Southampton are on the brink of becoming English football's first major casualty of the credit crunch after missing an end-of-March deadline to secure new financing.
Trading in the shares of the club's parent company, Southampton Leisure Holdings, has been suspended following the expiry of the deadline for securing new funds.
If a last-minute solution can't be found, the company will have to be placed in adminstration, a move that, under Football League rules, would normally lead to a deduction of 10 points.
In Southampton's case that would mean almost certain relegation to League One, the third tier of English football.
The club is currently second from bottom of the Championship, three points adrift of safety with only seven matches left.