The answer is certainly not Arsenal – because of the way our club is run. But some others are not so well-organised. They might teeter on the brink for years but in the end…
I posted a brief summary of this the other day, but got so many emails about it privately that I thought I would expand it. If you know of any clubs that are not included here, or any statements that are wrong, please email Tony at hamilton-house.com and I’ll correct the record.
Overall 15 out of 20 EPL clubs are financed by their owners, from Aston Hold Your Head Villa to Wigan Athletic.
EPL: Clubs and broadcaster
Manchester IOU: A record season in terms of turnover but even with that (which of course includes not winning the Euro, FA Cup semi and winning the EPL, they still can’t afford to pay any of the interest that has accrued on this year’s debts – so it will be rolled over into the £650m they owe. Those debts are now being traded – in case you want to buy one.
Everton Anti-Gravity: So named after their supporters attempts to lob missiles at Arsenal fans in the seats above, only to find that they fell back down on their own supporters. Anti-Gravity is also part of their campaign to get into the Top 4. They’ve done it once (Liverpool Insolvents came 5th) but immediately went out of the Champs League in the preliminary round. Desperately in need of investment the club is up for sale. Worse, they knocked down their training ground, ready to build flats there, only to be refused planning permission. They blamed unelected busybodies – but it was the local council what done it, and they are… elected
Aston Hold Your Head. Named after last season’s tactic of going down when tackled and holding the head to get the ref to stop the game. Not going bust – they have a rich Yankee owner – but they have a major problem. Last season was their year for breaking into the top 4. So intent were they on it, they put out a reserve team in a UEFA Cup match (in order to preserve the first teamers), and went out of that cup, and finished a trailing 5th. G. Barry, their biggest name, has clearly had enough and buggered off to Manchester Arab. Quite how they re-group to put in another top 4 challenge is anyone’s guess; it seems unlikely, and if that is so, extreme disquiet will break out along the A38M.
West Iceland Utd: must be sold by July, but no deal forthcoming, the owner is bankrupt. There seems to be no chance of an extension of the debt.
Manchester Arab. Last season’s laughing stock of world football, bidding billions for players who wouldn’t touch them with a dirty football boot, they now have to lower their vision. Barry is joining them, but the days of $$$Trillions for Kaka and C Ronaldo have gone.
Portsmouth: sold to a sheikh, to become richest club in world – but there are now big questions about the new owner. There are said to be “concerns” about Sulaiman Al Fahim and his Dubai property project. Hydra Village was due for completion this year but is now running two years behind plan. Good piece on the developing scandal in the Guardian.
Sunderland: sold to a Yank, to become richest club in world. Have got Steve Bruce from Wigan, which suggest they will survive given the miracles he has performed on 2.5p a fortnight at Wigan.
Liverpool Insolvency: no news on the £350m debt which must be refinanced by end of July. No news on the grandiose schemes for the new stadium – difficult to see how any of this can go ahead without the £350m debt being sorted first. So in effect they actually need £350m x 2 to get the stadium built.
Setanta TV. They got the bid for football TV wrong and have been renegotiating ever since. Sky wouldn’t hand anything back (Setanta asked for £50m), they talked to Scotland over the rights there and then failed to pay the latest installment needed. Their own shareholders won’t hand over cash to keep it going. Setanta, could go into administration if it can’t pay £35m to the Premier League first, or indeed if the SPL sue them.
Outside the EPL
Newcastle Untidy: Not only up for sale, but now up for sale at a discount price. No movement on signing that boring guy from Match of the Day – the story is that he was demanding a fortune in transfer fee money, and it is not on. Owner (who was warned about his drinking while at a game at the Ems) says he made huge mistakes and lost millions.
Merthyr Tydfil will probably go into liquidation soonish. A Welsh-Egyptian millionaire (honest!) is looking to buy the club – maybe – but you know these Welsh Egyptians – pesky fellows at the best of times (that’s a joke not a racist slur). There are also tales that Cardiff City (see below) have agreed to a link through which Merthyr will be used by Cardiff as a club that uses Cardiff reserve players.
Sheffield United. Not getting any more parachute payments but they are getting the Tevez money from West Iceland (until they go bust) so will be better off than some.
Southampton: so bust that they are no longer even paying their office staff (who certainly have done nothing wrong), but now have one consortium bidding to buy bankrupted club
Accrington Stanley being taken to court because they can’t pay Revenue and Customs. They say they have the money and will pay soon, and blame everyone else for the problems. The hearing is June 10. I (being old) can still remember Accrington leaving the league 44 years ago and going out of business. Indeed the first football book I ever wrote (now long since out of print) contained a picture of the ground one year after their demise. The sponsor went bust part way through the season just finished owing the club £100,000. I haven’t been to the ground but the word is that they have the worst in the league, and an average attendance of just over 1000 – also the worst.
Darlington FC: went into administration for second time in two years and I can’t find anything that says they have come out – in fact the story seems to be they are about to fold. Talk is also that if they survive they might go down two divisions!
Chester City having been relegated from the 4th division have gone into liquidation. No news of what next. Conference rules on administration are much tighter than League rules so they might drop two divisions.
Halifax Town for a long time a league club have either been wound up or put into administration – there are reports of both.
Stockport County went into administration on 1 May. No news of what’s next.
Fisher Athletic were wound up on 13 May and are no more.
Northwich Victoria: in admin again for the second time in just a few years.
AFC Hornchurch have gone into administration.
Doubts but no facts
Charlton Athletic. They looked to have it all when an Arab consortium was on the very edge of buying them up – and then didn’t at the last second. The fans who said, “Curbishley has taken us as far as he can – we need someone else now” are now a by-word for ignorant pathetic stupid idiots. It was a brilliant club, with a neat stadium, punching way above its weight year after year, the master left and then… Word on the street (for what it is worth) is that they are on the very edge although there are also talks of signings about to happen.
Cardiff City. No signs of problems except there is still that dispute with Sam Hamman and the previous owners over millions of pounds. But Cardiff has Peter Ridsdale in charge now so with all his experience at Leeds…
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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