Time To Go: The Fight For The Future Of Sheffield Wednesday

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22 Responses

  1. Ken says:

    Strafford’s tenure should be subject to scrutiny also. During that time money was spent unnecessarily on the world cup bid and compensation to a kit manufacturer for terminating their contract early. The commencement of the sale of season tickets in 2009 for the 2010 season also suggests that the club had serious cash flow problems.

    I don’t share your confidence in Wednesdayite – for me their collaboration with Ken Bates without consulting their membership was a big deal and I refuse to support them to this day.

    It’s now a case of waitng for the Co-op to pull the plug as nobody would be mad enough to invest in the current basket case. I’ve no idea where the club goes from here but it won’t be pretty.

  2. urzz1871 says:

    Really interesting and well-researched piece. If some of these directors cared for the financial health of their clubs as much as supporters like you do – and didn’t shelter behind the arrogant “what do supporters know about finances?” attitude – then the whole game would be far more healthy.

  3. Ben says:

    Wednedayite / Owlstrust at the time never supported Bates per se What they did support was the right for him to find out the true state of the clubs finances , 8 years later the remaining board members are still lieing about the finances at the club as was highlighted in the excellent article .UTO – WTID – TTG _ Wednesdayite

    We are all Wednesday arnt we ?

  4. Dan says:

    Excellent article. Sums the mess up at our club perfectly.

  5. Nobbly Style says:

    A good piece, but behind the times even as it was being written. Strafford’s era is over, and any of his ramblings on Owlstalk and elsewhere lend more credence to the belief that he is an individual ruled equally by ability and paranoia. Forget him.

    Current reality, and the anachronism that Time To Go already represents, is that the 3 Stooges may well, in effect, be long gone. The inference to be taken from the comments made by Wilkinson in his impromptu meeting with fans at Hillsborough last week suggest that the Co-Op Bank (bless ‘em) may well have bailed out the club on the basis that “Casio Bob” Grierson take even more of a back seat, along with the other 2, and leave the running of the club to the bank, Wilkinson and Parker. Unofficial admin, you might say.

    That in no way detracts from the veracity of Strafford’s claim about Grierson’s laxity, which to use Straffordian parlance, seems to not be a lie.

    What I would also point out is that there are other players in the game who deserve a mention, not least WTID (“Wednesday ‘Til I Die”, http://www.wtidgroup.co.uk) who have been working to prepare an investment model, that, whilst it might be way too late since official administration can only now be weeks away, shows that at least some fans have both the community and the future of the club at heart; two issues that go way beyond the petty bickering of Strafford, Grierson and the rest, in spite of their claims.

    Time To Go is not good enough. It’s a negative stance, and that’s something that has been the virtual ruin of Sheffield Wednesday for nigh on 15 years. Bickering, power-seeking, paranoia and obfuscation is what constitute the recent Wednesday Way, and any putative investor has that legacy to confront, along with financial books that are something that (allegedly, of course) could be entered for the Booker Prize.

    If Chris Turner is that man, as the Yorkshire Post suggests, this will bring no peace. He failed as a manager at Hillsborough, and has been closely linked with the unlamented previous chairman, Dave Allen, whose hatred of Wednedayite was evident. His consortium’s money will be well received: he I would hazard a guess will not.

    If there are potential investors out there, still interested in investing in a duck as lame as this one, they need to start to consider very carefully how to overcome the Wednesday Way of bickering, power-seeking, paranoia and obfuscation, and start building bridges.

    I have some advice here.

    Ask the fans to stump up their money in return for a say. having got too close, sane investors shy away from SWFC, like mutually repelling poles of a magnet.

    It’s time for such madness at Hillsborough to stop, and to ask the only people insane enough to do so to dig deep for the Owls.

    The fans.

  6. Richard says:

    Excellent article. “Time To Go” might just be the group that the divided fanbase manages to rally round. Wednesdayite are, rightly or wrongly, tarnished by their association with the Ken Bates takeover attempt of 2004.

    Also, Parker was reported in the Yorkshire Post on Tuesday as saying “The Co-Operative Bank own and run this club” – so any takeover and significant change at the top will have to meet with their approval.

