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

Archive for March, 2011

When a club is at its most vulnerable

Posted by John Beech on March 27, 2011

A week can be a long time in football, but, having been out of the country for a week, working in the Tirol, I find it quite surprising in some ways how little has happened, or, to be more precise, resolved itself.  Two ‘sagas’ which have been on my radar screens for several weeks have made no real progress towards a denouement – the cases of Plymouth Argyle and Wrexham.  For both clubs, fans face the continuing uncertainty of who will be the new owners.

The former is now in the hands of an Administrator, and the sale of the club seems, at least at the time I write, to hinge on the issue of how much previous owners are prepared to write off with respect to Home Park (1).  In the case of the latter, well, one reason I haven’t blogged on the trials of the club is the sheer rate at which stories have been breaking.  Ian King, over at TwoHundredPerCent, has been doing an excellent job in keeping the story up-to-date with added interpretation and comment, but even he seems to have grown just a tad weary of following the wilder intricacies of the competition to buy the club.  Arguably the only ray of sunshine for Wrexham fans has been the fact that they have been spared Stephen Vaughan as owner.

While there is a significant difference between the two clubs in terms of who is selling the club – an Administrator on the one hand and (how on earth do I summarise the situation at Wrexham?) let’s just say a sale by the latest of a series of ‘benefactors’ – what is particularly striking is an obvious similarity.  When it comes to the sale of a club, it is the club as ‘company’ that is for sale, and any concerns for the club as ‘construct’ take a seriously back seat.  [If you are not clear about the distinction I am making, see an earlier posting.]  There is, of course, an inevitability about this, but surely there should systems in place to ensure that the continuity of the club as ‘construct’ is not compromised through a bad change in club as ‘company’.

At present there are two checks in place – the ‘Fit and Proper Person Test’ and the handing over of the ‘Golden Share’.  There are so many examples of the repeated sale of a football club – think Portsmouth, with four owners last season, a period in Administration, and still an uncertain ownership for the future – that it is obvious that these two checks are woefully inadequate.  Amazingly the FA set up a committee (no, I know that’s not amazing, but bear with me) back in 2003 to sort out an effective Fit and Proper Person Test (1), and I take it as self-evident that we do not yet have one.  Similarly, the ‘Golden Share’ is normally handed on to new owners with little thought to the wellbeing of the club as ‘construct’.

Football governance, and its current inadequacies are very much on the agenda, and I live in hope of serious change.  (My submission to the House of Commons Select Committee is downloadable here; all submissions are available here.)

Increasingly I am minded that the introduction of a rigorous system of club registration is the reform we need to improve football governance.  One of the major difficulties I see for any reform is the issue of transition to a new system.  For example, advocates of introducing the Bundesliga system with ’50 + 1′ fan ownership seldom explain just how the current share holdings of the club will be transferred to fan ownership – which 50%?  A club registration system can be designed so that the well run club need make little or no changes to become registered.  Badly run clubs would have to reform, and, when a club changes hands, the new ownership would be placed under close scrutiny.

It’s just a pity that any reform will come too late to remove the current worries of Plymouth Argyle, Wrexham, Portsmouth, etc., etc. fans.  All they can do is pray is that their club as ‘company’ is delivered into ethical and benevolent hands, and that their club as ‘construct’ survives without, in the worst case scenario, an ‘Accrington Stanley, Aldershot, Maidstone United or the many more recent non-league examples’ discontinuity and the need for resurrection.  Nobody wants another club to face the need for resurrection, but, at present, the checks in place make it likely that some club will have to go through that drastic process in the future.

If club registration is to be effective, it is vital that the body which oversees it has teeth.  An unreformed FA would not be my choice.  In the current climate though, the dream of a reformed FA is perhaps not totally unrealistic.

UPDATE – 29 March 2011

Interesting piece by Matt Scott of The Guardian here.  All four strands he suggests will be incorporated into a Football Governance and Major Events Act are long overdue, but why just football?

Posted in Fit and Proper Person tests, Football Association, Governance | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

The fickle fate of football managers

Posted by John Beech on March 14, 2011

This morning’s announcement that Aidy Boothroyd has been sacked as manager of Coventry City (1) brings a local dimension for me on that increasingly common fate for a manager who does not bring success to their club.  There is a second very recent local case, that of Ian Sampson at Northampton Town (2), which I will turn to below.

