times in the space of nearly 10 years. Once playing in the Blue Square Bet Premier, they have undergone quite an ordeal. The Quakers were subsequently docked 10 points and had numerous hefty fines. The club was dissolved in 2012, whilst their Feetham stadium which once welcomed fans is now derelict.
One of the most iconic moments in FA Cup history was when little fancied Wimbledon achieved the impossible and beat Liverpool. This took place in the 1988 Final and the Crazy Gang achieved great notoriety as a result of this. Yet Wimbledon were also another victim and were left without any funds after a controversial move. This involved them moving to Milton Keynes which was more than 50 miles from their original ground. In spite of a wave of protests, Wimbledon as the fans knew could no longer continue and were reformed as Milton Keynes Dons. A host of supporters then broke away and formed a new club to reflect their own passions. AFC Wimbledon was then born and play their football in League 2 of the English Football League.
Aldershot fell victim to bankruptcy and had no choice but to fold accordingly. They were considered to be one of the leading Football League sides especially during the 1960s. Despite Aldershot suffering relegation to the fourth tier at the end of the 1980s, there was a big economic cloud looming over the stadium. The Recreation Ground was shrouded with fiscal troubles as many attempted to rescue the club. In 1992, they had no alternative but to resign before the season had to come to its conclusion.
Today, they are better known as Accrington Stanley but before this period, they also had to close their books. Accrington were one of the principal founders of the Football League back in 1876 and were created in 1891. They were placed in what was known as Division Three at the end of the 1950s. However just four years later in 1962, they were sent down and owed plenty of money to various creditors as well as the tax man. in 1966, they folded altogether in the same year as England's World Cup triumph.
11 Maidstone United
The club from Kent were a well known side to many in non-league circles. However as the Premier League kicked off an altogether different ball game, Maidstone United were folding. The Stones managed to achieve Football League status back in 1988. Yet after overspending in order to secure promotion, Maidstone were in trouble. Planning permission for a new ground was refused amid a land purchase which cost the club in excess of $500,000. They were subsequently put into bankruptcy and only had a handful of players at the time. Since then, they have changed from Maidstone Invicta to Maidstone United once again.
10 Chester City
After many financial issues in 2010, Chester City were forced into administration. This led to several of their games being affected as a result of all the strife. In January 2010, Chester were declared bankrupt and had a winding up petition by the tax authorities. They had absolutely no option but to put the club up to bidders and were duly suspended from the league. In March 2010, they were completely dissolved but were later reformed as Chester FC.
9 Kettering Town
Kettering Town were on the brink of becoming bankrupt back in June 2012. The Poppies were at the time forced to repay debts that were being paid off as a CVA or Company Voluntary Arrangement. In existence for more than 140 years, Kettering were playing in the lower leagues of English Football and previously were in the Southern Premier League. They did feature in the Blue Square Bet Premier but had to drop two leagues and faced a 10 point deduction. Some claims to fame feature Ron Atkinson who was one of their former managers, whilst Paul Gascoigne was in charge for 39 days.
Airdrie went into existence back at the end of 2002. Despite the fact that they finished in second position in Scotland's first division, they went out of business and ceased to exist. Again this was down to crippling debts which they were unable to repay. So for the final time, Airdrieonians Football Club played a game away from home where they came up against Ayr United. Unfortunately, the match had to be called off after the crossbar was pulled down and a full on pitch invasion ensued.
7 Coventry City
Known as the Sky Blues, Coventry City went down in history when they won the FA Cup Final in 1987 after defeating Tottenham Hotspur. A headed goal from Keith Houchen ensured Coventry lifted the cup. However, their finances seemed to have taken a bit of a nose dive as they were forced into administration. This was down to unpaid rent from their landlords at their ground. They then had to move from the Ricoh Arena and for a time had to play their home games in Northampton. This was actually more than 100 miles away from their original stadium.
Long before the days of Russian magnates, there was a time when Chelsea were on the brink of financial destruction. Back in the 1980s, they were very near to shutting up shop. This was prevented fortunately thanks to Ken Bates who purchased the side for just $2. Construction on a new stand coupled with the threat of relegation meant that Chelsea might have been playing third tier soccer. Had it not been for the two bucks of Bates, it might have been an altogether different story for the Blues.
In 2008, Portsmouth did the unthinkable and defeated Cardiff City to win the FA Cup. An incredible historic moment for the club, manager Harry Redknapp had steered Pompey to victory not to mention European football. Yet a few years later, Portsmouth went into administration amid large player salaries and increasing debts. The club then dropped a couple of divisions and finished this season now languishing in the bottom half of League Two.
4 Glasgow Rangers
One of the biggest Scottish clubs were also on the wrong end of financial troubles. Rangers who are part owned by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley were in all sorts of strife. This was in the last few years as The Ibrox side were forced a winding up order by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. This was directly in relation to both employee benefit trust payments that cost Rangers points and around $60 million.
Based in the heart of the North East on the coast, Scarborough FC were in more recent times in the Conference North. They faced a negative 10 point start as they breached league guidelines. Eventually they were dissolved in the summer of 2007. Again, financial difficulties had hit this particular club very hard and their last competitive match took place in 2007. Although they won by one goal to nil a new club was formed in June 2007 under the guise of Scarborough Athletic F.C.
2 Leeds United
Many reporters carried the story of Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale's lavish lifestyle. This included the likes of having a rented fishtanks in his office. Yet Leeds United have had their financial troubles over the years. Since their appearance in the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2001, they have slid down to the Championship. They have been there for several years after obscene spending on players wages being one of the main reasons they entered into voluntary administration in May 2007.
A recent fiasco has taken place at Serie A side Parma who face being wound up. With debts to the tune of approximately $105 million, the former runners up have been put up for sale. Offers in the region of $25 are being considered but this financial farce is hard for many of their fans to stomach. The majority of their players have not been paid for the entire season, whilst they have even had to wash their own kit and drive the team bus.
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