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

More on Watford’s woes

Posted by John Beech on December 19, 2009

The banging and crashing of egos in the Vicarage Road boardroom have died down, the club is not going into Administration, and it will not be deducted 10 points. So, Watford fans can dismiss the shenanigans of the last week and turn their attentions back to performance on the pitch.

It would be foolish though to ignore the implications of recent events.

While the outcome might suggest that the multi-benefactor business model is marginally more sustainable than the single-benefactor one, the brinkmanship involved does not suggest the former is a particularly attractive or desirable model.

What we have seen is a blatant battle for power, or more specifically control.  Both sides were prepared to risk the club to achieve their ends.  If Jimmy Russo is a ‘bad man’ as Graham Taylor has suggested (1), it would be difficult to identify any of the participants in the battle as a ‘good man’.  I exclude Graham Taylor himself as he is not one of the major benefactors slugging it out.

Quite what the relationship of the Russos and Robin Williams now is, and will be, with the club remains unclear.  As I write, trading of shares in Watford Leisure on the AIM had not been resumed (2), but, in any case, there had been relatively low levels of trading recently.  This may change.

For the club, there may be a problem with suppliers in the immediate future. Recently at Southampton, the new Swiss owners found suppliers demanding payment up front in spite of the new regime (3).

This would be the least of the club’s problems however.  The present crisis came to a head with the club suffering cashflow problems, through an inability to follow the maxim of Mr Micawber. Unless the club can start to cut its cloth accordingly, a new crisis will be not too far away.

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