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June 2021

Incompetence rules in football

By Tony Attwood

It is fairly common for the AAA to claim that Arsenal’s directors and management are incompetent or greedy or both.  But if it is incompetence you are looking for, it is there to be seen among many other clubs.

I have already written about Blackburn’s case in which they managed to put up a press release on their web site which directly contracdicted statements they were putting to the court as they tried to avoid paying off their ex-manager.   They also, via their solicitors managed to submit the wrong, and on other occasions, incomplete documents to the court.  They lost the case, and now owe their manager of 50 odd days a couple of million pounds.

Now it seems that Blackburn Rovers are facing further legal action over money owing to another sacked manager Michael Appleton.  After Henning Berg got £2.25m or put another way £39,473 a day, Appleton – who reigned for 60 odd days, is now going to sue.

During the hearings it became clear that Shebby Singh refused to answer the judge’s question as to why he could not have emailed or faxed a statement to court, corroborating or denying evidence put before the court.  Worse it is now said that the £2.25m owing to Berg can’t be paid because of cash flow problems.

Their case is now being challenged in the sillyness stakes by Newcastle United who have admitted that they have not made provisions for relegation in the contracts they gave to the players who were purchased in January this year.   Of course Newcastle might not be relegated and so it may not matter too much, but even so, it seems a bit of a silly mistake not to provide for lesser salaries to be paid if the players underperform so much that they go down.

In fact even without that bit of news it is interesting to see what the £31m spent earlier this year on bringing in Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haïdara and Moussa Sissoko has actually produced.

It is not much of an excuse to say that relegation was never a possibility because Newcastle have flirted with the drop recently and went down as recently as 2009.  It is estimated that their current wages bill is around 78% of their income.  If that income drops much further then they are in danger of having a wages bill that is 100% of income.

And it is not possible to argue that clubs don’t have relegation clauses in their contracts.  Most other relegation candidates do.

Queen’s Park Rangers is another club where apparently many of the players do not have relegation clauses in their contracts.

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12 comments to Incompetence rules in football

  • incompetence rules all round tony. i give you the second gulf war, the exxon pipeline spill, the bp gulf spill and my head is spinning already. blackburn and newcastle are merely following the lead of liverpool and chelsea with the andy and fernando show.

  • Stuart


    I love the bit about the Newcastle signing, especially as a few Arsenal fans I was talking to earlier in the season were heavily criticising the club and praising the signings made by Newcastle….. they got all those top quality players and only spent £30 odd Million in the process.

  • Scrotty McBuggerballs

    if you want incompetence, look no further than the spuds, who despite seeing what a pain the backside Adebuyor was at both Arsenal and Citeh, still went ahead and purchased him.

  • Shakalula Gooner

    Yes, Stuart, in respect of Newcastle I remember people saying that though Newcastle under Alan Pardew was basically following Wenger’s model, bringing in cheaper and technically superior French imports, he had now overtaken Wenger in the strategy as he was doing more (and better?) business there.
    See now where it may be heading!
    The moral, again, is that no serious club should sacrifice careful planning and astute ventures into the transfer market on the altar of popularity with the fans or the press because neither the fans nor the prsee have all the facts and factors that a club’s management have to deal with season after season.

  • Stroller

    Most fans are attacted to the more headline-catching topics of signing new players and (in the cases you cite) of replacing managers. The true financial implications behind these decisions never make the headlines until things start to go wrong. Of course, contractual details are well hidden and it usually takes a court case to open them up to scrutiny.

    QPR’s situation should make interesting reading this summer as the media’s favourite wheeler-dealer tries to offload players the club cannot now afford. But already they are quite happy to accept his excuses that nothing was really his fault and it wasn’t really his side etc. etc.

  • Mandy Dodd

    There are complete idiots running, owning , financing, managing, playing and supporting so called top level football. We are an oasis of sanity seeing out a storm of sheer moronic ineptitude in so many cases.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sorry, should qualify that, regarding supporters, we have a few idiots of our own.

  • andy bishop

    The truth hurts… a little

  • Mahdain

    I honestly dont know what the venkys saw in Shebby Singh to recruit him in the first place. They should have watched the videos of him being a pundit on EspnStar and they would have realised that he doesnt have one clue about football. He was an awful pundit

  • ARSENAL 13


    EGG-JACK-TEA-LAY…. And remember him criticizing ARSENAL, for not spending..or say spending sanely.

    I am surprised by the wrath, the Venkys are being subjected to. Afterall, they know nothing about football. They had money to spend. Blackburn (BOD, Director of Football, managers) are the ones who decide how to spend it.

  • Steve

    I think the media do not help with how clubs are run, some owners see what is written and think this is what should be done. They see headlines and listen to comments from so called expert jurno’s and ex players about what they should do, who they should buy and how much they should spend.
    I know they do not have to listen but the fans pick up on the things said and a snowball starts to roll, we should be doin this or that, new owners with little knowledge of football then panic and do what they think they should be doing according to what has been said but not what is good for the club as a whole.

    When pundits like Stan collymore come out with comments like “Arsenal should go into debt to win trophies” you can see why owners could get into trouble