Day: November 22, 2010

The Football Conference’s Financial Reporting Initiative: Cause For Cautious Optimism

While the financial news elsewhere in football continues to be no better than mixed, one league at least seems to be moving in the right direction with regard to how it deals with its financial affairs. The Football Conference, comprising the Blue Square Premier, North and South introduced new, tougher financial rules for clubs last year, and the first results that it has released would seem to indicate that they are working. Indeed, the obvious conclusion to reach is that, whilst laissez-faire economics lead primarily to a state of survival of the fittest among clubs, the tighter regulation of the financial affairs of clubs leads to at least a degree of greater financial responsibility by those clubs themselves. The Financial Reporting Initiative was introduced in 2009 in response to a growing sense of crisis within the non-league game. In the last three years, the position of clubs in the Football Conference had become pretty horrific. Thirteen were subject to winding up orders, six ceased to exist altogether and one more had entered into a CVA in order to remain solvent. This makes a total of twenty clubs in just three years, and with HMRC’s stance on football clubs hardening with each passing season (Sheffield Wednesday’s three winding up orders already this season being a case in point for the 2010/11 season) it became clear that radical steps had to...

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Ian Holloway Should Put Olly Out To Pasture

Pretty much everyone in football must have an admiration for what Ian Holloway has achieved at Blackpool, even if it is only a sneaking admiration. I’ve advocated awarding Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe two “manager-of-the-year” awards for they way he has turned AFC Bournemouth’s fortunes around from minus seventeen points at the bottom of League Two to their current fourth place in League One. Holloway would have been a close runner-up at least once. And while Blackpool’s start to Premier League life may yet prove to be a “Hull” (or a “Reading” or an “Ipswich” or the numerous teams who succumbed to “second season syndrome”), for the moment they are there to be admired. But when a microphone appears, Ian Holloway the manager seems to be replaced by “Olly”, a talkative, combative “character” in the inverted commas sense of the word… with a funny accent to boot and a disdain for authority which is all the rage at the minute in the face of government cuts and FIFA corruption.  “The game” has always “needed characters” – even in the days when they supposedly had them. The recent passing away of Malcolm Allison vividly reminded us of that, especially the few clips of him as a TV studio pundit, holding forth in a manner that nearly made Jimmy Hill tear his chin off and makes Alan Shearer seem, I dunno… dull (that...

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Wednesday Weakness

Now that Sheffield Wednesday’s takeover is imminent, it is instructive to look in detail at some aspects of the tale. There is no doubt that the vast majority of the cast have been playing games of some sort while the club has sunk further into the financial mire. Chief Executive Nick Parker may have been shaking with anger at some of the when he stood outside London’s High Court last Wednesday. But even he played a game or two in his time. People such as former director and friend of the current board Mick Wright are doing their best to let the games continue, now that the threat of administration has been averted for yet another bit. And there was a curious little background twist a couple of weeks ago, shortly after the consortium fronted by former Wednesday player/manager/you-name-it Chris Turner began to unravel. The Sheffield Wednesday Shareholders Association had an idea. And on November 2nd they “urgently” proposed the following “solution” to Wednesday’s woes: “We would like to call on all four major shareholders of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club (Wednesdayite, Keith Addy, Geoff Hulley and Dave Allen) to pool their shareholding and make these available to any investor approved by the Bank and prepared to pay a minimum of £600,000 to HMRC.” £600,000 was the money being petitioned for by the tax authorities in those long-ago, happier times....

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