Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of Scoop.it! Football Finance

Archive for May, 2009

Accrington Stanley and AFC Hornchurch

Posted by John Beech on May 31, 2009

I’m just back from a trip to Denmark (hence the lack of posting for the past week).

On Friday I was enjoying a coffee in a café and playing with my new phone. There happened to be a free wifi service, so I thought I’d just check out the football news from the BBC website. As it loaded up, I mused on how things had changed since my youth, when my only access to football news was the back pages of the newspapers my parents took. This ‘jumpers for goalposts’ idyll was somewhat shaken when the page finally loaded – there to jolt me from my nostalgia was the headline ‘Accrington face winding-up order’ (1). The medium may have changed in 40+ years, but the message was depressingly similar!

This is not of course the Accrington Stanley that went under in the sixties but a resurrectionist version. Having finally made it back to the Football League in 2006 from their re-start in Cheshire County League Division 2, they have suffered a bit from ‘Gretna syndrome’. The withdrawal of their shirt sponsor, Fraser Eagle, in May 2008 (2) added to their financial pressures. Last March owner Eric Whalley bemoaned the poor attendances (3) and sold his majority shareholding to general manager Dave O’Neill (4 and 5). O’Neill presumably knew of the debt to HMRC of around £300,000, so hopefully the problem is just one of getting the funding into place. To lose one Accrington Stanley may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose a second would look rather worse than carelessness.

Not that Accrington Stanley are the only resurrectionist club in trouble. AFC Hornchurch, who were only formed in 2005 following the collapse of their over-spending precursor, have gone into Administration (6). Times are tough.

Posted in Insolvency | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Progress at Darlington?

Posted by John Beech on May 21, 2009

In a surprise turn of events, Darlington have announced plans to come out of Administration at an unspecified time “in the next couple of months”. It should be noted that the statement comes from the club rather than directly from Dave Clark of Brackenbury Clark & Co, the Administrator (1).

The surprise is in the fact that the plans centre on George Houghton, who took the club into Administration in late February, less than three months ago.

Houghton concedes that he made mistakes. Not least of these must be:

  • He broke the wages cap imposed by the Football league. The wages/turnover ratio should have been capped at 60%, but at Darlinton it had risen in the financial year 2006/07 to a staggering and unsustainable 110% (2) – in other words, the wages bill was actually higher than the club’s income.
  • His vision in 2006 was to take the club to a position of “banging on the Premiership’s door” within five years (3) – a vision that might have gone down well with the fans, but hardly a realistic vision.

Other candidates for taking over the club have faltered. Raj Singh’s attempt foundered over the price he was willing to play, and that by Stephen Vaughan, who has just put Chester City into Administration (see previous blog posting), was probably not one to be taken seriously.

What then has changed in the last three months? One ray of hope for the club is the local council’s change of position – they are now willing to approve redevelopment plans for land next to the stadium – but these were apparently agreed before the club entered Administration – and to allow the use of the stadium for concerts (4).

Hanging over the club are reported debts of around £5,000,000 (5), a level which is entirely inappropriate for a club in League 2, with Houghton himself being owed around £3,000,000. Is there new funding about to appear, and, if so, where is it coming from?

There are still some serious hurdles to be overcome. A CVA has to be agreed. The club has to get its league share back from the Football League, who may have concerns over a Houghton return, especially in the light of the controversy over Ken Bates buying Leeds United back from the Administrator.

Meanwhile players continue to leave, which is not so surprising as they have not been paid “properly” since January (6), and Houghton’s new budget controls will not make the club the most attractive club to join.

So, is the new statement a piece of good news? To me, more a sign for cautious pessimism. Doubtless there will be more twists and turns in the saga to come.

Posted in Insolvency, Ownership | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Chester City

Posted by John Beech on May 19, 2009

The news that Chester City have placed themselves voluntarily in Administration adds yet another chapter to almost two decades of turmoil (1).

Back in 1990 the club had to move temporarily to Macclesfield’s ground (resulting in a round trip of 75 miles for local supporters to attend a ‘home’ game) while awaiting the completion of the new Deva stadium, which was opened in 1992.