In Boothroyd’s case his team had produced only one win in the last sixteen games, so it is pretty clear that some action by the board was justified.  In a general sense though, and I emphasise that I not focusing on recent form and events at Coventry, there are the unaddressed, and I suspect internally unasked by a Board of Directors, questions a) have we given this manager a chance to show his mettle beyond the short-term situation he inherited, b) have we given him the support he might reasonably expect, and c) are there any issues to do with his recruitment and appointment that we, the Board, have been in any way at fault with?  I doubt that in general the answers to these three questions are an unequivocal ‘Yes’, ‘Yes’, and ‘No’.

At Coventry there have been recent Board changes (3), so there may be at least an element of ‘new brushes’ and ‘sweeping clean’.  Nevertheless, as recently as five weeks ago, Chairman Ray Ranson (4), someone not exactly unversed in the vaguaries of the football sector, who has been chairman of Coventry City for just over three years, and who must accept the responsibility for Boothroyd’s appointment in May last year, said “There are no issues whatsoever with Aidy – we’re still very supportive of the manager” (5). Not, of course, that such statements of confidence in a manager are infrequently an omen of a sacking.

At Northampton Town at the beginning of this month Ian Sampson was sacked as manager (6), having failed to produce a win in the previous seven games. In this case, the three questions I have posed certainly need to be asked.  Sampson had been an employee of the club since 1994!  He had played 449 games for the club, then been promoted from youth team coach to first team coach, then caretaker manager, and finally manager in October 2009. He was given a fresh three-year contract in March 2010.

‘Seven failures to produce a win’ sets Sampson’s recent form in an unfairly poor light – six of the results had been draws.

Chairman David Cardoza defended the sacking of an employee with seventeen years service thus:

“The club must always come first but that doesn’t make this decision any easier.  I, my fellow directors, the staff and supporters all wanted Ian to succeed.  I really hoped Ian would prove a successful manager here, but I did not see enough signs that we were improving as a side. Ian had put together a decent squad, and in a way that made our league position all the more unacceptable, and we are at a crucial time of year.

“I wanted to make this change now to give us time to go through a detailed recruitment process and to give the new man time to assess the squad before the end of the season, to look at the budget for next season and have a full summer to recruit and make the changes they see fit.

“No-one is ruled in and no-one is ruled out as we begin our search for our next manager. I think this will be an attractive job.”

Ironic that you should think that, David.  Ian Sampson himself had said just before Christmas “I’m a fairly loyal person, I was happy with my work and the environment created by Northampton. When you’re happy, you don’t look to go anywhere else.”  Not of course unless you’re sacked that is.

If Sampson were guilty of incompetence, á la Peter Principle, would the decent thing not have been to have moved him sideways rather than that ultimate and brutal decision to sack him?

Wouldn’t it be rather fine if just once a Director put his hand up and said “I accept full responsibility for the appointment of this manager“, did the decent thing and resigned himself?

UPDATE – 28 MARCH 2011

A rather more reasonable approach is shown at Scarborough Athletic (A) .

Posted in Human Resource Management, Organisational culture, Players' careers | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Open season on interns?

Posted by John Beech on March 10, 2011

Yes, it’s the Gunfight at the Cobham Coral saga.

For those of you not up-to-date with the jargon of Higher Education, an intern is someone who, in Old Speak, was on an industrial placement from a sandwich course.  Typically this would be the third year of a four year undergraduate degree programme.  The thinking is that such a placement, or internship, gives a broader education and enhances the student’s employment prospects once he or she has graduated.

Reports that no charges are likely to be brought, and that the police investigation was so thorough that, it is reported, they didn’t even include speaking to either Ashley Cole or the shot intern, Tom Cowan, (1) simply beggar belief.

Chelsea are really sorting this one out though – Cole might be fined up to two weeks’ pay (2) and Ancelotti’s reaction is reported as “I am angry, obviously, but to read that [the training ground at] Cobham is out of control is totally wrong. I’ve been a manager for 20 years and one of the most important things is discipline. Players have to observe the rules.  Ashley made a mistake. When he said sorry he was really disappointed [with himself]. But what do we have to do now? Kill him?” (3)  Ancelotti ‘angry’?  Cole ‘disappointed with himself’?  For God’s sake get real guys – someone was shot in the workplace!

Imagine for one moment that the situation had been reversed – that Cowan had brought the air rifle to work and accidentally shot Cole.  Would everyone have been quite so laid back about it?  I would suggest they wouldn’t.

