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! Football Finance

Life’s tough in Administration

Posted by John Beech on April 1, 2009

Dave Penney, Darlington’s under-pressure manager, has attacked the club’s Administrators, Wilson Field, accusing them of treating the players like amateurs (1). His team had just beaten Barnet away in spite of having to make the long journey south on the morning of the match as the Administrators would not sanction the costs of an overnight stay in a hotel (2).

Understandable though his attitude may be, it shows a failure to recognise how serious the club’s financial situation is, and what the court-backed responsibilities of an Administrator are.

The issue of travel costs had already arisen this season with Norwich, cash-strapped but not in Administration. The club had refused to pay for a flight for the team to play at Blackpool, so the players, feeling strongly about the matter but well aware of the financial pressure, paid £200 each for a flight (3). Ironically, ten days later Norwich City closed their Travel Shop as part of an economy drive (4).

Every little helps, if you believe Tesco’s strapline, but if a club wants to cut costs significantly there is only one budget that can be effectively pruned – players’ salaries. Most risible economy measure of the season must surely be Chelsea’s reported plan to withdraw free meals for players at their training ground (5), as if this would have any impact on the club’s level of debt!


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