Success on the pitch eluded Chester and in 1995 they were relegated to Division 3, only to suffer further relegation, to the Conference, in 2000. In parallel their financial fortunes declined, with Chairman Mark Guterman taking them into Administration in October 1998 with debts of £700,000. The following July the club was bought by Terry Smith, an American businessman with a startling lack of football knowledge (2). Guterman duly reappeared at Wrexham where he became involved in a highly controversial saga regarding that club’s stadium.

The Smith era was characterised by tension between owner and manager. As suddenly as he had appeared, Smith moved on, with Stephen Vaughan taking over as Chairman in October 2001 (3). Vaughan has been dogged with various allegations over the years, all but one of which he has not been convicted for. These include money-laundering (while previously the owner of Barrow), and, more recently, car-associated fraud and theft (4). He was however convicted of a minor public order offence in June 2008 (5).

As at Barrow, Vaughan initially invested heavily in the club, which was promoted from the Conference in 2004. But in November 2008 Vaughan put Chester up for sale (6). The club was by then struggling financially, due in no small part to falling attendances, which had fallen to below 2,000.

One significant source of income, however, has been a five-year sponsorship deal for the naming rights of the stadium with, and shirt sponsorship by, Cestrian Trading, owned by Paul Baker. Baker is a wannabe owner but currently is struggling to sell the struggling (financially) Bournemouth.

The situation at Chester arises from a variety of causes, but it is increasingly typical in the sense that dependence on a benefactor to subsidise an unsustainable business model will only work if the benefactor has infinitely deep pockets which he is prepared to continue draining.

The situation becomes one of public entertainment surviving only through private subsidy, not how many would wish to see the English game, nor a situation which can last indefinitely. The benefactor model simply does not work in the long run.

Posted in Benefactors, Ownership | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

FC United of Manchester’s new season tickets

Posted by John Beech on May 19, 2009

Early in April I blogged about what I saw as a general lack of experimentation with ticket pricing, with the result that clubs were failing to revenue maximise (1).

FC United of Manchester have just announced a very interesting experiment in the pricing of their season tickets for next season (2). In a nutshell, fans can pay what they like providing it is a minimum of £90, but in the knowledge that last season’s average price of £140 left the club with a loss. This offer is potentially limited to a month as the policy will then be reviewed.

This not only ticks the financial strategy and the community boxes for me simultaneously (Q: How many times is that likely to happen? A: Precious few; it is only likely to happen at a fan-owned club), but is also a great piece of marketing.

Will it become the in thing round Gigg Lane to boast about just how much you paid for your season? I’m sure most of their fans wouldn’t want that happen, but the club’s Director of Finance I’m equally sure could live with it!

Posted in Ownership, Revenues, Trusts | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Fisher Athletic and the Brothers Muduroglu

Posted by John Beech on May 13, 2009

Brothers and football club ownership have, for reasons I readily admit that I cannot fathom, had a poor track record in English football. In the early eighties the publicity-shy Bhatti brothers led recent FA Cup semi-finalists and League Cup winners Wolves from the old Division 1 to Division 4 with three consecutive relegations, not to mention insolvency. In the three years from 1989 the Kumar brothers took Birmingham City into insolvency with the collapse of their other business interests.

More recently Crawley Town went into Administration in 2006 with debts of £1.1m under the guidance of the Majeed brothers. This particular saga hit the news again earlier last month when Azwar Majeed was jailed for three and a half years for cheating the revenue, contrary to common law, failure to keep sufficient accounting records and concealing criminal property, contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act (1).

Latest manifestation of this ‘brothers phenomenon’ is at the Champion Hill stadium in East Dulwich. The stadium is home not only to Dulwich Hamlet FC of the Isthmian League Division 1 South but is also temporary home to Fisher Athletic, who are just about to depart the Football Conference South after a disastrous season on the pitch – their goal difference ending up at -78.

Fisher have been owned by the Muduroglu family since 2004 (2). Brother Eren is Chairman but plays a rather hands-off role as he is normally resident in Turin (3) and brother Sami is Eren’s spokesperson and club manager, although you would not know this from the club’s website, as there are ‘currently no staff profiles in our database’ (4). Sami was disqualified from acting as a company director for a period of 5 years in February 2005 (5).

At first all went well for Fisher under the Murduroglu family. In consecutive seasons they rose from the Southern league Eastern Division through the the Isthmian League Premier League to the Conference South.