The incident, or more specifically its aftermath, bring shame on the club.  The silence so far (at least so far as I’ve been able to trace) of the Premier League and the Football Association speak volumes about the power of the club and the indifference of the governing bodies to such an incident.  What would it take to get them to condemn Chelsea – the death of an intern?

I find it staggering that the club hasn’t even bothered to make public more detail of what precisely happened, or what their internal investigation has shown.  After all, this incident took place two and a half weeks ago.  In the Ancelotti world of chronic understatement, I’m ‘disappointed with Chelsea’.

UPDATE – 12 March 2011

The police have said that they will not be taking any action (A).  There are two impediments – the incident took place on private property (in which case, the law is an ass; this is, in my opinion, utterly absurd – the incident happened in a place of employment, and employees should be legally protected), and Tom Cowan has declined to file a criminal complaint.  Make of the latter what you will.

The same report suggests that the club can fine Cole up to £250,000 (two weeks salary).  Have they?  The silence from the club remains deafening.

UPDATE – 29 March 2011

Latest ‘jolly jape’ involves a dart and a youth player (see here).  What sort of injury is it going to take before clubs take this kind of behaviour seriously?

Posted in Ethics, Football Association, Governance, Health & Safety, Human Resource Management, Organisational culture, Premier League, Public relations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Onward and upward at Portsmouth?

Posted by John Beech on March 5, 2011

As Plymouth Argyle fans come to terms with their club being in Administration, they can look along the South coast to Portsmouth to see that things can get better.  On Thursday UHY Hacker Young, Pompey’s Administrators announced “the completion of the Club’s Company Voluntary Arrangement and exit from Administration on 24 February 2011.  On 10 February 2011 an order was made by the Court confirming that on completion of the Administration the case would move to Compulsory Liquidation. Subsequently, the Secretary of State was appointed on 25 February 2011 with Geoffrey Carton-Kelly and David Hudson of Baker Tilly being appointed as Joint Liquidators on 28 February 2011.” (1)  Portsmouth City Football Club Ltd. is dead – long live Portsmouth Football Club (2010) Ltd.!  I hope not too many fans will feel a need to try and sort out tattoos – in fact, I wonder how many people even realised that the old company included the word ‘City’ in its name.

The Administrator’s Final Progress Report is downloadable here (as is the Completion of the Arrangement Report) – a welcome example of transparency.  The Final Progress Report makes for interesting reading, and below I’ve set out some of the points it makes, in the order they occur in the report, with some thoughts of my own in italics:

  • Although Kevin‐Prince Boateng was sold to Genoa last August for €5,750,000, an installment payment plan was agreed.  The first two of the four payments have been made, but the third, due on 15 January 2011 for €1,325,000, has yet to be paid in full.  In fact, only £175,000 has so far been received.  The fourth installment, for the same amount, is due on 15 July 2011, will go to the new company.
    Payments have been problematic from the beginning (2). Portsmouth, of course, don’t exactly have the moral highground when it comes to payments, but these are sums which the new company will be very much reliant on.
  • The sale of Tommy Smith to QPR will result in an extra £400,000 being paid if QPR are promoted to the Premier League.
    Which looks increasingly likely, so good news for Portsmouth.
  • Six players – Mahoto, Nlundulu, Subotic, Jordan Hughes, Papa Bouba Diop, and Hurst – agreed to cancel their contracts and thus reduce the club’s wages bill.
    There is a lot of criticism of players for being greedy.  Clearly this is not always the case.
  • “Breakfast and lunch was also provided for the first team and the Academy at the training ground.  The total cost of food and drink purchases in the period was £41,494.13.”
    Interesting that in a climate of cost cutting, Pompey did not choose to follow the example considered by Chelsea of charging players training for their lunch (3), but Pompey players are no longer on Chelsea salaries. 

  • “Police costs for the 2010/11 season were raised by the police due to the team being in the Championship and, as a result, playing more games.”
    While the rationale is clear, it does highlight in general a generally ignored discrepancy between the Premier League and the Championship – the number of league games played in the season.  Sure, there are the games in Europe for some PL teams, but the players in the PL strugglers have a less demanding season than those in Championship clubs, for much higher wages.  There’s something not quite right about this. 

