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Day: September 1, 2011

Yesterday In Plymouth: Background To Insurgam

Earlier this evening, we wrote on the extraordinary impromptu press briefing given by two Plymouth Argyle players and their manager, Peter Reid. This evening, in the second part of a double-bill, a little more background about why professional footballers should be talking about going on strike, courtesy of Mark Murphy. Yesterday in Plymouth, Argyle Football Club staff and players were due to be paid their August salaries. They were not. And it is difficult to draw any conclusion other than that they have been misled by what passes for “authority” at the football club these days. In a large and competitive field, the continued non-payment of staff at Argyle’s Home Park offices has been the biggest disgrace of the club’s six months-and-counting in administration, even ahead of the concurrent non-payment of players. Salary deferrals have become the norm rather than a method of bringing Argyle through exceptional crises. And when money has been available, most of it appears to have gone elsewhere. Because of the continued secrecy of the financial dealings of administrators the P & A Partnership, the destination of that money has been the subject of predictable rumour, rather than acknowledged fact. These have been based on the published hourly rates of the administrators and acting Argyle chairman Peter Ridsdale’s history of being well-paid during times of financial crisis at previous clubs. But unless Ridsdale and the...

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Insurgam! A Players Strike At Plymouth?

Sometimes, help can come from the most unexpected of sources. Last Friday, it was announced to a mixture of joy and relief – probably more of the latter than the former, considering the shenanigans of the last few months – that Plymouth Argyle Football Club had been saved. After repeated broken deadlines and wage deferrals for the longest-suffering staff in British football, we were told in an official statement that, “Bishop International Limited has secured the necessary funding and everything is agreed between the numerous parties” in order to complete the sale of the club and its ground to the Gibraltar-based company, who would take ownership of its Home Park ground and bring in Peter Ridsdale as the Chief Executive of the club. That, some might have thought, would be that. The vigil being held at the ground was called off, and perhaps a takeover which some had started to believe had no substance behind it could actually get moving in a positive direction. Seasoned Plymouth watchers, however, would have known that this story would not genuinely reach its conclusion until the fat lady began to sing, and that this deadline being “met” was merely the sound of said lady clearing her throat. Peter Ridsdale said, in a comment which subsequent events have somewhat undermined, that, “I think the staff are happy tonight – they’ve been through turmoil for...

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Sound The All-Clear: The Transfer Window Is Closed

We emerge blinking into the sunlight, with Sky Sports News still gibbering away to itself in the background. Transfer deadline day, the weirdest day in the entire football calendar, is over and now, perhaps, things can start getting back to normal. There is nothing edifying about this day. There is no outlet for those concerned to behave with a great deal dignity and it has come to feel in recent years as if, for all of the chaos that it seems to throw all clubs into for twenty-four hours or so, the clubs, managers and players are willing participants in this particular circus. We don’t need to ask what the press gets out of it, of course. It seems difficult to imagine that Sky Sports News has a busier day of the year, and the online minute-by-minute updates are doubtlessly furiously refreshed by viewers – the Guardian’s ran to three lengthy web pages, and a sign of their success can be seen in that these three attracted over two thousand comments between them from readers, in one day. Add players agents and fax machine manufacturers to the list of the day’s beneficiaries – football seems destined to become last industry to be truly in thrall to these nasally whining relics of 1980s communications – and it is easy to see that there are people that get something from it all, but what about the...

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