  7. Marco says:

    Excellent article. However, with the exception of a vanity investor, who is gonna put money into Owls with a £30 million debt when this will be gone after Administration? Also, most of this debt is secured against the stadium and training ground, with a current but historical book value of £25 million. Following property- market crash and failed planning applications for housing and a supermarket, these tangible assets are now worth about £8 million (based on recent sale of more valuable Selhurst Park). You’d have to be clinically insane to give us funds. But like Palace, Leeds and Leicester, investment will quickly follow administration.

  8. ad hoc says:

    Excellent article. Cheers.

    Personally I’m so disillusioned these days that I’m actually almost looking forward to the day that club collapses and is reformed as some form of “AFC Wednesday” somewhere way down the pyramid. It would be good to have a football team I could actually support again

  9. jeremy says:

    Surely receivership/ administration is the only solution? If you were a potential buyer right now, and you know what we think that we know, you would be hoping for receivership. At that point, you can negotiate dirtectly with the adminstrator and the debt and the loan notes will be negotiable. Why pay for the club now when you can buy it tomorrow for less. This has been the issue for a very long time. Hence no deal.

    Without the Co-op debt and the loan notes and with 23,000+ fans per week do you not have a 20m gbp revenue company?

    And a 20m gbp revenue company with none or very little debt can certainly fund a 10m gbp wage bill, which is championship promotion standards.

    So why are we so scared of admin? I heard Howard Wilkinson say that he was all that was standing between the current PLC and admin. I think someone should have said, is not the current PLC the walking wounded and would we not be better off in admin?

    We would be decuted 10 points but we would be paying pennies in the pound to the Bank and the loan note holders, right? And the new PLC would be healthily funded with a new board – with or without HW – their choice.

    Anyway – if i were a buyer, i would have waited to see if we got relegated last year, like Club 9 did, and right now i would be waiting to see if we go into admin. Anything else is just more of the same – a long slow death of the current PLC which is like a man treadwatering in a storm but running out of energy. SWFC has the burden of not too much debt to tip them completely over and too much to go forward, but we seem to be moving to the tipping point.

    My point is that the tipping point may not be that bad a place.

  10. timberland says:

    Wigan was a pier, with a riccerty stand
    Blackpool, Stoke. Blackburn being cash cowed by an asian businessman, all sparsly supported clubs with investment . whilst we see these clubs knock our great club down the pecking order, so depressing

  11. Ken says:

    “So why are we so scared of admin?”

    1) Because it’s wrong to piss away millions of pounds and expect someone else to pay for it.

    2) Because we’ll lose control the stadium.

    3) Because’ll have to sell players at a knock down price.

    4) Because we’ll go bottom of the division.

    I’m sure there are more.

  12. NH_Owl says:

    Personally I’m so disillusioned these days that I’m actually almost looking forward to the day that club collapses and is reformed as some form of “AFC Wednesday” somewhere way down the pyramid. It would be good to have a football team I could actually support again

    So I am not the only one then? Playing at a lower level in the 70’s, in the 00’s and again now was and is actually not that bad in itself.

    Sure, we all want Wednesday to be a successful team and compete at the top like we did in the 90’s but – and I’m sure some will dispute this – many people just want to watch their team compete on a level playing field, have an opportunity to succeed from time to time, and be proud of who they support at whatever level. Having a day out at a smaller ground with a good atmosphere is as enjoyable a way of watching Wednesday as any. Watching the club flounder under massive debts that it cannot get out from under is not.

    The club is clearly in its death throes as an existing entity. Painful though it will be in the shorter term, let’s just get it over with, start again, build again and get this debt and the current board off our backs once and for all. It may take ten years at least for Wednesday to rebuild, but it has already been that since the current trouble began and there is clearly no sign of it ending.

  13. billy says:

    I’m surprised the article doesn’t comment on how an combination of wednesdayite’s attitude, supporters abuse and the boards unprofessionalism led that led to the former chairman Dave Allen quitting to take over the mantle at Chesterfield, where he’s invested £7m (£4m for 80% shareholding + £3m in loans) This was the turning point in Wednesday’s fortunes as internal investment dried up, relegation soon followed.