  • “A VAT surcharge of £23,224.63 was incurred for the late submission of the VAT return for the period ended 30 November 2010. I have withheld these monies (and they are currently being held in my client account) whilst I challenge the surcharge. If I am successful I advise these funds will be forwarded to PFC10.”
    My God!  HMRC must just love Pompey…
  • Jobsite re-signed as club sponsors, but at a reduced rate because of the club’s relegation.
    Nevertheless, Andronikou reports that the new figure as “favourable when compared to other teams in the division”, some evidence for those who believe in the power of long-term sponsor relationships. 

  • There have been a total of ninety staff redundancies.
    On the one hand this was inevitable, but it is all too easy to forget the human cost to those involved.
  • The Academy has survived in spite of all the pressures.
    This has to be good news for the longer-term future of the club.
  • Sky TV was installed at a cost of £3,092.60 in the club’s offices, training grounds and hospitality suites.
    A minor amount, but isn’t it a tad ludicrous that Sky gets a revenue from clubs as well as from fans?
  • Ownership details of PFC(2010) are:

    Authorised and Issued Share Capital: 1,000,000 ordinary £1 shares
    Shareholder: Sports Holdings (Asia) Limited hold 100%
    Directors: Balram Chainrai, Levi Kushnir, Deepak Chainrai, David Lampitt, John Redgate
    Company Secretary: John Redgate
    I confirm that Sports Holdings (Asia) Limited is a British Virgin Islands company wholly owned by another British Virgin Islands company, Horizon Eclipse Inc (‘Horizon’). Horizon has 1,000 ordinary£1 shares both authorised and issued.
    These shares are issued as follows: Balram Chainrai 445; Levi Kushnir 445; Deepak Chainrai; 100; Ashok Patel 10

    This is not new information (4), and to me is distinctly bad news.  As soon as I see ‘British Virgin Islands company’ I break out in a cold sweat.  Too many too recent memories of Falcondrone and Portpin…  This lack of transparency is certainly not helpful and should be eradicated from English football ASAP.

  • Among the assets transferred to the new company, ‘Goodwill’ is listed at a value of £1.
    A bit of an over-estimate some might think  😉
  • On the Sulley Muntari transfer saga:

    As previously reported, following the sale of SM to Inter Milan (‘IM’) in 2008, £900,000 is now heavily overdue in respect of certain terms within the sale contract. IM had initially withheld these monies due to the fact that Udinese Calcio (‘Udinese’), a fellow Italian team, were due money by the Club. Udinese have now been paid those monies by the PL, however, Udinese believe that further monies are due. This matter is in dispute and is ongoing in the courts.It is not envisaged that IM will make payment until the matter with Udinese has been resolved. I advise that PFC10 are now continuing to pursue these monies and have full entitlement to any monies realised in this respect.

    Just the sort of problem the new club would do without.  Nothing to do with the fact that Inter have managed a cumulative loss of €509 million over the last three years then (5), impressive even by Pompey standards.

  • The ghost of Sascha Gaydamak continues to haunt the club.  On the dispute between the club and him, Andronikou comments:

    As you are aware after the initial six month period the [Barclays Bank] balance was frozen as a result of Alexander Gaydamak’s (‘AG’) claim for a subrogated right of security on these funds.  At this time Barclays held funds totalling £498,129.54.  I advise that in order to obtain a Deed of Release for these funds it was necessary to pay a ransom payment to AG of 50% of the monies held. I advise that a total of £249,064.77 was therefore paid to AG.

    This bitter dispute has an additional implication for the club – it continues to pay Milland 2004, a Gaydamak company, for the use of the stadium car park.  The fact that Gaydamak still ‘earns’ from the club he set on the way to its current situation when he sold it to Sulaiman Al Fahim (albeit it was a house of cards ripe for toppling) will not exactly endear him to the fans.

  • Non-preferential creditors (who are being paid 20p in the £) were owed a total of £65,155,211.  This includes £17,135,173 owed to HMRC, a figure which is described as ‘being reviewed’.
    Is there still a twist to come in the battle with HMRC?  I had thought the figure had finally been agreed following HMRC’s legal challenge. 

  • Peter Storrie has been paid almost £110,000 as a consultant.
    Does he think he’s a banker on a bonus?  Whatever the contractual agreement and the going rate may or may not be, it strikes me as quite wrong for him to be benefiting on such a scale from the club in Administration.

