Archive → February, 2011
I’ll make this very clear, the Evidence from the Football Inquiry so far is mostly saying yes, you could even judge the Premiers League Evidence as open to debate, they didn’t say no like the FA, which is very interesting. Here are just a few examples where intervention would be justified by those who submitted evidence.
Supporters Direct – “We suggest a time-limited Act which provides powers for the Minister to take all necessary action to introduce a thorough licensing regime should such not be introduced by football”
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust – “Establish a Licensing system to address club debt, financial instability and to ensure the clubs increase supporter influence.”
Football Supporters’ Federation – “Government to intervene as a facilitator to ensure that essential governance reforms are introduced by the FA”
The Fulham Supporters Trust – “We believe that, due to poor governance of a domestic game that is still riddled with money and credibility problems, government intervention in football is very much justified.”
Supporters’ Trust at Reading – “Government intervention is justified but it should be restricted to imposing a powerful, independent regulatory regime with two key objectives:”
Southend United Supporters’ Club Trust – “Football clubs should be run as businesses and the Sjrimpers Trust believe that government intervention is only justified when there is a clear case of mismanagement and a risk of bankruptcy.”
David Hodges (former semi-pro footballer, Leicester City Fan) – “Yes, The Government is investing £57.6m over the next three years of football. The Government has lost over £28m in unpaid tax from football clubs practicing poor governance procedures ”
Bradford City Supporters’ Trust – “Government Intervention should establish the core governance principles for the sport and provide powers that are sufficient to protect the new arrangements from eternal pressures, especially those arising from the excessive commercial weight of the Premier League”
Fisher FC – “Government Intervention is justified because football clubs are so important to communities, and to the supporters.”
Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association – “We believe that the path to a proper framework ensuring that football is run much more in the interests of the people who tic with it through thick and thin, whose only desire is the joy and the of having a club to support and to see it do well, lies in active government intervention tonsure that out game is suitably regulated.”
Paul Baggaley, Chairmen of Newark Town FC – “Yes”
Yorkshire Division Of Football Supporters’ Federation – “Football is our national game. As such Government has a duty to protect the game at levels for future generations.”
The Professional Players Federation – “Nevertheless government and its agencies do have a number of financial and regulatory mechanisms to exert considerable influence upon the governance of football”
Darlington Supporters Trust – “governance should be taken as sine qua non and we firmly believe that intervention of government and parliament would be welcomed in pursuit of these objectives”
Pompey Supporters’ Trust – “The justification for government intervention is clear”
I haven’t even added The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust or the Liverpool Supporters’ Union yet but they both say the same thing. The Government should allow Supporters’ Trust take hold of clubs holdings and The Liverpool Supporters’ Union makes it clearer than The Manchester United Supporters Trust and this is one of the most important paragraphs in the whole document – “As a starting point, we propose that the Government Legislates to introduce a “transfer window” policy whereby clubs that are in the process of changing ownership or ownership stake in excess of 20% are legally bound to offer a properly constituted Supporters’ Trust the opportunity to purchase a shareholding in the club”
Here is the Premier Leagues, The FAs and Football Leagues View On Government Intervention -
The Football League – “However, it does not believe that government intervention is appropriate at this time.”
The FA – “However, The FA believes that there is no justification for direct intervention by the Government into the running of English Football.”
The Premier League – “The failure of the market to deliver desirable public outcomes may also lead to intervention and in such circumstances the government or its agencies might do a better job. It is far proven that these conditions exist in the case of football”
From what I have seen so far I see no reason why in the summer the Government can’t give The FA a certain amount of time to clean its self up or introduce changes into the way football is run with a set time limit. This should be followed by possible intervention by Football to involve Supporters’ Trusts to take part control of clubs, this can either be done by the rules or if Football does not carry this through by a certain date, Legislation can be introduced by the Government. This Legislation could even be introduced before that date comes around meaning a fall back. This way in all areas of Football can be warned and given one chance, if they ignore this, any negative affects as The FA pointed as Fifa getting involved or The England team being banned, will not have been done the fault of the Government, the clubs, the owners or the fans. It will have been Football failing to compile and the only people to point at we’ll be the people on the boards of the Premier League, The FA and Football League. I believe the Premier League and FA knew it either happens with them or happens without them, rules changes would happen in a flash and I don’t think the Football League would argue against any new measures.
