Pompey narrowly avoid joining sad quartet

LONDON - Portsmouth narrowly avoided becoming the first top-flight club in the 122-year history of English League football to fold in mid-season when they went into administration on Friday.

The move prevented them from almost certainly being wound-up in the High Court on Monday when they would have become only the fifth club to fail to complete their fixtures.

NEWS: Portsmouth enter administration

The only four to fail in mid-season were Leeds City in 1919, Wigan Borough (1931), Accrington Stanley (1962) and Aldershot (1992).

The last league side to fold were Maidstone United, also in 1992, but they closed just before the season began.

Leeds City were expelled by the Football Association (FA) in October 1919 because of financial irregularities regarding payments to their players and their demise led to the birth of Leeds United, who were elected to the league in 1920.

Wigan Borough folded with debts of some 20,000 pounds in October 1931, and gave rise to Wigan Athletic, formed a year later.

It took Wigan Athletic 46 years to rise through the minor ranks before reaching the league in 1978, and the Premier League in 2005.

Accrington Stanley folded in March 1962 with debts of 62,000 pounds. They re-formed in 1968 and rejoined the league in 2006.

Aldershot folded with debts of 1.2 million in March 1992, reformed almost immediately as Aldershot Town with a phoenix as their new club badge and regained their league place in 2008.

None of the four was in the top flight at the time of their demise and Wigan Borough, Accrington and Aldershot were always in the lower leagues.

Portsmouth, however, formed in 1898, have been champions twice, in 1949 and 1950 and have won the FA Cup twice, in 1939 and 2008.

They famously "held on to the cup" longer than any other club as they had custody of it for seven years during World War Two.

They have also spent most of their league history in the top two divisions, apart from spells in the 1960s, 1970s and early eighties when they had brief spells in the old Third and Fourth Divisions.

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