LIVI CRISIS GOES INTO EXTRA TIME
THE Lions may have roared for the last time as Livingston FC stand on the brink of extinction.
After sliding into administration last week, Donald McGruther was appointed interim manager by the Court of Session and immediately offered chairman Angelo Massone £25,000 for his controlling share of the club.
McGruther warned if a deadline of noon yesterday (Wednesday) passed without the share transfer he would commence the liquidation of the club.
As the Courier went to press the deadline had passed and the club were set to lose their Scottish Football League status and be all but wiped off the footballing map.
Just five years after winning the CIS Cup Livingston look set to become a footnote in Scottish football history — unless a dramatic eleventh-hour deal can be struck.
Former Cowdenbeath chairman and ex-Dunfermline board member Gordon McDougall and former Dumbarton chairman Neil Rankine had both been keen to come on board but only if Massone relinquished control.
Interim manager Donald McGruther confirmed this could be the end for senior football in West Lothian.
He said: “Mr Massone has rejected my offer and I’ve commenced redundancies on the non-playing side.
“As of tomorrow there is a meeting with the SFL and there is no obvious solution apart from Mr Massone selling his shares.
“The deadline has now passed and if I go to the SFL without the shares and the interested party at my side then Livingston are out of business permanently.
“There is an interested party who wants to rescue the club and talk to the SFL but the only barrier to that is Mr Massone’s shares.
“There is no sensible solution for the SFL and by tomorrow Livingston could cease to exist.
“Something has to happen now and the SFL will tell me tomorrow whether we can carry on or are ex-members of the SFL.
“Mr Massone’s claims he has cash to pay the payroll makes no difference whatsoever as there is no deal to be done.
“No-one wants to work with him and the only thing he could do would be to pay every single debt which at the moment amounts to £1.8million.
“The SFL will decide the club’s fate tomorrow and whether they can fulfil fixtures and I can’t guarantee any of that. I made a bargain with an interested party who I believe is in a position to give this assurance but the barrier remains Mr Massone’s shares.
“He is deluding himself but he is half right in one thing in that August 18 was the date set by the court but financially we can’t even reach Saturday.
“Therefore the court’s wishes that a decision is made on the 18th is overtaken by the fact the league will throw us out tomorrow and we won’t get to that date.”
The Scottish Football League will meet today (Thursday) at 2pm to consider the future of the club.
As the Courier went to press Angelo Massone had not relinquished his shares in the club but following lengthy discussions on Tuesday evening between all interested parties, including Gordon McDougall, Neil Rankine, the Livi for Life Supporters’ Trust and the interim manager, an agreement in principal was struck regarding the value of the liability which could be met subject to an agreement with creditors.
Further talks were planned for last night (Wednesday) evening.