Stricken Southampton unable to pay staff

The plight of former FA Cup winners Southampton worsened on Thursday when staff at the south coast club were told they would not be paid this month. Southampton were relegated to the third tier of English football for the first time in 50 years and will start next season with a 10-point penalty imposed by the Football League after its holding company went into administration. A statement from the club's administrators said finding a buyer for the stricken club was proving difficult and that directors had asked staff for their "continued goodwill" by continuing to work unpaid for another week. "We are still negotiating with four seriously interested parties, but the process of disposing of the shares in a football club, particularly a distressed one in this economic climate, is an extremely complex one, and it has not yet been possible to conclude a sale," Mark Fry, joint administrator of Southampton Leisure Holdings Plc ("the Company"), said. Southampton, who won the FA Cup in 1976 and reached the final as recently as 2003, finished second from bottom of the Championship this season.