Tag: Port Vale

Football’s Values: Unethical, Dishonourable or Ill-Advised?

Currently appearing in the high court are an ex-Pompey director, past owner and recent manager on various charges of tax-evasion. Charged with fraud and unfair trading practices at  court an ex-Cardiff City director and Plymouth chairman, whilst at Wrexham a consortium containing a solicitor debarred on eighteen counts attempts a take over. That’s just so far this month. Not to mention the shenanigans at Port Vale and Plymouth reported by m’colleagues elsewhere on this site. The values demonstrated by the West Ham trio of Gold, Sullivan and Brady with their ‘tactful and understanding’ management style also made interesting reading this week. One comment on Phil McNulty’s blog after the insensitive manner of the sacking of Avram Grant by this conglomerate shows the esteem in which they are held. It suggests that Sullivan’s ‘abuse of the players … is typical and it won’t be long before he gets stuck into the fans who, in his mind, never appreciate his largesse and mastery of the football business.’ I gather fans at Birmingham (what IS going on there?) nurture the same level of affection for their ex-owners. That the largesse so described is derived from the porn industry is a matter often used to deride any team they are involved with and often seems more of a joke than a moral issue. Meanwhile at Pompey in recent times we have had...

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A Continuing War Of Words At Port Vale

There’s  no close season in the financial trials and tribulations of modern English football, as Port Vale and Plymouth fans are discovering. June will see, if not the end, then the beginning of the end of the clubs’  respective takeover sagas. There will be new dawns, lessons learned and an outspoken determination not to let “things” happen this way again. And if the tales so far are a guide, most of what will be said will be bollocks. Over the next few days, Plymouth will come under the Mark Murphy glare. But first, you can’t beat a bit of Burslem… It takes some doing to make Mo Chaudry into the good guy but at Port Vale, Chaudry is the future. The “motivational speaker” (oh, and property investor) has motivated Vale fans to almost total opposition to self-styled supporters group Valiant 2001, who have been in charge since 2003. And, if he and his unremitting hype are to be believed, V2001’s reign is coming to an end. Chaudry has had help; partly from local businessman and genuine life-long Valiant Mark Sims, a voice of near-reason; but mostly from Vale’s board, who have looked increasingly desperate to cling to power. Yet real progress has been made. Predictably, it has been away from the main protagonists. Less predictably, it has come from some 130 miles away, in London. The local Sentinel newspaper...

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Port Vale And The Battle For Burslem

The mornings get warmer and the evenings get longer, but still the main protagonists in Port Vale’s takeover battle argue over how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin. The deadlock is straightforward. Successful local businessman Mo Chaudry wants control. The current board don’t want any individual to have control and especially one, it seems, Chaudry. And Vale’s constitution doesn’t allow for it anyway – which can only change if 75% of Vale’s shareholding votes for it. But in recent weeks, intrigue has piled upon intrigue in the Battle for Burslem – a “web of intrigue,” in fact, for those of you who like your movies American, cheap and made-for-TV. The last time this column cast its jaundiced eye Vale-wards, Chaudry and the board were about to undertake confidential face-to-face talks over Chaudry’s popular six-figure offer to assume control of Vale via a 51% shareholding. Both sides made encouraging grunts about the talks, using emotive language such as “they went OK.” But these talks have taken a back seat to very emotive exchanges. Until late February, the board’s vow of silence in response to Chaudry’s relentless thrashing of their management would have had Trappist monks nodding in approval. Then, from out of nowhere – or Planet Mars, depending on your viewpoint – they produced an eight-page letter to shareholders, explaining how responsible they were for...

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Port Vale And Plymouth Argyle: Money Men Updates

For what seems like longer than the three months for which it has actually been happening, fans of Port Vale have been bombarded with promises of multi-million pound investment by ironically-labelled ‘secret millionaire’ Mo Chaudry. His interest in football has been intermittent. He claims to have rediscovered his love for the game in recent years, after falling out of love with it in the 1980s. Safe to say, then, that this love for the game is NOT inversely proportional to the money to be made from it. But Vale fans are stuck, as the club is drifting towards the financial abyss under a board of directors for whom self-preservation appears a higher priority than financial sustainability and on-field progress. ‘Valiant 2001’, the ‘fan’s consortium’ which has been running/ruining the club (delete as applicable) since… er… 2003, have been ‘looking’ for investment for years, so long as that investor doesn’t have any fancy ideas of taking any of the board’s power away. With each passing refusal of help, they have attracted increasing cynicism and opprobrium from a fanbase which can also detect a drift to what is still (wrongly) seen as the ‘abyss’ of the Blue Square Bet Premier League. Into this sea of despair has swum successful local businessman Mo Chaudry, VERY publicly indeed. His practical experience of the game would leave a lot of spare space on the...

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2010: A Football Financial Review

You could frame it. If you wanted a short, pithy representation of all that has been wrong with football finance in 2010, you could do no better than quote a Plymouth Argyle fan known as “Sensible Surfer” on the BBC Football website over the Christmas period. “Ridsdale set to take control… good news,” he/she said, a phrase which would sit nicely as an explanation of irony…except that it didn’t appear to BE irony. And it served as fair comment on Argyle’s current state that, relatively, Peter Ridsdale – the failed former Leeds and Cardiff chairman and serial over-borrower – IS good news for the cash and panic-stricken South Westerners, with the heaviest possible emphasis on the word ‘relatively.’ If professional football entered 2010 in a state of moral and financial bankruptcy, it is leaving it in much the same manner. Certain football problems have been “solved.” Some more have emerged. While others, hello Portsmouth, look set to run forever. The “greater fool” theory still underpins much of the game’s financial strategies. The theory is about as scientific as it sounds – buying something in the belief that you will be able to sell it again for a higher price (to a “greater fool”), regardless of what has happened in the meantime (increased debts, usually), or even whether the original price was rooted in reality. Finding a “greater fool” is...

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