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

Green Army to the rescue

Posted by John Beech on December 22, 2010

It’s a shameful state of affairs when a business can’t even pay its lower-paid workers on time at Christmas.  All the more shaming that its customers should step forward to the rescue.  That may not be an analysis that immediately occurs to a football fan, but that is precisely what has happened at Plymouth Argyle (1).

Argyle fan Ian Newell, through PASOTI (Plymouth Argyle Supporters on the Internet) have started a campaign to raise money for the club’s non-playing staff, who were paid late in November, and for whom there is uncertainty over their December pay cheques.  As Ian puts it, “We want to help the lads and lasses who we see every other week at Home Park, but we also want to show to people like Sir Roy Gardner [chairman], and Keith Todd [executive director], that the normal rank and file fan seems to think more of their staff than they do.  The Plymouth directors should hang their heads in shame for what has happened to this club and the way they have treated their staff.”  Well said Ian.

The club offers the following on their website, describing what happened following the extension to HMRC’s winding-up petition until February: “The club then applied for a validation order to allow us access to our banking facilities, which had been ‘frozen’ pending the winding-up hearing.  On Monday, we were duly given limited access to our account, enabling us to carry out transactions essential for our immediate trading needs.  This meant we were able to pay a majority of the Home Park office staff in full; however, the playing staff and some office staff have received a partial payment.” (2)  Which is fine as an explanation, but certainly doesn’t constitute an excuse.

Three cheers for Ian and PASOTI, and three boos for Sir Roy and gang.

Not that this is a unique occurrence.  Pompey fans stepped in earlier this year to pay club creditors St John’s Ambulance when the club went into Administration (3), as did Crystal Palace fans (4).  And see too A good news story? for football club staff so loyal that they were willing to take a ‘pay holiday’, where I cited five instances.

It’s a shameful state of affairs in any business sector that this should be a worryingly often repeated incidence.  It’s not exactly the case that there isn’t money going into the game – it’s just pouring out in obscene amounts to an elite amongst the employees.   In the Christmas spirit, I would point out that David James and colleagues at Portsmouth did put their hands in their pockets to keep some of the ground staff away from the dole queue (5).  Again in the Christmas spirit, perhaps his greedier colleagues might like to think twice as they sit by and let their agents push their salaries up to even more ridiculous levels. Who knows – perhaps they might even donate to the fund.



2 Responses to “Green Army to the rescue”

  1. John Beech said

    Donations are approaching the £4,000 mark (A). There’s still time to make a donation (see above how to do this).

  2. Are they priorotising paying playing staff over non playing staff? That is not a fair situation and could be done to avoid the bad publicity and possuble transfer embargo’s that accompany not paying players

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