My next blog will on some of the shocking facts that are in the evidence.
Love United Hate Glazer
This week I’ve seen three things which have caught my eye, all have seen my eyebrows raised in a different manner. This blog is only about one! Now its great to see United have 9 Million fans on facebook but as fans we have bigger and more important fish to fry. The Manchesters United Supporters Trust “and now your thinking oh here we go” are as I type this working behind the scenes meeting with MPs and other big fish within football. Some of the Premier League big wigs for example. Most pricks to you and I. The reason is they have been working since the mid 1990s in some form or another, campaigning in government and one time they did win. They helped and stopped Sky taking control. They made it clear after that win we need to band to together and buy a stake in the club. Shareholders United is a famous old name. As ever, nothing goes to plan and Glazer took over. While the football governance inquiry is on and the Trust have said this themselfs in the past a realistic figure is one million members. There are currently 166,805 members signed up, so if that facebook group as 9 million likes, we as fans have issues. Every email address related to a United fan signed up to MUST is far more important than 1 million of those likes on myface. This football governance inquiry could and I am not saying it will (there is the smallest possibility, its tiny currently) allow us as fans to buy into the club. I’ve seen many fans say ’lets get one million fans and all put £10 in a pot’. We are already 10 steps ahead of you. Its called ‘withdrawnable share capital’ and in 2006 it had over £2m in it and MUST has increased its membership by over 100,000 in well under one year. I’ve got a sizeable amount of cash in the fund, alot more than just £10. Sign Up To MUST, stick £10 in and get every United fan you know to do the same or just sign up free and wait for that email to do so. If it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come but atleast you knew you weren’t one of the 8.9 Million who wasn’t ready.
We’ve known for a long time there have been problems in football. To do with debt, ownership and on the first day of the inquest from a man who was the boss of The FA, we now know why. The Premier League works for the interests of its chairmen. It aims to keep them all happy so if David Gill says ‘the glazers own this club you keep it that way’ they’ll do there best to see The FA or anyone else can’t do anything. The FA tried once before and they got scared. Now they do as the EPL tell them. The only action they’ll take is against the odd player, to make it look like they are in charge. In reality if The FA says we want to remove all debt. The EPL will say no you won’t. The FA then goes off and crys in the corner. The FA run English Football, they are the governing body. If they put rules in place for the good of the game, all leagues should accept them. The FA is only worried about England getting banned why because that’s how its board make their cash. Shirts sales, ticket sales. Lets get one thing very very clear. The England Football Team is the last place on Earth that should be treated like Tescos. Its the national team and if takes England getting banned for the board to work this out, that will be good for football. You cannot have a governing body, which works more like a business, than a governing body. The same can be said for Fifa in areas. The FA is their to govern football. It has in the past found out many of the issues the government is discussing but has not been allowed to carry them out. UFEA and Fifa have power, The FA has none. Its why on many an issue the FA doesn’t do anything, that’s also true for matters on the pitch. They should find issues, find the solutions and put in new rules. That is The FA’s job, if it cannot do that, huge changes need to happen. Forced Changes.
Tomorrow night they’ll likely be stories floating about what Lord Triesman said to the Select Committee but I am very interesting in hearing what everyone has to say. Currently I’d say its a two sided affair but the interesting thing is none of the six to be currently to be interviewed have a strong link to football. That means its not someone from within the EPL, FA or say Manchester United. First at 10:45 am we’ll be hearing from Stefan Szymanski, Sean Hamil and Patrick Collins. At 11:45am we’ll hear from Lord Triesman, Graham Kelly and Lord Burns. The first three should be the most interesting as they are likely to give straight answers or explain in simple terms what is going on. Patrick Collins from the Daily Mail wrote this about the FA and EPL when Liverpool were in court trying to get rid of their owners.
“Now, who could argue with a word of that? And who can remember the Premier League making a remotely useful contribution to the entire debate? Who can recall them offering a frank and articulate condemnation of the appalling way in which Liverpool Football Club has been run for these past three years?
Not their style, I’m afraid. In their view, owners may do pretty much as they choose; be they Tom or George, the dearly departed Shinawatra or the geekish Glazers, who have saddled Manchester United with the kind of debt which is beyond shame or comprehension. Fill your boots, chaps, but please try not to harm the ‘brand’. As for the FA, the people who used to accept responsibility for the way in which English football conducts itself: nothing.”