  • A confidential report on the conduct of PCFC’s directors has been submitted to the Insolvency Service, and the Liquidators of PCFC will be carrying out their own investigations.
    They may well prove to be more skeletons lurking the cupboard. Good that the past activities of the PCFC board will be subject to scrutiny.  And of course there are the upcoming tax court cases – Storrie is due to appear in court in May, Redknapp in July.

The prospects of club as ‘company’ (see my 3Cs model)look good in terms of the organisation that the Administrator has shaped for the new owners.  Who those owners are even in the mid-term are a cause for worry though.  The prospects for club as ‘construct’ certainly look good look good, with Cotterill and the players seemingly on a roll.  So, to any Plymouth Argyle fans reading this, there is life after Administration.  They might also look closer to home – Bournemouth and, dare I say it, Exeter – for cause for hope.

But never let it be said that I am losing my touch as a miserable curmudgeon though. Notwithstanding that all charities have now been paid in full, the majority of  unsecured creditors have lost 80% of the monies owed to them and this will leave a very bad taste for a very long time, as will the fact that the club is coming out of Administration and back into the hands of the owner who placed them there.

Posted in Debts, HMRC, Insolvency, Ownership | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Argyle directors finally admit defeat

Posted by John Beech on March 4, 2011

The desperate rearguard fight by the Plymouth Argyle board to keep their control on trading has finally ended with the club going into Administration (1) and (2).  They had already declared their ‘Intention to enter Administration’ (3), which attracted a 10 points deduction this season and the virtual certainty of relegation.

The reason they gave for ‘buying time’ was to see if they could find a buyer, a possibility that never seemed likely to this observer.  As the period in which they could remain is ‘intending to enter Administration’ drew to a close, they were faced with a choice – enter Administration voluntarily, where they would have some say in who was appointed as Administrator, or wait for HMRC to press for a winding-up petition, which would have led to a less friendly, more creditor-oriented, Administrator.  With HMRC pressing for a winding-up petition, not surprisingly they chose the former course.

This prolonging of the fans’ agony, by building up hope that a knight in shining amour was just waiting to be teased out of hiding by Peter Ridsdale, suggests to me that they had rather taken their eye of the ball , started to focus on red herrings, and altogether lost the plot (apologies for that horrendous mixing of metaphors).  Questions will surely be asked as to why they had not sought court protection earlier.  If pushed, they may even have to defend a charge of trading insolvently.  This might be difficult to answer given that Argyle’s staff have not been paid for six weeks, and the club’s bank account had been frozen a week ago, this not being the first occasion that had happened of late (4).

Perhaps the oddest dimension of this tale of a last-minute fight against the odds is that three of the directors are accountants, a profession normally known for prudence rather than a lack of realism.  They at least will be relieved that they had sold some of their shares to Japanese investors, so won’t have had all their personal funds at risk.  The extent to which the Japanese have participated in this week’s decision-making remains unclear, as is their reaction to the news that the money they finally sent proved to be too little money too late (5).

As if things weren’t litigious enough, it was announced yesterday that the Charities Commission is to investigate a loan made to the club by The Plymouth Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust, a body which exists to promote the training and education of young footballers (6).

What Brendan Guilfoyle, who has previously been the Administrator at Luton Town and  Crystal Palace, finds as he goes through the Argyle books remains to be seen.  The debt level, by received wisdom is some £3m, and possibly an injection of up to £10m is needed to restore the club to being a going business.  At this stage Liquidation cannot be ruled out as a possibility.

While Guilfoyle may well see the selling of the club as a distinct challenge, he does have one intangible he can promote – the geographical location of the club and the potential to regrow the fanbase.  He is also at least no longer encumbered with unrealistic plans for an enormous stadium (see postings passim).

Posted in Debts, HMRC, Insolvency | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Trouble at Rossendale United and Rothwell Town

Posted by John Beech on March 1, 2011

Those who are ‘fleet of ear’ will have picked up on Sunday’s 5 Live Investigates that Rossendale United and Rothwell Town (and, to pick up on Kevin Rye’s well-placed pass, not Runcorn Linnets!) have serious cause for concern.  Clubs in crisis as you go further down the pyramid tend to be less well reported.  These two clubs have come across my laptop screen this last week, but I would certainly not claim to have full knowledge of what is happening, and would welcome any corrections, updates or amplifications.

