Day: November 6, 2010

Questions About Birmingham City’s Financing…

When Bates “reoccupied” Leeds United in 2007, he employed all sorts of accounting “techniques” to effectively clear most of the club’s debts, such as a quick in-and-out of administration (I’m assured that’s not the correct technical term). This seemed wrong to non-business-minded peoples but, we were assured by knowing sports journalists – Jeff Powell in the Mail newspaper, I’m looking at you – it was “normal” business practice. As was, we were assured in 2005, business people borrowing millions to buy a club and paying the money back from club profits. Leveraged buy-outs, they’re called. They happen all the time in what we were again assured was the real world. More recently, football journalists have got excited by the phrase “the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the Group’s/Company’s ability to continue as a going concern” in club’s parent company accounts. The suggestion was impending doom. But, we were yet again assured, this was just accountants and auditors covering themselves against worst-case scenarios. Nothing to worry about. Normal business practice. Happens all the time. Experience has taught many football fans that this, to quote the great financial wizard George Gershwin, “ain’t necessarily so.” Sometimes, to use another phrase, “if it looks like an elephant, stomps like an elephant and smells like an elephant…it’s an elephant.” And if there is “material uncertainty” about the financial...

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FA Cup Match Of The Week Part Two: Brighton And Hove Albion 0-0 Woking

The dark clouds on the horizon look threatening and not just in the sense that, in the uncovered South Stand at the Withdean Stadium, we’re going the get soaked to the skin at some point this afternoon. Ticket prices have been cut to just ten pounds and this has pushed the crowd for this match up to almost 6,000, but the nagging suspicion is that only the 900 or so Woking supporters away to our right are the only ones that really want to be here this afternoon. For Brighton & Hove Albion, eight points clear at the top of League One, the First Round of the FA Cup is something of a distraction. They have been in outstanding form recently and a home match against a non-league side is a “no win” fixture for them. It’s not a great fixture for Woking either, in all honesty. They’ve been drawn away to the best team in the competition at this stage, but they don’t get the relative compensation of a visit to a nice, shiny modern stadium. Rather, their “big day out” is to a barely converted athletics track with no pubs nearby and no cover in the event of adverse weather. Still, a no-win fixture for one team is a no-lose fixture for their opposition, so the pressure is off Woking this afternoon and may prove to be...

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