Cover your ears… eyes I mean
So, as you`ll probably have read, bids have been accepted for two of our biggest players: Mark Davies and Zach Clough. They are from Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol City respectively. The sale of Mavies will generate £700k and remove a reported £1 million from our annual wage bill. Meanwhile, the offer for Clough is reportedly in the region of £2-3 million and will hopefully involved a sell on fee which would bring further income should Clough move on and become the amazing player we all know he can be.
The Sun`s Alan Nixon reported that the sale of Davies will cover the costs of going into administration, while selling Clough will help pay off debts and make our club more saleable. The tone of journalists in general seems to have changed recently and while there had been a little hope that administration would be avoided, it is looking to me to be all the more likely.
For those not familiar with the process, Gordon Farquhar in 2008 following Rotherham`s administration wrote the following on the matter:
Whatever the underlying causes, administration generally follows the point at which someone, (usually the taxman) says, ‘you owe us, and we’d like to be paid,’ and the club’s head of finance says, ‘oops, we haven’t got the money’.
A check of the balance sheet of the average Football League club still shows far too much money as a percentage of turnover goes on wages.
The financial model isn’t great, propped up by fans who keep on buying the product no matter how bad it is, but then football is a business full of people making irrational decisions with their money.
Chairmen get seduced by the promises of managers that buying another decent centre-back and a forward will turn the club’s playing fortunes around. Yet the reality is, nothing can ever be guaranteed.
And on what administrators do, he wrote that they’re accountants whose job is to try and get the best deal for the business and the creditors, by trying to find a buyer, or minimising the losses. Going into administration is a legal move, which carries legal obligations.
Responsibility for running the club goes to the men in grey suits, instead of the sheepskin coats. They look at how to improve revenue streams, often by selling off assets, and using their contacts to try and pull in new investment, and do deals with the creditors.
It’s an admission of failure by the club’s board, and once the administrator’s in, he’s in charge of pretty much everything apart from coaching the players and picking the team.
We have, of course, seen teams recover from administration or other financial difficulties and turn things around. Crystal Palace were in a very difficult position a few years ago however thanks to prudent financial management after and admittedly sterling work from manager Dougie Freedman they managed to turn things around. Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew came in to take the club to the next level and chairman Steve Parish has facilitated very healthy growth.
Similarly while Bournemouth looked on the brink, they`ve managed to turn things around and have recently signed players like Juan Iturbe and have even bade for Monaco`s Stephan El Shaaraway.
It`s not easy to stay positive about the situation, though, and I really hope whatever happens doesn`t rip too far into the nucleus of the club`s infrastructure because that`s part of what still makes us a big club. Administration basically means that we`re relegated and will be a League 1 club next season, that said though, we`re not tinpot minnows: we`re Bolton Wanderers. We play at the Macron, a state of the art stadium with capacity form almost 30,000 passionate fans.
Sell the players. Any of them. Players are at the club in the short term. Stadiums can last hundreds of years. One day, I want Premier League football to return to the Macron.