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

The Saints saga

Posted by John Beech on July 9, 2009

With the purchase of the club from the Administrators by the Liebherr consortium, headed by Markus Liebherr, an inglorious chapter of Southampton’s history finally draws to a close. Those who want a quick summary of the chapter, see the Southern Daily Echo‘s comprehensive timeline (1).

I say ‘finally’ because it seems so long ago that the holding company collapsed – in fact, it was only on 1st April that the Administrators moved in.

One apparent oddity was the fight that Mark Fry, Joint Administrator, put up to get the 10 point deduction removed because it was the holding company rather than the club itself which had gone into Administration. This argument was always spurious – if he took this line as the Administrator of the holding company, what business of his was this club-specific issue? Well, none in reality, but as the Administrator he was obliged to act in such a way as to try and save the holding company, which inevitably meant trying to put the club into best shape for a sale.

The club and the holding company were thus, as it was ruled by the Football League, a single economic entity. This precedent being established has , thank goodness, precluded a lot of paper shuffling by insolvent clubs to create organisational structures which would get through this ‘loophole’, a loophole which has never, Fry established unfortunately for his plans, existed.


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