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

Think of a number…

Posted by John Beech on December 28, 2009

It doesn’t take an academic to spot that ‘one million pounds over a period of time’ is a completely meaningless amount.  The ravages of inflation mean that a pound today is worth far less than a pound was worth, say, twenty years ago. One thousand pounds a year as the starting salary of a graduate in 1970 would be the equivalent of almost £21,000 today, for example (1).

Yet ‘one million pounds over a period of time’ is precisely, or in fact very imprecisely, what David Handley, formerly the Financial Director of King’s Lynn, who certainly therefore should know better, has announced he will invest into a new club, that is, one which he would own.  His announcement (2), I’m afraid, is no more than, in the traditional sense of the phrase, clap trap – a cheap theatrical device to get easy applause.

He says he wants fans on any new board of directors, a claim familiar to Accrington Stanley fans, who gained no representation when Ilyas Khan actually took over.

Quite why he is prepared to invest such a large amount now (or over some unspecified future period) but was prepared to see the former club disappear because of a debt of £66,000 is unexplained.  He is, after all, the man who as recently as October assured fans he ‘will have The Walks outfit on a sound financial footing by the end of the season… I want the fans to judge me at the end of the season, but I’m determined to get the club in a good financial position and move forward from there‘ (2).  The answer must surely lie in the issue of who controls the club, both the previous manifestation and any future one.

If he was prepared to stand by and let the old club fold, why exactly should fans or King’s Lynn Borough Council (owners of the Walks stadium) have any faith in his plans for a future club?  If he wants what is best for a new club and for the community, would he be prepared to put funding into a Community Interest Company running a new club?  The answers to these questions are vital if he wishes to salvage any credibility.


7 Responses to “Think of a number…”

  1. david handley said

    The reason I could not bail out the old board is because they would of remained at the club.
    I gave them a chance to clear up their own mess. They didn’t now they have gone I can do the job properly
    Secondly the £1,000,000.00 is available now to be invested in the right areas for solid foundations.
    A full plan will be published after the final meeting with the council.
    Lastly the trust are in my plans and they know it.

  2. david handley said

    As for the quote from Lynn news you have used that was the second day in the job and what was revealed after that time brought us all to this.
    Please attain more knowledge before writing such a piece in future.

  3. John Beech said

    I’m pleased to publish these clarifications from David Handley – thanks for responding, David.

    If you add me to your mailing list for press releases, I will be able to ‘attain more knowledge’ rather than depend solely on press reports.

    I would also be pleased to publish an answer to the question of whether you would be willing to put funding into a Community Interest Company running a new club.

  4. Simon Cope said

    David, I think you owe it to the fans of Kings Lynn to specify exactly how you are going to introduce this £1 million to the new club. Will it all be as share capital in a new limited liability company? Will it be as a director’s loan? Are you going to put all the cash in in one go? If so, what controls are you going to put in place to ensure that the club’s finances are secure for the next 15 years (I think you promised this in a recent interview with the EDP)?

    What are you thoughts with regard to structuring the board of the new club? Will you be guaranteeing places on the board for fans’ representatives? If so, how many? How will those appointments be made? How many other directors will there be?

    Finally, what succession planning do you have in place?

  5. TonyM said

    And yet another twist
    Thank goodness the Council will put us all out of our misery (in terms of at least who runs the new club) later this week

  6. John Beech said


    The resurrection of football in King’s Lynn is beginning. After some delay the club has been granted a temporary licence to the Walks Stadium by the Council (1), and the club has been accepted into the United Counties Premier Division (Tier 9; Step 5 in Non-League)(2). Good to luck to the reformed Linnets next season!

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