    Had Allen not been driven away Wednesday would not be in this position

  14. jeremy says:

    In response to Ken’s comment about admin – i am sorry Ken, but i think that you might reveal the very issue. Noone has really thought the implications through from a financial perspective, a PLC view, not a football view.

    Dealing with your points.

    1. Wrong to waste millions of pounds? Risk/return. Someone risked, they failed. The old PLC is not functioning well, wind it up and set up a newco. It is the capitalist way. The PLC is a capitalist venture, it follows those rules. I would care if it were my money, and that is what the current directors care about. However, as a supporter, i support the team, NOT the current PLC.

    2. Lose the stadium? the co-op bank will have written down it’s loan to SWFC PLC, as it will have written down the value of the asset – the stadium. However, it is still telling the PLC that it wants to be repaid in full. The admin process would force reality on the situation. The debt and the asset re-price and we start all over. They could, theoretically sell the stadium to a developer? Those days are over. Better to deal with the new SWFC. So, unlikely to lose the stadium. Who would buy it?

    3. Sell players at a knock down price. No. Suddenly the new PLC will be flush with cash and recapitalised. No need to raise cash, the process of administration de-gears the PLC. It is the whole point.

    4. Go to the bottom of the division? Where are we now? Struggling with no prospects, strong enough to delay our death, but not strong enough to go forward, capable only of below average football. I’ll take the bottom of the division with less debt and a new PLC over where we are. Go one step backward for financial freedom.

    I guess that the issue is that you need to be dispassionate about the PLC administration. It will be good for football at hillsborough and that is what i really care about. Not whether the loan notes or the bank get repaid. I just want to watch good entertaining football instead of the slow dance of death that we have had since 1999-2000.

  15. ad hoc says:

    It’s not just about the bank or Dave Allen getting paid though is it? It’s all the other people the club owe money to. No idea who they all are, but are likely to include contractors, caterers, the Sally Army, stewarding organisations, etc etc. I couldn’t care less if Dave Allen doesn’t get his money back, but if the club goes into admin, there will be a lot of honest hard-working people who will possibly be themselves forced out of business through no fault of their own.

    None of this stuff happens in isolation

  16. Ken says:

    Jeremy, you seem to be suggesting that admin is some sort of panacea after which we will be miraculously debt free. I’m not so sure. ‘Flush with cash’? That’s Alice in Wonderland stuff. Note that I said ‘lose control’ of the stadium – the bank would own it and could either rent it back to us or sell on to a 3rd party, neither being good scenarios.

    Billy, Dave Allen’s weakness was his inability to deal with people having different opinions to his own, a basic requirement of a football club owner. He has total control of Chesterfield which suits his style.

  17. billy says:

    Jeremy, Yes he was weak on the PR front, but I’d venture to suggest hindsight have shown his opinions were right, this is the problem at Wednesday too many stakeholders wanting a say.

    Yes he has total control of Chesterfield, but watch them fly under his leadership

  18. billy says:

    Sorry meant Ken not Jeremy

  19. jeremy says:

    Re the clubs statement on administration today:

    The club might not be right on this point. The cash required to obtain control of the club may not be different whether the club is the same PLC as today or a new PLC coming out of administration. However, and this is key, “the large write off suffered by the Bank” would be a write off of the liability of SWFC to it’s creditors. The same would be true of the Director’s loan notes, ie they would be “Written off”.

    So let’s think about this? An SWFC controlled by a new PLC with lower liablities is an SWFC that can spend more on players. More better players is bad for the fans in what way?

    The massive costs involved do not compare to the massive savings to SWFC of the large debt write off.

    Loss of goodwill? With whom? As a fan i care about the quality of the football at Hillsborough, period, end of story. Get me good football.

    The Directors are correctly supporting the interests of the current PLC and it’s creditors, which is 100% their job. However i am not sure that it is correct to align their interests with those of the football club and the fans. Don’t we simply want more money spent on better players so that we can be entertained?

  20. Mick Nick says:

    Isn’t spending loads of money on players to give you the football you believe you so richly deserve the reason you are where you are Jezza?

  21. Somebody likes swank and expect when tranfers made everythink would be ok.Football is not only spending money ıt also living organisition.

  1. September 29, 2010

    […] more of this on “Two Hundred Percent” – a good article which goes on to talk about Time to Go Bookmark It […]

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