Notts County have been sold to a Danish consortium, outgoing owner Alan Hardy has told BBC Nottingham Sport.

The sale should ensure the future of the 157-year-old Magpies, who have faced the prospect of being wound up over an unpaid tax bill.

Hardy first put the financially-troubled club up for sale in January.

In May, Notts were relegated from the English Football League for the first time in their history, having been a founding member 130 years earlier.

Analysis

Natalie Jackson, BBC East Midlands Today sports editor

There is no official confirmation from the club just yet, but Alan Hardy’s announcement will come as a massive relief to Notts fans who were fearing their club could be wound up.

It means they will not start the season in the National League 12 points down, and will have owners who Hardy says are “very credible”.

There has been endless uncertainty since Hardy put the club up for sale, with Notts being relegated and deals seemingly stalling at various stages.

He had great ambitions for the club. He is a local businessman who had the best intentions and was warmly welcomed when he first arrived. Notts almost won promotion from League Two in his first full season as owner.

But last season he sacked two managers and things could not have gone any worse on and off the field. Notts fans have had a truly terrible 12 months and will hope this is the start of a new era – albeit outside the Football League for the first time in their history.

A bad year for world’s oldest professional club

Financial trouble at Meadow Lane – with owner Hardy having parts of his interior design company Paragon sold off by administrators – was compounded by the worst season in the club’s history.

Neal Ardley was one of three managers to take charge of County during a tumultuous 2018-19 campaign, which ultimately saw them finish 23rd in League Two.

Former AFC Wimbledon boss Ardley took over in November after Harry Kewell’s sacking, the ex-Liverpool midfielder having only replaced Kevin Nolan as manager 10 weeks earlier.

Ardley has remained in charge following their relegation to non-league and, like his players and the club’s other staff, has not had his wages paid since May.

The Magpies, a club founded nine years before the FA Cup was first played in 1871 and who went on to win the competition for the only time in their history 115 years ago, have appeared in the High Court three times in the past four months over monies owned to HM Revenue & Customs.

The club will next appear in court on 31 July.