Things started to go wrong for the club when the Muduoglus produced plans for a new stadium (6), with three possible options, the most expensive with a cost of £35m. This £35m option would have resulted in a 10,000 seater stadium with expressed hopes of it being used in London 2012. Well and good, except that the average home gate for Fisher this season has been 240, and that wouild only fall as Fisher were relegated. Very nearby Millwall, in League 1, have averaged 8461, for the record.

In November 2008 Eren Muduroglu suspended his financial backing, players started to leave, and player payments stopped (7). There followed a brief transfer embargo. As if these weren’t problems enough, in January HMRC started to seek a winding-up order over unpaid taxes, reported to be for £250k although the Muduroglus dispute the amount (8). Fisher earned a little breathing space at the end of April (9), but what was looking increasingly inevitable finally happened at the High Court today – Fisher were wound up (10).

What will become of the club remains unclear (although a resurrectionist ‘AFC’ has been mooted [11]), and equally uncertain is the future of the club’s now abandoned Surrey Docks Stadium, which is located not a million miles from the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, part of a major regeneration project by the London Docklands Development Corporation.

Posted in Assets, Insolvency, Ownership, Stadium | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Glossop and the Hill-Woods

Posted by John Beech on May 11, 2009

Having blogged recently on the demise of Darwen, and in passing mentioned the original Accrington (1), I thoroughly enjoyed David Conn’s article in yesterday’s Observer (2) on the third member of that intrepid band of desaparecidos from the top flight of English football – Glossop North End. Although the article had been prompted by Glossop’s appearance at Wembley for the final of the FA Vase, it gave a fascinating account of Glossop since their disappearance from the top flight, and Arsenal’s rise and rise from the time Samuel Hills-Wood switched his backing from Glossop to the Gunners.

These two threads following the role of Samuel Hills-Woods (and his descendants in the case of Arsenal) offer textbook examples of two phenomena in the professional English game:

  • In the case of Glossop, without a significant benefactor a club which does not have a large population within its immediate catchment area from which it can build a strong fan base is not going to cut it at the top – with the wrong choice of club, a benefactor can only buy success at his continuing cost.
  • In the case of Arsenal, influence and money can be used to build a club into a super-club where there is a large potential fan base. Arsenal under Samuel Hills-Wood in the decade following the First World War makes for an interesting comparison with, in the modern era, Fulham under Mohammed Fayed or Chelsea under Roman Abramovich.

Together they suggest that, unless a benefactor has infinite pockets, in the long term a club should set its sights on what it considers realistically to be its ‘natural level’. What the level is for any particular club is, of course, highly contentious.

Posted in Benefactors, Ownership | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Vodkat vexation

Posted by John Beech on May 9, 2009

Sometimes things need no commentary, especially when you couldn’t make them up.

The following is taken verbatim from the Vodkat League website (1) where it was posted yesterday:

  • STATEMENT REGARDING FLIXTON FC

    Earlier in the season, Flixton had four points deducted for fielding an ineligible player, three points for the offence and one for the point they collected from the game in question. This decision was made in accordance with a rule passed by clubs at the League AGM four years ago.
    However, it has been brought to the League’s attention that the referee for the game in question has now admitted that he failed to report an alteration to the team sheet, and has confirmed that the player in question did not participate in the game.
    The FA has also informed the League that FA rules state that additional points should not be deducted from clubs when an offence of this nature takes place. The FA’s rules state that only points gained from a game in which an ineligible player took part may be deducted. The FA has therefore instructed the League to reinstate the four points deducted from Flixton, as no offence took place.
    As a result, Flixton now move out of one of the relegation places at the bottom of the Premier Division.
    However, on a separate issue, the FA Technical Panel have informed the League Management Committee that Flixton have not obtained Ground Grading F standard to enable them to compete at Step 5 in the National League System. The League has therefore been instructed by the FA that Flixton should be relegated to the Vodkat League Division One for season 2009-10.

    John Deal, Secretary, The Vodkat League

  • Posted in Points deduction, Stadium | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

    Darwen’s demise and the Premier League

    Posted by John Beech on May 8, 2009

    It’s always sad to see a football club fold, but the case of Darwen, which gave up yesterday (1), is a particularly sad one. It is another in a series of significant collapses in the Ribble Valley, arguably the birth place of professional football in England. Famous precursors include the original Accrington and the more famous disappearance of its successor club Accrington Stanley.

