Day: June 1, 2010

Crystal Palace Avoid The Axe… Just

It has been a long Bank Holiday weekend for Crystal Palace supporters, and the new working week started with the longest day of all. With no take-over of the stricken club having been confirmed, the club’s administrator Brendan Guilfoyle had announced that the consortium looking to purchase the club from the administrators had until three o’clock this afternoon to reach agreement over the purchase after talks with the administrators for the company that owned Selhurst Park, Price Waterhouse Cooper, had hit a dead end. They got there in the end, stumbling over the line an hour or so over the deadline, but their story should be a salutory tale for all football supporters and club owners. The tale of financial mismanagement at Crystal Palace was a familiar one but how the club came so close to extinction was less so, and key to the close shave that the club had was the separation of Palace from Selhurst Park. Previous owner Simon Jordan had claimed to have purchased the freehold to the club’s home for £12m in November 2006, but this was a half-truth that almost proved to be highly expensive. What actually seems to have happened is that Jordan did purchase the freehold from its previous owner, Ron Noades, but that that he had financed the deal through a former director of Tottenham Hotspur, Paul Kemsley, and the ownership...

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The Christian Aid Secrecy League

Of all the football figures railing against the appointment of another independent FA chairman, Leeds United chairman Kenneth William Bates was the most predictable. An independent mind and independent voice would also have an independent eye. And Bates wouldn’t be one for independent eyes, in case they saw him for what he really is. That thought occurred as I read a report by Christian Aid, the – surprise – Christian organisation dedicated to the end of world poverty, into the secrecy surrounding football clubs in the United Kingdom. Entitled Blowing the whistle – Time’s up for financial secrecy, the report offered case studies of some of the more secretive clubs, and noted that Bates’ Leeds United “takes secrecy to a new level.” The way that Bates’ mind works, he would probably be miffed that these words didn’t translate into Leeds actually winning the Christian Aid Secrecy League which forms the focal point of the report – Manchester United fans can be assured their team won more than the Carling Cup this season. But being a voice independent of any footballing vested interest, Christian Aid are quite happy to tell things like they are, which makes for uncomfortable reading for more than just Bates. It would be easy to joke that world poverty could be near-cured by halving Premier League wages. But the report is only really using football and...

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