First up is Rossendale United.  The club faces expulsion from the  League for non-fulfillment of matches (1).  The immediate problem is that the club’s water supply has been turned off (2), which proved to be the last straw for the three fans who in effect had become the management team struggling to keep the club going (see also here, posting by David Hancock).

The club is suffering from a classic case of BWS – ‘Benefactor’ Withdrawal Syndrome.  The club had been ‘saved from financial ruin’ in 1999 by local ‘benefactor’ Andrew Connolly, who ironically is a demolition expert.  His long-term goal was – and here the dreaded ‘A’ word. ‘ambition’ inevitably creeps in – to take the club to the Conference (3).  As he put it at the time, “If it’s good enough for Manchester United, it’s good enough for Dale“.

Initially things went relatively well, with a grant for new floodlights (4) and the appointment of a Commercial Manager (5).  By 2003 Connolly and his wife Sandra were beginning to feel the pressure though, and a new Board was appointed (6).  Managers came and went (nothing out of the ordinary there then!), but in 2006 the Chairman, Declan Callan, who had been “hailed as the man who turned the club around” resigned (7).  Connolly expressed his continuing committment to the club, and pointed out “I have personally invested £370,000 into the club which has put enormous strain on my main business” (8).  Many a fan would have doubtless seen this as Rossendale United’s good fortune, but I would see it as the setting up of a business model that would clearly be unsustainable if Connolly was either unwilling or unable to continue this funding.  It would also see it as financial doping, the deliberate attempt to buy success and upset the competitive balance within the league.

By the end of that year, Connolly was becoming understandably exasperated.  He said he would pay the bills “for the very last time” (9).  This is how he saw the situation:

I am lost for ideas for the club. No local businesses want to get involved but we are now probably in the highest position that we have ever been.

‘My company has put £40,000 in since January and I am totally disillusioned. There are around 67,000 people in Rossendale and we get around 0.05 per cent of them watching the football. Nobody is bothered. I cannot force people to watch or get involved and I will probably be putting the club up for sale. Few other businesses have supported the club and close friends have asked me what I am doing? I am not going to cut the wage bill but I am doing a lot of soul-searching and something has to change rapidly.”

By March 2007, the wage bill had been planned for a cut of probably 70% (10), and in April there were reports of unpaid wages (11). The following month a supporters group was reported as having taken over the running of the club (12), and Connolly had agreed nonetheless to settle the clubs debts. Sponsorship deals were negotiated (13 and 14), and the following summer the club acquired a major new sponsor (15).

In November 2009 Connolly announced the club was up for sale (16). He was “seeking a new investor to take the club forward“. Connolly announced “Any investor who wants to come here can invest straight into the club and not worry about any debts, because it’s all paid off” (17). No investor seems to have rushed forward, and in February 2010 Connolly brought in Nolan Redshaw to market the sale of the club (18).

The resignation of the then volunteer management committee (19) seems to have marked the beginning of the present crisis, although this appears to have been much more an outcome of the situation rather than a cause. The true extent of the crisis was revealed in a statement at the end of February (20). Connolly made a statement which was published on 25 February in the Manchester Evening News (I can’t find it on their website, but I have it from a newspaper database) in which he said:

“After taking stock of the situation at Rossendale United it is now clear that the club has been left in a perilous financial situation.

Over two years ago the club was debt free, it is now in considerable debt.

After 12 years of being involved and ploughing a considerable amount of personal monies, time and effort in it now seems the club is exactly where it was then.

This I believe is due to lack of support and generally a total lack of interest from the Valley.

I now feel that without this interest or investment the club will cease to exist.”

Latest news from the North West Counties Football League is that the club will be suspended if they fail to play their next home game, due on 5th March (21). Their away games at Squires Gate last Saturday and at Ramsbottom United this evening had already been cancelled. The end, it would seem, is nigh.

Rossendale United are of course far from being alone as sufferers from BWS. At Weymouth (see postings passim) ‘benefactor’ George Rolls has just announced that he has quit (22).

At Rothwell Town there is a less clear picture of events.  There is a report that the club has sold its ground, that the money raised is insufficient to cover its debts, and that the club has gone into Administration (23).  I blogged on Rothwell last May, when Imraan Ladack of Kettering Town had flirted, unsuccessfully, with them over a possible groundshare.  Anyone closer to the club who has more (sourceable) information is invited to add it in the comments section.

Posted in Benefactors, Cashflow, Debts, Financial doping, Ownership | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

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