Plymouth Argyle's fortunes on the pitch may not be improving quickly, but football consultant to the board, Peter Ridsdale has at least helped the club dodge a bullet by ensuring that the first part of their outstanding tax bill has now been paid, and that the winding-up order against their parent company has been dropped. The club are still due back in court on February 9th with a tax bill of around half a million pounds still owed, but Ridsdale is confident that they will also meet that deadline in time to avoid any further repercussions.
“There are a number of issues in regard to the Inland Revenue. The first is the petition debt which was just over £500,000 and I'm delighted to say that we paid that off yesterday," he said.
"We do have further debt to the Inland Revenue which is roughly the same amount of money, and I'm hopeful that will be paid before the end of the month."
In the meantime, Plymouth will be unable to bring in any fresh faces during the January window as the outstanding balance to HMRC means that they are currently under a transfer embargo - but this doesn't mean that players can't leave to ease the financial burden. Already this month they have shipped out winger Craig Noone and defender Reda Johnson to League One promotion-chasers Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.
However, the news that their club will remain in business will have been a massive shot in the arm for the playing squad who, following their 3-2 loss to Huddersfield last time out, are lingering a deceptively comfortable seven points above the relegation zone. That result would have been especially disappointing given the fact that striker Joe Mason had put them 2-0 up inside the opening quarter of an hour. At that point, the football odds showed the game was theirs for the taking.
Unfortunately for Argyle, their typically sloppy defence combined with some ill-discipline let them down once again when both Curtis Nelson and Stephane Zubar were sent off, as well as manager Peter Reid, who was sent from the dug-out. Next up they face Oldham at home and really must get some manner of a result to stop the rot and propel them away from relegation. After all, the football predictions suggested they would be challenging for promotion this season.
There is still enough talent in this squad to be able to challenge for one of the play-off positions.