JJB Sports founder Dave Whelan could step in to take over some of the retailer’s stores.

Whelan told the Telegraph: “We’ve asked for the [sale] information. It’s amazing, utterly amazing, what has happened. It would appear to me the next step is administration.”

He said he is interested in acquiring some of JJB Sports’ stores for his DW Sports Fitness chain. However, he would not buy back the JJB name as it “has had such a bad going-over”.

JJB put itself up for sale yesterday as it admitted it would not be able to raise funds to implement its turnaround.

It is understood that KPMG, which is managing the sale process has already received several expressions of interest from parties from both private equity and trade.

The 180-store retailer has debts and outstanding loans totalling £36m. JJB told shareholders that their holdings could be worthless yesterday, which sent shares crashing 83% to 0.39p yesterday.

Whelan, who set up the retailer more than 40 years ago, sold his remaining 29% stake in the retailer to former boss Chris Ronnie for £190m.

In April, Ronnie, who made a series of poor acquisitions at the retailer, was charged with a series of offences in relation to fraud at the retailer. He denies the charges.

Whelan blamed “mismanagement” for the retailer’s dire predicament.