Southampton are likely to fold before the end of the season unless a buyer for the ailing Coca-Cola Championship club can be found.
The company which owns the south-coast club, Southampton Leisure Holdings plc, have gone into administration with its chairman, Rupert Lowe, resigning.
And joint-administrator Mark Fry admits the outlook is bleak for Saints, stating: "If we don't find a buyer for the club there is a very, very high probability that it will not last until the end of the season. Realistically it will mean the end of the football club."
Club chairman Michael Wilde and director Andrew Cowen have also left both the company and the club, with recovery and restructuring specialists Begbies Traynor placed in charge. Saints are more than Â£30million in debt and in danger of being relegated to League One.
Fry added: "It's a very different economic climate from two years ago and football clubs have fallen as hard as anything. It's a difficult task but we will search very hard for a buyer.
"And I would say that anyone looking to buy the club will find it a lot cheaper than it would have been two years ago."
The League will discuss the matter at a scheduled meeting on Tuesday, but as things stand they cannot apply the standard sanction because the club itself is not in administration.
"We are in dialogue with the Football League and we don't think the club should be affected," said Fry.
"We don't think the rules apply to this but we will find out in due course."
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