WIDNES Vikings dared to dream but now they are living the nightmare as they stare administration in the face for the second time in 12 years.

The failure to secure new backers after the consortium that had been lined up pulled out, has left them in a parlous position with Sunday’s game against Sheffield postponed, following on from the news on Tuesday that staff would not be paid this week.

There is still time for those investors to come forward and stave off administration, but the clock is ticking.

Sunday’s game had ironically been billed as the part of a huge effort to get people through the turnstiles – but that now looks like one desperate last attempt to get money in the coffers to stave off what they described as “a significant cash-flow gap.”

The club did qualify for a parachute payment when they were relegated from Super League after a seven-year stay.

That the club has ended up in this situation has provoked a lot of anger among the fans who have stuck with Widnes despite three relegations since 1995 and backed that up by buying season tickets.

But these are very worrying times for Widnes; the the staff and players who have not been paid and for the fans who have not just paid money but who live and breathe this club.

Wooden spoonists for two years in a row, and a shocking run of losses in 2018, the relegation after a dreadful run in the Qualifiers middle 8s was almost a mercy killing.

The return to the Championship should have allowed coach Kieron Purtill to plot a way forward with a squad that combined a mixture of experience and products of the junior system.

But if the club does go into administration those players will become free agents and the squad would be broken up as they will undoubtedly get offers elsewhere in the Championship and Super League.

A points deduction would follow – but a bigger problem would be rebuilding a competitive team. And that will still need a backer to come forward.