    Darwen’s most recent financial troubles have been in the public domain with respect to winding up orders over a debt of approximately £9,000 (2). It is indicative of the extremes football finances have reached that a club which was once in the top flight, had once reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and which has been credited with being the first English club to employ professionals, should fold for a debt which is less than the wages for a day of a Premier League footballer. And this in a week when Manchester United are reported to be bidding £63,000,000 for Franck Ribéry (3).

    The debt which was the subject of the winding up order is only part of Darwen’s recent history of problems – see (4) and (5) for example – and the club’s glory days were, of course, over a century ago. Nonetheless, anyone with a sense of football history will regret their departure. No doubt they will resurrect themselves Accrington-style in the fullness of time.

    Just to the north of Darwen other football matters are top of the agenda today. Burnley and Preston North End are about to embark on the Championship play-offs. If either succeed in gaining promotion to the Premier League, it will struggle to stay up without the initial boost of rocket payments (see my posting of 14 April on Parachute payments, and rocket payments?). More’s the pity; the way the Premier League supports its drop-outs but does not support its new-comers tends to distort its competitive balance by seeking to maintain the status quo of its membership.

    The case of Darwen once again emphasises the need for a better distribution of revenues across the whole spectrum of the professional and semi-professional game.

    Posted in Insolvency | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

    Darlington and Stockport County

    Posted by John Beech on May 7, 2009

    The lot of an Administrator is not one I envy. The primary responsibility of an Administrator is to the company’s debtors, with a proviso that that he/she should try to maintain the company as a going concern, which would normally mean its sale. In other words, the stakeholders whose interests are being protected are primarily the debtors, and to a lesser extent the staff of the company. The interests of fans are not directly a matter of consideration, and so the final outcome will rarely be to the fans’ liking.

    At Darlington an interesting situation is developing. There now seems to be only one offer to buy the club, one which is on and off the table in a game of cat and mouse – the bid by Raj Singh, the club’s former Vice Chairman (1). The Administrator is certainly not obliged to accept Singh’s offer, and will not do so if accepting the offer is not in the best interests of the debtors. Singh will be pushing to maximise the amount of debt written off, while the Administrator will be pushing to minimise it. If these two positions are ultimately incompatible through behind-the-scenes negotiations, liquidation is the likely outcome.

    Over at Stockport County the Administrators appointed are John Titley and Paul Reeves of insolvency experts Leonard Curtis. Leonard Curtis have shown their commitment to trying to keep the company going with this announcement last week: “We have pledged our own personal funds to ensure the vital operational payments are made to enable continuity, which currently includes payment of the transport and accommodation for the last game against Brighton on Saturday” (2). With the club’s bank account frozen, there was a serious possibility that County could not appear at Brighton and complete the season. Nice one, Leonard Curtis, that was over and above the call of duty!

    Posted in Insolvency | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

    Bulls’ Chairman talks bullish

    Posted by John Beech on May 5, 2009

    Perhaps there is some mileage in a TV series called ‘Chairmen say the Funniest Things!’. The first programme might feature Hereford United’s Graham Turner.

    Talking to BBC Hereford and Worcester, he is reported today as condemning ‘the ruling that has allowed Stockport County to stay in League One, despite going into administration’. He is quoted as saying “Clearly the people who run the club couldn’t afford to sustain the expenditure…. Clubs that go into administration should be automatically relegated” (1). He concluded “We had ours [financial problems] 14 years ago and you learn from that lesson that you have to live within your means.” Certainly Hereford had its problems in 1997/98, and its recent record of five years ‘in the black’ suggests strongly that they have learned to live within their means. All credit to Graham Turner for this.

    But perhaps some detail might put Turner’s, and Hereford United’s, moral high-ground into perspective. In May 1997 Hereford, then about to drop back to the Conference, had built up debts of approximately £1,000,000. The club’s cummulative loss for the period 1995 to 1999 were £1,148,890 (2) – a significantly worse situation than the one Stockport County currently find themselves in, and that is without any adjustment for ten year’s inflation.

    In October 1997 it was revealed that players and administrative staff at Hereford United had not been paid for a month (3). Turner at that time was the club’s Director of Football and took a voluntary pay cut of 30% (Times, 2 Jan 1998). Later that month he became majority share-holder and took on the role of Chairman (Belfast News Letter, 23 Jan 1998). Three months later and the club was facing a winding-up order from two creditors.

