Notts County: Alan Hardy says Paragon financial troubles will not affect club

Notts County owner Alan Hardy
Alan Hardy has owned Notts County for just over two years

Notts County owner Alan Hardy says financial problems at his company Paragon Interiors will not affect League Two's bottom club.

It has been reported Paragon is heading into administration.

BBC Radio Nottingham reports the company lent money to Notts to buy and fund the club as part of Hardy's takeover deal in January 2017.

Hardy said he will support Notts "as best" he can while dealing with "a very difficult and stressful situation".

In a statement, the local businessman said: "Further to recent speculation about the financial performance of Paragon Interiors Group PLC and any impact this may have on Notts County Football Club, I want to assure supporters that the club will not be affected."

After 34 league games this season, Notts are five points from safety and could slip out of the EFL for the first time in their 157-year history.

Hardy, who assumed control of the English Football League's oldest club after agreeing to take over from previous owner Ray Trew, put the Magpies up for sale in January.

"In the coming days I expect to receive a formal offer to purchase the club from an overseas consortium and more updates will follow in due course," he said.

Meadow Lane, home of Notts County
Notts County were formed in 1862 and are the oldest league club in England

'A quick sale remains the best option for all parties'

Analysis: Charlie Slater, BBC Radio Nottingham's Notts County correspondent

Hardy is a local businessman who owns several companies, but the two main ones that we are looking at are interior design firm Paragon Interiors and Notts County Football Club.

Mr Hardy owns them both and in buying Notts and funding them, he has borrowed nearly £7m from Paragon, a company that is now reported to be in serious financial woe.

Should the administrators be called in at Paragon, then it is possible that they will then ask for that money to be repaid by the football club and they are not in a financial position to do so. And so that could lead to Notts going into administration as well.

If that happens, the club would be deducted 12 points by the English Football League. They are already five adrift of safety at the bottom of the table and a further hit could prove too much to come back from.

There is a lot that needs to worked out over the coming days and weeks and plenty of negotiating still to happen. After all, the club is still up for sale and a quick deal remains the best option for all parties going forward.

Struggles on and off the field for Notts

Kevin Nolan, Harry Kewell and Neal Ardley
Kevin Nolan, Harry Kewell and Neal Ardley have all been in charge of Notts County this season

Reports of financial trouble are nothing new in Notts County's recent history.

They went into administration in June 2002 and were saved at the last minute 18 months later, while further financial issues almost took the club into similar measures in 2010 before Trew's takeover.

The Magpies have been in the relegation zone since mid-November and bottom of League Two since the turn of the year.

Having lost in the play-offs to Coventry City last season, the Magpies were tipped to compete for promotion, but boss Kevin Nolan was sacked after failing to win any of his first six games this term.

Despite a mini-revival in September with three straight wins under Nolan's replacement Harry Kewell, the Australian was himself dismissed little more than a month after joining from Crawley, and Neal Ardley took over in November.

None of the three managers has been able to halt the slide, while off-field issues have only added to a sense of despair.

Owner Hardy - a Notts fan - apologised after he posted a tweet which included a nude image in January and he put the club up for sale later the same day.

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