Author: Mark

Bournemouth’s Transfer Embargo Continues

AFC Bournemouth overcame a seventeen point deduction to stay in League Two but, as Mark Murphy writes, their problems didn’t finish there. It could be argued that the greatest condemnation of the Football League’s “Fit and Proper Person” test was that Ken Bates could pass it. This, however, may no longer be the case – not because of anything Bates himself has done, but because of the serial mismanagement of AFC Bournemouth’s affairs last season – which has emerged from the Football League’s explanation for maintaining the strictest possible transfer embargo on the South Coast club. Current Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell issued a statement three days after meeting league officials at their Preston HQ this week to discuss the embargo’s future. While Notts County can add the equivalent of a small country’s Gross Domestic Product to their salary bill apparently without breaching League Two’s salary cap, Bournemouth cannot currently even loan a player from another club. Football League regulations allow these two contrasting circumstances to apply, despite what is supposed to be a ‘level playing field’ because of the mismanagement skills of gentlemen called Alastair Saverimutto and Paul Baker. Sol Campbell’s £40,000-per-week keeps Notts’ salary bill below 60% of turnover because their new owners, Middle East consortium Munto Finance, are paying Campbell’s wages outside of the club’s actual turnover, even though the financiers behind Munto are yet to be...

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Geoff Sheard: Newcastle’s Knight In Shining Armour?

Geoff Sheard is sniffing around at Newcastle United, but Mark Murphy is less than convinced that he is the right man to lead Newcastle United to a bright, new dawn. The list of potential bidders since Mike Ashley first considered selling Newcastle (about two weeks after buying it, some reports would have had you believe) could fill its own page Yellow Pages. Inter-Media Partners, Anil Ambani, Nasser Al-Kharafi, Clark Hunt, Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, Profitable Group, Freddie Shepherd and even “some Nigerians that don’t exist”. Ordinarily at this point I’d be saying I made those last three up. But I didn’t. Not even ”Freddie Shepherd”.  Some have remarked that the hoax bids for Newcastle this summer have had more credibility than the real ones, and looking at that list it’s hard to disagree. Although, even the most gullible saw through The “Profitable” Group bidding for a club with an overdraft the size of a medium-sized American city’s budget deficit. So, what to make of the latest new bidder, then? Lancastrian “businessman” Geoff Sheard is fronting an “American-backed” consortium., and what Sheard doesn’t know about protracted bids for Football League Championship clubs isn’t worth knowing.  He has a wealth of experience from his go at Sheffield Wednesday. For all his wealth of knowledge, he didn’t have a wealth of, well, wealth. Which is why the Wednesday saga pretty much wrote...

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Birmingham City Prove That All That Glitters May Not Be Gold

Birmingham City are the latest Premier League club to be lined up for foreign ownership. As Mark Murphy reports, the new potential new owner has already had a go at buying the club, but fans are split on whether his involvement and there are question marks over his financial credentials. Birmingham City chairman David Gold isn’t easy to like. There’s all the rubbish he spouts on football matters – his enthusiastic support for the Premier League’s execrable Game 39 plan and the less than stunning “insights” that he brought to a recent 5Live debate on football debt and its (un)sustainability. As if that’s not enough, there’s also his inappropriately slicked back hair – for which he’s years too old – and sickly grin. Whilst some people ooze class, Gold merely oozes. Even when prospective Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung Ka-Shing was sniffing around the club in 2007, it was difficult to summon any sympathy for Gold or his partner in crime, co-owner David Sullivan. Yeung was arguably more sinned against than sinning back then, and was treated with the utmost disrespect and disdain before he became the Sulaiman Al-Fahim of his day by failing to deliver long-promised finance to complete his takeover of the club.  This time around, however, he has rather more to offer than a patchy business and football history, a two-bit, loss-making clothing firm as an...

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