    New debt of £5000,000 was taken on and a Company Voluntary Agreement was entered into with the club’s creditors. These included the Inland Revenue (£140,000) and Customs and Excise (£120,000) as well as a number of others (£47,000). In case you need reminding, Stockport have been forced into Administration over a debt of £300,000.

    In September 2004 the Hereford Times was able to report that the CVA had been settled. The last two paragraphs of their report are:

    The club initially agreed to repay the entire debt and made a first payment of 40p in the pound. But, this week, creditors accepted a further, smaller, dividend to bring the CVA to a close.
    While the end of the CVA is a significant landmark for the club, a long-standing debt of £1 million, plus interest, remains outstanding to developers Formsole.
    (4)

    Two points are clear – the debts which caused the entry into a CVA, which were mainly due to the Exchequer, were not settled in full, and five years on the club was still dependent on debt. Today, incidentally, a club would not be allowed to stay in a CVA for so long.

    The last five years ‘in the black’ began with a wiped slate, at the taxpayers’ expense, rather simply a clean one.

    Personally I am against the second penalty of points deduction or automatic relegation.

    A case can be made for it I concede. The Chairman of Hereford United doesn’t strike me as the person to make that case however.

    Posted in Insolvency | Tagged: | 15 Comments »

    Setanta struggle on

    Posted by John Beech on May 5, 2009

    In my posting of 20 April A bursting bubble?, I noted that Setanta were trying to renegotiate the contract for the Scottish Premier League broadcasting rights – for seasons yet to commence.

    Clearly Setanta are under pressure as they are now seeking to renegotiate football broadcasting rights contracts south of the border (1). The broadcaster had been hamstrung by failing to get as many of the lucrative Premier League games as it would have liked, and instead had to opt for a shared deal with ITV for England international matches and the FA Cup (2).

    Coming relatively late into the English football market, Ireland-based Setanta had picked up the crumbs which Sky was not interested in, such as a five-year contract signed in 2006 to broadcast Football Conference matches (3). Tom Lehrer famously sang “Second fiddle’s a hard part I know, when they don’t even give you a bow”. Setanta have a bow, but it is not in the same league as Sky’s.

    It is worth recalling that the justification of the merger of British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) into Sky to form BSkyB was that the UK satellite broadcasting market was too small to support two operators given the extremely high entry costs. To prevent a monopoly sports rights are now broken into smaller bundles and exclusivity is a dirty word.

    Given the difficulties Setanta is facing however, it is far from clear that the issue of competition has been solved. Any collapse of Setanta would mean a reversion to a BSkyB monopoly, and serious problems for the Football Conference’s clubs.

    Posted in Broadcasting rights, Revenues | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

    Canaries v. Tractor Boys

    Posted by John Beech on May 4, 2009

    Norwich City’s failure against Charlton yesterday afternoon means that next season they will be playing in League 1 next season, the first time they have played in Tier 3 since 1960. As recently as 2005 they were in the Premier League.

    Since 1996 Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones have been joint majority share-holders in Norwich City plc. In recent years the club has struggled financially, taking out a loan of £15m in 2002 (1), repayable over 15 years – part of a strategy to replace short- and medium-term debt with long-term-debt. Now facing life in Tier 3 this may not seem so wise.

    A deal to develop the land around Carrow Road with 330 flats fell through in October 2003 (2). By December the club’s debt level had risen to £8m, not including the £7m for the redevelopment of the stand planned when the loan was taken out (3). With Delia’s personal touch catering income was booming however. A share offer raised £500k from Delia and husband and £1m from fans (4).

    In February 2004 the land redevelopment project finally went ahead, resulting in an injection of £6m, needed to finance the cost of players who, it was hoped, would keep the club in the Premier League (5). By December that year however the financial impact was beginning to show – the club had lost £3.3m in the previous financial year and debt had risen to £18.1m (6). Relegation from the Premier League the following May was not the scenario the club had been planning for.

    For the year ending 31 May 2006 the club still managed to make a profit after tax of £2.5m, but annual turnover had dropped £37.4m to £24.7m, mirroring the drop in league (7).

