Plymouth owner James Brent has admitted the financial state of the club when he took over was the worst he has come across in his long business career.
With debts in excess of £20million and liquidation looming ever larger on the horizon, Brent conceded the Pilgrims were within days of going bust. And the London-based businessman, who acquired Argyle in October, credited the fans for keeping the Devon outfit's head above water long enough to ensure his purchase could go through.
Brent said: "I had never seen any business as close to liquidation. The club was beyond the edge of the cliff and hanging there for some unknown reason. It should have been liquidated, by every sort of metric I've seen. It was beyond saving."
He added: "Largely because of the passion of the fans it was pulled back and it was saved. It had a combination of huge debts compared to its assets base and it had a very substantial cash trade losses going on.
"Going from Championship through League One to League Two incurred a lot of wages, a lot of three-year contracts.
"The cash trade losses were huge, the debts were huge and you've got this football creditor arrangement which means you can't clear out the debts like you would do in a conventional company."