So we know Patricks view already. He knows like do Liverpool and United could be took over by Kim Jong Ill and the FA would let them take them over. If more people like Patrick are interviewed, the FA could get destroyed. Not stepping in when Portsmouth were in trouble, not stepping during the Glazer takeover and not stepping in when Liverpool had issues. To be honest the only thing the FA would have do is likely fine all the clubs and dock them points for asking for help. The ‘its not our problem’ needs to end and with people like Patrick being interviewed we have a good chance. Its likely 3 more of the people being interviewed could say similar things. Triesman we’ll likely be one of these people. He told the EPL there was too much debt and now hes gone, the new guy says its not that much of a problem. Quiet worrying that the former head of The FA said there was too much debt in football and now The FA says there isn’t. So I am betting on atleast 2 people on the side of the fans, with no one yet insight from the Glazer, Hicks or the EPLs camp. Day One Could Be 1:0 To The People. For more updates follow me on twitter @wewantglazerout , I’ll be trying to pick out the key parts tomorrow after everything has been said.
Your now thinking this is going to be about how Manchester United should have spent big money to compete with other clubs and next your going to think I am going to ramble on about how we should have. Infact this is the true story not only of past transfer windows but future ones to come. It all starts back in the Summer of 2009, when a certain club called Real Madrid decided to to splash the cash. At the very time I was on the other side of the world in San Francisco, so if anyone was unconnected and shocked by that weeks events it was myself. I went off one morning and found a Starbucks with wireless internet, put the BBC news page up and there it was Kaka had just moved to Madrid. Afew days later I woke up with a text message saying ‘Ronaldos been sold to Madrid’. I never get messages about football news stories, so for this to be sent means its big news. At that time I am thinking. ‘We’ve just built a great squad, we’ve been in two champions league finals, so why the hell are we cutting it up’ I was also thinking something else and this has always stuck in my mind. They’ve told all the season ticket holders as a ploy, just days before the renewal deadline ‘Ronaldo would not be sold’, all just to sell season tickets, then just after it our best player & the best player in the World is sold off. So I get back to Manchester afew days later and the world to me has gone totally nuts.
This is where the business side of the story comes in. All the figures given are true straight from United’s official accounts. In June 2009 United sold Ronaldo in a £80m deal. In January 2010 it was also reported United had already been paid £35.9m from AON from the new £80m sponsorship deal. This shows up on past accounts. So those two big payments of money are around £116m. In May United was to have reported £95m in cash in the bank, later on it was £162m, and the latest now is £151m in cash in the bank. At this point everything sounds brilliant £150m in the bank, happy days. The problem is of the £80m in the sponsorship deal United have already received £47m. When you add the Ronaldo money to this that’s £127m of £151m cash in the bank. If you are reading that like I am, without the two AON payments and without Ronaldo money since June 2009 the club has only been able to create extra £24m or £35.8m in cash if you take out 2010s payment. To me that’s pretty worrying. With all the prize money, TV money, extra sponsorship deals and increased ticket prices, it shows there is a very good reason why the club hasn’t seen alot of movement in the transfer market. This is not to say the market isn’t over valued, in areas it is. Some of the figures that have been paid out for certain players by City, Chelsea, Villa and Liverpool have been very silly. The reason Manchester United haven’t been out and got a £20-30m player isn’t because they can’t, its because if they do that money is then gone and to recoup that money could in theory take 12-18 months or longer just to get back £30m. One other area shows that at one stage cash reserves reached £162m but then dropped by £12m, so this shows any budget changes or increased costs within the club could have a big effect. The biggest problem I see is if United went out and spent £115m tomorrow on either the stadium or the team, there is only a £35m gap for the budget to be increased, once over that you need an overdraft or you need to find another source of income quick. Remember this is football and alot can happen in a short space of time. This to me is alot more shocking and alot more worrying than any debt and the problem in part is the debt. If United removed the interest payments that gap goes from £35m to £80m. Now I am pretty sure if that was the case, the club would have more access to the transfer market and there would be more value. The fact is until that £45m interest payment is removed and the Government recommends we get a share in our clubs, we are unlikely to see any increase in transfer spending outside of the Ronaldo money at Manchester United in years to come. When the Ronaldo Money is spent, that’s it, that’s the reason it’s not been touched and it won’t be touched.
Love United Hate Glazer