Notts County Ladies fold days before start of Spring Series

Notts County Ladies
Notts County Ladies have folded  Credit:  The FA Collection

Notts County Ladies have been withdrawn from the Women's Super League after chairman and owner Alan Hardy admitted defeat in his bid to save the club two days before their first Spring Series match. 

Hardy faced a bill of almost £1million to keep the club afloat this season and failed in his attempts to restructure inherited HMRC debts from the previous regime. 

Two Premier League sides had shown an interest in taking over the business as a going concern, but the FA would not sanction a transfer of licence.

The news leaves the players without a team including England internationals Carly Telford, Laura Bassett, Jade Moore and Jo Potter ahead of this summer's Women's European Championship. 

Notts County were scheduled to play at Arsenal on Sunday, but Hardy confirmed his decision on Friday, saying: "I am devastated that we cannot continue the Ladies project but the numbers simply do not stack up. Continuing would have been little short of financial suicide.

"I wish to be totally transparent with supporters about the sums of money involved here.

"When I took over the club, HMRC and other creditors had in excess of £350,000 of unpaid liabilities.

"Additionally, I was extremely concerned that to operate Notts County Ladies for the current season was going to cost us approximately £500,000 - a figure principally made up of player and coaching salaries.

"Our total projected incoming revenue from attendances and sponsorship was £28,000.

Notts County's Jade Moore in England action Credit: Rex Features

"I have been tremendously impressed by the passion and enthusiasm shown by everyone connected with the Ladies set-up - manager, players and backroom team.

"They have represented Notts County with dignity, success and the utmost professionalism over the past three seasons. But the fact remains we simply cannot fund such a huge operating loss.

"It's a very sad day for me personally and supporters should rest assured I have left no stone unturned in my quest to save the club.

"However, having taken all factors into consideration, the only possible outcome is to discontinue our Ladies club.

"I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to the staff and players and we all wish them every success in finding new clubs."

Notts County Ladies were created in 2014 when Lincoln Ladies were controversially relocated from Lincoln to Nottingham and rebranded.

They reached the Women's FA Cup Final in 2015, losing 1-0 to Chelsea, while four of the current playing squad - Carly Telford, Laura Bassett, Jade Moore and Jo Potter - are involved in the England set-up.

An FA spokesperson said: “The FA is aware of the situation and is liaising with all involved parties.

“Our priority is the welfare of the players and we will work closely with them, the PFA and wider stakeholders to support them through this time.”