The Gratitude Deficit
I suppose it was to be expected,really. Reaching for the begging bowl! Football has been living on a financial knife-edge for years now,and increasingly so as the big bucks started flowing in from tv money-and out again via hugely inflated transfer fees,agent fees and players salaries and bonuses.
Actually,you could argue that there was at least some form of structure to it in England,a modicum of forward planning in that tv deals are finalised sufficiently in advance to allow clubs to plan for a shortfall in income. And even for relegated clubs-and that is a disaster that few clubs plan for,bar wage reductions built into player contracts-there is always The Parachute Payment. This sees relegated clubs receive around £80m each over three seasons,with consolidation payments of around £4m to the other clubs in Tier Two. Lower payments are received by the clubs further down the pyramid.
As I said,everything is geared to having advance warning of bad news,and a safety net should it arise. It’s not infallible of course-plenty of clubs have fallen for the sugar daddy switcheroo,the vulture capitalist who promises the earth while swallowing whole everything that the club had. Including in many cases,it’s only genuine asset-the big lump of real estate on which they have played for most of their existence.
Charlton are just the latest suckers in this scenario,and there’s a special place in hell for that bastard Kennedy who ripped the soul out of Stockport County. There are many more,and there are also plenty of examples of the new owner filled with good intentions but who simply doesn’t have a clue and watches as the club falls to pieces,taking his hard-earned fortune with it. Simon Jordan springs to mind here. Though there may be one or two currently in residence at Ibrox.
It’s a bit more difficult to forward plan for a pandemic,an act of nature which strikes with little warning,leaving no room to manoeuvre and no chance to prepare. A catastrophe which doesn’t just reduce income in a year or two’s time,but which wipes it out completely. At a stroke. Immediately.
When the game was cancelled in England,beginning the weekend of Friday 13-!-March,it was originally for a period of three weeks. Although at that stage,the UK was not officially in lockdown-that would arrive on 24 March-I said at the time that 9April was supremely optimistic,and that I thought it would more likely not be for another month after that. I soon reviewed that,and pushed it back by another month,with games behind closed doors.
By the middle of April,I was convinced that the season could not be completed and indeed that football WITH SUPPORTERS IN ATTENDANCE was unlikely for a very long time indeed. The English game is still planning to play to a finish-good luck with that!-while in Scotland we have called the season in the lower leagues,based essentially on league positions when the last ball was kicked. Only in The SPL is there a glimmer of hope that the season will be played out,and that is a forlorn one held only by those who seek to null and void it altogether.
This is where it gets interesting. Scottish clubs are being strangled by their financial responsibilities at a time when cash flow is precisely zero. Players have been furloughed in order to receive government payments,business rates have been cancelled,yet some clubs are calling for a scenario which would mean that they face having to refund tv companies,sponsors,supporters et al for EVERY MATCH which didn’t take place this season-AND FOR EVERY MATCH WHICH DID!
Have you ever heard such lunacy? Especially as they would not be able to recoup wages for players or stadium staff,or police costs,or any other cost incurred during matches which have already taken place but have arbitrarily been declared to all have been a figment of our collective imaginations. With the added bonus,of course,that UEFA may quite rightly declare that any leagues thus declared null and void forfeit any coefficient points and income earned in their competitions in season 2019/20.
Bang goes Scotland’s second entry into the Champions League for 2021/22 then…
Meanwhile,back at the ranch,Neil Doncaster is correctly pointing out the existential problems that Scottish football faces as a result of this pandemic,and is asking for a bailout for the clubs from The Scottish Government.
I don’t want to piss on your chips,Neil-but then,why would I? Not when a creature of your own making is doing it already. By the bucketload. It all seemed such a wonderful idea in 2012,eh? You thought they’d be grateful?
You need to pay more attention in class,me old son.
Above article by BMCUWP. Fire in your own to us for Article of the Day. There might not be any football,but it’s never bloody dull in the Scottish game! Mail MAHE