Bradford City Football Club has taken a giant step towards securing its future after creditors narrowly backed an offer from prospective owner Julian Rhodes.

On a tense afternoon at Valley Parade, the deal drawn up by former chief executive Mr Rhodes won backing from creditors owed 78 per cent of the total debt - just three per cent more than the minimum required.

Two of the major creditors - former chairman Gordon Gibb's pension fund and the Inland Revenue - voted against the proposed Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Administrators Kroll agreed to write off £250,000 of the £414,415 the firm was due in professional fees, boosting the viability of the new club.

Key issues for the new company, which is headed by Mr Rhodes, before it can exit administration will be reaching an agreement with Mr Gibb's pension fund over an assignment of the lease on Valley Parade and with the various leasing companies that own equipment in the stadium.

Agreement also needs to be reached with a number of football creditors and the Football League must confirm it will transfer the club's share in the competition to the new company.

Today Mr Rhodes said: "This is a significant hurdle that we have overcome, but there is still a lot of work to be done if we are to come out of administration by the end of October, which is looking the likely date."

After a morning of tense negotiations, the initial high noon meeting was delayed for two and a half hours as last-ditch talks continued.

Joint administrators Neil Brackenbury and Mike Moore eventually announced to around 100 creditors and supporters in the Valley Parade banqueting suite that, although talks were still proceeding with former striker Ashley Ward, they had secured just over the 75 per cent required. They also confirmed that finance firm Lombard, which was still owed £2.5 million by the club, had agreed to accept just £100,000.

The vote in favour was later extended to 78 per cent when Mr Ward called from the Sheffield United training ground to confirm his backing for the proposal. Mr Brackenbury confirmed afterwards that as late as 1pm, the deal had not got the support of a sufficient number of creditors. Much work had been done, with people changing their minds during the day, he said.

"Dealing with football clubs is always extremely complicated," he added. "If this had been, for example, an engineering company, it would have been shut down in February." He also paid tribute to the efforts of Mr Rhodes in saving the club.

"I have dealt with a lot of football clubs, but this is probably the most difficult situation anyone has ever come across," he said. "It helped with the Telegraph & Argus appeal and the fans' support throughout."

Bradford City steering committee chairman Jim Brown said he could be "cautiously optimistic", adding: "It was certainly a big day for the club and we are delighted."

Supporters' Trust chairman Mark Boocock said: "This agreement gives all the people of Bradford real hope."

There is now a 33-day window during which creditors can appeal against the decision.