Livingston shuffle deckchairs…
Posted by John Beech on June 30, 2009
… or should that be ‘fiddle while Rome burns’?
Oddest story of the week so far comes from North of the border, and thus technically outwith the remit of this blog, but it merits a mention nonetheless – Livingston have appointed a new coach (1). What makes this so odd is that the club is likely to be plunged into Administration by the end of today.
Almost exactly a year ago majority shareholder Pearse Flynn sold his shares to an Italian consortium headed by Angelo Massone (2). Their colourful management style became apparent the following day, when manager Mark Proctor was sacked (3). On the plus side, the new consortium did mange to pump enough money in to get a transfer embargo lifted (4).
The first hint that the new backers did not have deep enough pockets came in Novemeber, with allegations of unpaid wages, monies due for players, and predictably money owed to HMRC (5). No doubt sensing that all was not well, Flynn threatened legal proceedings for money which he said was still due to him (6). Even the club’s milkman said he hadn’t been paid (7).
How did the club react? They sacked the newly appointed manager, Roberto Landi (8).
Into the new year and there were persistent reports that players and other staff had not received wages. This the club denied (9).
By March there was talk of Administration in the air (10). Concerns over the payment of wages continued; so, time to sack the manager, Paul Hegarty (11). At the end of April the SFL became concerned over the club’s record regarding the payment of wages (12).
Next Massone announced talks with West Lothian Council about buying the stadium (Almondvale) (13). Quite how this was going to be financed remains unclear, as the club was £280,000 in arrears on rent to the Council (14).
Massone then turned down an offer to buy the club from Gordon McDougall (15). As the financial plight worsened, the electricity supply was cut off over a £32,000 bill (16). Not all together unsurprisingly the club’s sponsor, RDF, pulled the plug on their contract (17).
The deadline to resolve the rent arrears is today. On past form one might have expected Masseone to sack the manager. This he can’t do, because he hasn’t yet appointed a permanent replacement for Paul Hegarty. The appointment of a new coach therefore became an urgent priority, although there is still the caretaker manager David Hay who can be pressed into the firing line (18).