Dropping into the National League – and losing associated television rights – costs a club £450,000 in the first year and £1million after three years, according to Kieran Maguire, a lecturer in football finance at the University of Liverpool. Losses will be compounded by falling “perimeter” advertising because games are not part of highlights packages, he added.
Financial ruin is not a new concept to Notts. A supporters’ trust built up a 60 per cent ownership stake in the early Noughties after a record 534 days in administration. Tragically, the trust handed over the shares as part of a takeover by Munto, a group it hoped would bring Middle Eastern riches that never materialised.
These were heady days, with Sven-Goran Eriksson unveiled as director of football and Sol Campbell playing a single match before beating a hasty retreat.
Now the trust stands ready to step into the breach again, says chairman Mike Scott.
“It’s a disaster if you go down, particularly for Notts because our reputation to the rest of the world is being the oldest club. Without that, we’re just another struggling club,” said Scott. “The purpose of the trust is to protect the future of the club. If we’re in the same situation as we have been before, we will step in again.”