CASH-strapped Leeds today teetered on the brink of administration.
The club failed in a late bid to restructure their £80m debts with American bondholders - who they owe almost £60m - and a Guernsey finance company.
The club issued a statement to the Stock Exchange this morning saying they "may be forced to seek the protection of an administration order".
The troubled club, who sacked manager Peter Reid earlier this month, were forced to put on hold plans to accept a £4.4m cash injection from deputy Leeds United plc chairman Allan Leighton and a company by the name of A.R.M. Holdings Group Ltd, with the figure behind it understood to be Sheikh Abdul din Mubarak Al-Khalifa, a Leeds fan and oil-rich member of Bahrain's ruling dynasty.
But it is clear the problems of Leeds, who recently announced a British club record £50m loss for the last financial year, are far worse than realised.
They would be the latest Yorkshire club to hit problems, after those affecting Town, York and Barnsley.
Nationwide clubs who go into administration face a 10-point deduction but the Premiership rejected the proposal.
The Leeds statement this morning read: "As announced on October 28 2003 in our preliminary statement of results, the directors have been negotiating the first phase of a complex debt restructuring of the group's finances with its principal finance creditors to provide the group with additional working capital and to give it time to implement a more permanent restructuring plan.
"If the negotiations referred to above are unsuccessful, the directors may be forced to seek the protection of an administration order."