English Football Clubs That Went Into Administration [FULL LIST]

Football clubs that are footloose and fancy-free with their finances know that the threat of administration looms large. So it’s up to them to do what they can to balance the books. The goal of administration isn’t to punish the fans but to ensure that glory-coveting owners spend their money wisely.

Taking on debt in football isn’t something new but it comes at a risk and if those debts grow too large then sanctions must be put in place. Administration can feel like the death nail for a club when they enter it but history has shown that this isn’t always the case. Let’s look at what entering administration means for English football clubs.

Why Do Football Clubs Go Into Administration?

Going into administration in footballing terms is when a club is no longer capable of paying off its existing debts. Clubs can choose to enter administration at this stage, where they can be shown to be insolvent by a court. This, in effect, declares a club bankrupt.

In declaring bankruptcy, the club formally recognises its inability to pay off its debts which may force a sale or the club could stop operating completely.

What Happens if a Club Goes Into Administration?

A club entering administration must try to pay off its debts. Accountants are placed in positions of power in the club, gaining control of everything except picking the team and coaching players. Football-related debts like player and staff wages and outstanding transfer fees must be paid off first.

Teams entering administration are typically docked points depending on which league they are in. The teams can face point deductions during the season they enter administration or the following season depending on whether they are relegated or not.

If a team is relegated when entering administration the point deductions are dished out the following season, if they stay up they are hit with the deduction. This same-season points deduction may still ultimately relegate a team.

Biggest Clubs to Go Into Administration

Although bigger teams have more income, they are not immune from going into administration. In England, some of the biggest teams to enter administration include Leeds United, Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic and Derby County.

Other big name football league teams entering administration include Bournemouth, Southampton, Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers. Outside of England, big teams like Rangers have had off-field financial struggles, while Barcelona faced major problems in 2021 due to La Liga’s financial restrictions.

Football Clubs in Administration [YEAR-BY-YEAR]

TeamEntered AdministrationExited Administration (Date or Date Dissolved)
Bradford City19831983
Charlton AthleticFebruary 1984March 1984
Middlesbrough21 May 1986July 1986
Tranmere Rovers19871987
Newport County1989February 1989
Northampton Town1992
Kettering Town1992
Maidstone United1992
Hartlepool United1994
Exeter City1994
Doncaster Rovers1997
Millwall21 January 1997June 1997
Crystal Palace1998July 2000
Chester CityOctober 1998July 1999
Hull City7 February 200112 March 2001
Queens Park Rangers2 April 200117 November 2002
Bury1 March 2002
Halifax Town9 April 2002March 2003
Bradford City16 May 20021 August 2002
Notts CountyJune 2002December 2003
Barnsley3 October 200225 October 2003
Leicester City21 October 200216 November 2004
Port Vale16 December 20022003
York City18 December 200226 March 2003
Derby County20 October 200320 October 2003
Ipswich Town10 February 200330 May 2003
Wimbledon5 June 200321 June 2004 (As MK Dons)
Oldham AthleticAugust 200326 May 2004
Darlington23 December 200326 May 2004
Bradford City27 February 200410 December 2004
Wrexham3 December 20043 August 2006
Cambridge United29 April 200522 July 2005
Rotherham United13 May 2006???
Crawley Town5 June 200610 August 2007
Boston United25 April 200720 May 2008
Leeds United4 May 200711 July 2007
Luton Town22 November 200728 July 2008
Bournemouth8 February 200818 July 2008
Rotherham United18 March 20082008
Halifax Town26 March 200813 June 2008
Darlington25 February 20097 August 2009
Southampton2 April 20098 July 2009
Stockport County30 April 200918 June 2010
Chester City17 May 200910 March 2010
Northwich Victoria15 May 200916 May 2010
Farsley Celtic30 June 200910 March 2010
Salisbury City3 September 200926 February 2010
Weymouth28 October 200927 November 2009
Crystal Palace26 January 201020 August 2010
Portsmouth26 February 201024 October 2010
Plymouth Argyle4 March 201131 October 2011
Rushden and Diamonds7 July 20118 July 2011
Darlington3 January 201221 June 2012
Portsmouth17 February 201219 April 2013
Port Vale9 March 201220 November 2012
Coventry City21 March 201314 June 2013
Aldershot Town2 May 201331 July 2014
Bolton Wanderers13 May 201928 August 2019
Bury18 July 2019CVA terminated on 9 March 2020; new CVA sought.
Rhyl27 April 202027 April 2020
Wigan Athletic1 July 202030 March 2021
Bury27 November 2020
Derby County22 September 2021
Updated: 20/03/2022

What Happens if a Football Club Goes into Liquidation?

Liquidation is the next stage after administration and it’s terminal for football clubs. In essence, a team going into liquidation is bankrupt and is expelled from the league it is playing in as it can no longer honour its fixtures.

There have been several examples of English clubs in financial peril that couldn’t claw their way back to solvency. The most recent example is Bury FC after it was expelled from the EFL in 2019. Other examples of liquidated clubs include Chester City FC, Macclesfield Town FC, Aldershot FC and Maidstone United.

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Connor Doyle

Connor is a journalist with several years of experience in the industry covering sport, entertainment, cars and the environment. Football is Connor's main passion. Thanks to the ups and downs of supporting Liverpool FC, he knows how to appreciate the good times when they roll in!

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