    May 2007 brought a cash injection of £2m and new board members, Sharon and Andrew Turner (8). As the Canaries struggled, major sponsor Flybe decided not to renew their contract (9) in April 2008, a decision that seems more worrying a year on when Flybe have just decided to stick with Southampton even though their holding company has gone into Administration (10). Fortunately a replacement sponsor was rapidly found, another with local connections – Aviva, aka Norwich Union (11).

    In September the Turners suddenly stood down from the board (12), and Delia and Michael had had to sink a further £2m into the club to fill the gap in the budget (13). City was reported as up for sale (14).

    As the financial situation worsened, players paid for themselves to fly to travel to an away match at Blackpool (see my posting of 10 April).

    For the past year there have been reports of possible major investment by local insurance tycoon Peter Cullum, but at the beginning of this month this possibility was scotched with his pithy announcement that “the economic environment is simply not conducive to investing in an ailing football club” (15)

    Earlier this season Norwich City was suggested to me as an exemplar of how a club should be run by the Chief Executive of another Championship club, a choice which he would probably not be making today. Indeed, even the Norwich board are reflecting on the business model they had been pursuing (16).

    While Norwich rue their failure to to woo Cullum, down the road at arch rivals Ipswich Town some things look rather different. Admittedly Town have als o been having their financial difficulties – not least, £32m debt. But where Cullum resisted the temptations of Norwich, Marcus Evans , reclusive events magnate, succumbed to them at Ipswich (17), replete with the standard talk of shared values and heritage, not to mention commercial synergies – am I being cynical in questioning whether Ipswich is really the obvious events and conferences destination? The lion’s share of the club’s debt has been converted into so-called ‘soft debt’.

    There has been no magical transformation in the club’s trading figures – in January this year an annual pre-tax loss of £5.5m was reported, in contrast to the previous year’s profit of £93,000 (18). New appoints since then include Bryan Klug as Head of Football Development, Simon Clegg as Chief Executive Officer, and Roy Keane as Manager. Time will tell whether they bring success, but the club has a rosier view of the immediate future than does Norwich.

    So, football supremacy in East Anglia is being determined by a Battle of the Wallets, one which Ipswich are currently winning and Norwich are losing [and all other local clubs will be condemned to be simply also-rans (19)] . This is not simply an East Anglian phenomenon – it is being repeated all over the country, and is an indictment of the management malaise which pervades the English game. It is no longer just the Premier League in which clubs are reduced to the status of rich men’s play things.

    Posted in Governance, Insolvency, Ownership | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

    Stockport County

    Posted by John Beech on May 1, 2009

    Stockport County announced yesterday afternoon that they had been placed in Administration, a move which apparently came as a shock to the Board but perhaps less of a surprise to observers (1). One significant difference from the recent cases of Darlington and Southampton Holdings is that the club did not initiate the move – it had Administration forced on it by one of its creditors.

    Total debts are reported to be £500,000 (2), which, on the basis of research conducted at Centre for the International Business of Sport (3), is not what would normally be considered as at an inappropriate level for a League 1 club.

    Specifically Stockport County have been under pressure over two large debts – £250,000 owed to HMRC (4), which is reducing and HMRC seem prepared to wait for, and a loan of £300,000 from David Farms Ltd. The latter was taken out last summer (5) and at the beginning of this month David Farms Ltd. served notice that they were recalling the loan (6). This led to the club’s bank account being frozen and Sale Sharks RUFC, who share Edgeley Park with County, had to step in and pay a police bill so that the match against Crewe Alexandra could take place (7). Clearly the club could not continue operating on this basis and Administration became inevitable.

    The club is owned by a Supporters Trust, and they must be wondering at the consortia who have been reported in the last month as wanting to buy the club. ‘Names in the frame’ include Carolne David, of David Farms, and former managing director Mark Maguire, who brokered the loan from David Farms and resigned from the club this February. Another name is former owner Brendan Elwood, noted for his treatment of various past managers Danny Bergara (Elwood falsely claimed to the Board that Bergara had assaulted him), Jim Gannon and Carlton Palmer. If he were successful in buying the club, the local Employment Tribunal might expect to be busy on the basis of Elwood’s track record.

    In any case, a move out of ownership by a Supporters Trust would be an unwelcome and retrograde move, and, if the example of Bournemouth is considered, unlikely to be a panacea.

    Posted in Insolvency, Ownership | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

     
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