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Thursday, 22 April 2010

"We won't do a Leeds...!" - Part 2

Back in February I had a look at the football clubs desperately trying to avoid 'Doing a Leeds!'

That particular post and Part One of this series can be found here - PART 1

Two months later and  more clubs have joined the race to imitate the Mighty Whites. It seems that all the laughing and back-slapping at Leeds' demise over the last few years has somehow drawn attention away from the fact that there were very serious lessons to be learnt from Leeds United's mismanagement. All of which have been overlooked amidst the gloating.

Individuals in the civilised world are taught in the early years of schooling the fundamentals of money, the most basic of which being that 'you can't buy what you can't afford'. However, it seems that English football is so far up its own ass, with The Premiership now a global brand and home to some of the world's best players that more than a few Chairmen now believe that they're untouchable. Believing that the most basic rule of economy, the cornerstone that civilisations have been built upon for Millennia, now no longer applies... Currently the biggest culprits are:

Portsmouth F.C.
Possibly the second biggest financial implosion of a football club (behind ourselves) in living memory. Guilty of over spending on transfer fees, wages and 'Chasing the dream'. The hierarchy at Fratton Park deemed that an improved squad of players would ensure Premiership revenue for the foreseeable future and gambled thus... Unfortunately the unforeseen banking collapse and a few other factors have left the South coast club £119M in debt, in administration and struggling to stay afloat. Despite already being relegated to The Championship they have reached The F.A.Cup Final for the 2nd time in 3 seasons but have seen another financial lifeline severed today when they were refused permission to compete in next season's Europa League due to their financial problems. Quite what the future holds for 'Pompey' this Summer is unclear but a brief look at Leeds United's horrific close season in 2007 might shed some light on the matter.

Southend United
Escaped a 'winding up' order this week when they successfully scraped together £370,000 (approx.) for our old friends at H.M.R.C. I'm assuming the money was saved by not paying their players on time for the last few months. Odds on for relegation to the basement division in the next week or so, it doesn't appear that this will be the end of the troubles at Roots Hall. Another club that got excited after promotion to The Championship and is now clinging on to existence.

Liverpool F.C.
You might think that this is a surprise inclusion but when your millionaire owners put the club up for sale, something is afoot. Destined to miss out on the money-spinning Champions League places this season after already cutting the gravy train short at the group stages this year. The Anfield faithful could be set for some rocky times as Roberto Mancini lines up Fernando Torres and surely Steven Gerrard's undying love for all things 'scouse' will be put to the test this Summer. If that wasn't bad enough they're lumbered with a 2nd rate manager, sat on a £15M contract and refusing to admit defeat. Subsequently they find themselves in a very expensive and damaging catch 22 situation. I'm not suggesting that financial implosion is on the horizon but it could certainly be a lean few years for 'The Kop'.

Cardiff City F.C.
Like a bad smell that won't go away, Peter Ridsdale's Welsh inbreds have seemingly been on death row for an eternity. Several court hearings have come and gone, lies, apologies, more lies and cover-ups have left The Bluebirds on a precipice. Putting all their hopes in a successful Play-off campaign that will see a bank-busting promotion to The Premiership and thus solving any financial problems is all that remains (you'd have thought Mr Ridsdale would have learnt not to put all his goldfish in one tank by now). Failure to secure promotion will hopefully put them to the sword in the coming months and Ridsdale will finally have to start telling the truth.

As usual there are lots of other Chairmen nationwide blindingly claiming "We won't do a Leeds!" and convincing supporters and the public alike that their club is not in a financial mess... I'm sure as the season comes to a close these cracks will start to appear...

Just a quick note, since my last post on this matter Chester City have ceased to exist. Victims of more men in suits playing Russian roulette with historic football clubs. Likely to be the first of several smaller outfits who disappear off the face of the Earth (perhaps Bob Geldoff will form a charity to save endangered clubs). As crazy as that notion is, its likely to happen before the Football Association realise that Mr Murdoch's billions are  only serving the elite few whilst the smaller clubs that hold the whole thing up are scraping their pennies together in order to 'Live the dream..'

Perhaps the fact that English football is slowly slipping the way their Italian counterparts went in the early part of the Millennium will provide a wake up call. No teams in the last four of The Champions League, the 'Big Four' consistently losing top players to La Liga and all of this whilst the 20 top flight clubs carry a debt that is more than the leading leagues from Spain, Italy and Germany combined.

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  1. If you examine Portsmouth's debts "doing a Leeds" now equates to the fast one Bates pulled and not the state Ridsdale left us in. All hail "doing a Portsmouth".

  2. will hull city be added to your list in the near future ? i guess time will tell.

  3. You have forgotten about Hull Lee.......

  4. I promise I will do Hull next time, infact if after relegation its a catastrophic implosion I might even dedicate a whole article to the 6 fingered fish lovers... here's hoping

  5. adam pearson seems to be getting his excuses in early which isn't a good sign ,oh well never mind

  6. I'd have to disagree with Clarkeonenil, in that, 'doing a Leeds' is more often attributed to teams ballsing their finances up in the most spectacular way possible. Whilst Leeds are invariably linked to the dodgy get out of jail (debt) free card Master Ken so freely uses (ie. administration), teams like Newcastle have also been looked at for parallels too and are often said to have 'done a Leeds'.

  7. Fail to gain promotion this year then Leeds will do a Leeds. Finances are still precarious with rent for ER and Thorp Arch running to a million or more before a ball is kicked. No one can invest while KB runs the show. Meanwhile he racks up huge legal costs whilst persuing crackpot ideas and litigation


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