30 January 2003 | Robin Parker
Sheffield United football club is at the bottom of the league when it comes to paying bills on time, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Suppliers had to wait an average of 62 days for the club, currently pushing for promotion to the Premiership - the top league in England - to honour their invoices last year, the federation's football payment performance league table reveals.
York City are the payment league champions, settling suppliers' invoices after an average of 10 days, beating Tottenham Hotspur into second place.
York's triumph has, however, been soured since the club was pushed into administration by debts in December. Takeover talks are now in progress.
Reigning Premiership champions and FA Cup holders Arsenal languish in fifth place.
Football clubs are paying their bills after 38 days on average - an improvement of six days on 2001's figures, but significantly worse than the recommended 30-day maximum.
The findings come as the FSB called for a crackdown on firms that fail to report their payment practices, after 21 per cent fewer businesses passed on their details to its cross-sector analysis than last year.
The Department of Trade and Industry is looking into tightening up regulations requiring firms to report how long they take to pay bills, including introducing fines.
In the FSB's analysis, one third of firms paid within the 30-day limit. The average delay was 46 days for the third year running.