Plymouth Argyle's sacking of manager Peter Reid after the club's latest defeat leaves a nasty taste in the mouth after a weekend on which the club's payers and staff again agreed to defer the wages they are owed. But there are some shafts of light over the latest takeover bid.
Reid was sacked after the club's 2-0 defeat at Southend. That was the 37th defeat in Reid's 61 matches in charge and in the official statement announcing the sacking, club chairman Peter Ridsdale saidf that "whatever the challenges, football is a results business".
Reid took over in June 2010. He was told the wage bill needed to be cut, but had no idea of the financial maelstrom that awaited. Star players had to be sold, others left for nothing as contracts wound down. The uncertainty over the future and the broken promises from potential buyers can't have helped.
FA Cup final medalStaff were made redundant, those remaining went unpaid. Reid himself remained unpaid, and even went so far as to pay the club's heating bill out of his own pocket and to auction off his own 1986 FA Cup final loser's medal to raise funds for the club.
Argyle's squad agreed again to defer wages again at the weekend, despite having seen promises that they would be paid after previous deferrals broken. The players met local businessman James Brent, who is the new frontrunner to complete a takeover, and seemed reassured by what he had to say.
Employee sacrificeBrent said: "I am more hopeful today than a week ago that the Club can defy liquidation although there remain considerable challenges ahead. Most of all, however, I would compliment the staff, players and their families on the sacrifices that they have made; I have never seen such employee sacrifice before, nor do I want to see it again."
Fan site Vital Plymouth said: "The staff and players have put their livelihoods at stake to save a grand old football club and so that we can watch a game of football at Home Park once every two weeks. We are truly humbled."
The Brent bid is the one preferred by most supporters of the club. At the weekend Plymouth City Council leader Vivien Pengelly said the council was actively considering buying the club's Home Park stadium as part of the Brent deal. The club is said to be worth £10m a year to the Plymouth economy.