The Sweeper: Financial Crisis in English Football


The Big Story

UEFA again expressed concern at the spending by the likes of Man City, with general secretary David Taylor commenting “I would say in this financial climate, it is surprising – a little bit destabilizing of the market”. Taylor goes on to voice concerns about the level of debt in English football, worrying clubs will spend too much to match City: “There are a number of English clubs where the value of the club itself has fallen significantly and they are effectively on the market,” he said.

Indeed, this report on the plunging value of many English clubs — a number of which were recently sold for less than City bid for Joleon Lescott — ought to wake folks up. The business is not always a fairytale.

So why do these warnings fall on deaf ears to so many administrators and fans in English football?  Twohundredpercent says “Just as no-one thought it would happen to them when it happened to Leeds United, and no-one thought that it would happen to them when it happened to Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton Athletic or any of a sizeable number of other clubs, so it is that most football supporters are still thinking that it will never happen to them.” Of course, it will.

Worldwide News

  • Marcela Mora y Araujo has another excellent article on the financial crisis in Argentina we mentioned last week, commenting that the “the worst-case scenario” of no football kicking off as scheduled on August 14th remains a serious prospect, especially with the undercurrent to the discussion centering on the thorny issue of internet gambling.
  • Looks like Some People On The Pitch have another good series coming, with a new weekly round-up of all things French — to start things off, they preview Ligue 1.
  • And another excellent season preview comes at SoccerLens, where Gary Andrews looks at the runners and riders in England’s fifth tier Blue Square Premier. It’s hard to see anyone stopping Luton (as another preview agrees), relegated from League Two for financial reasons — and will this season see the final unravelling of internet fan-0wned Ebbsfleet United?
  • Match of the century! Easter Island, located in the Pacific Ocean around 3,500km from the nearest point of mainland Chile, is hosting its first ever official match on Wednesday against Colo Colo in a game to be broadcast nationally in Chile.

North American News

  • We wrote today about the touchy dynamic of players tweeting, but it’s spreading much higher in the food chain — Chivas de Guadalajara’s owner Jorge Vergera might have found the perfect medium for his short temper, as on Twitter he blamed his players for a recent defeat and defended their coach.
  • In a very long piece at Yanks Abroad, the father of Kenny Cooper — recently transferred from FC Dallas to 1860 Munichrips into the league’s treatment of Americans, saying MLS is substantially underpaying homegrown talent and forcing Americans abroad, warning of labor strife ahead: ‘There are all these stipulations and rules, but to me they’re all one-sided. It’s going to culminate with the union and the MLS getting together and agreeing to respectfully disagree. I would hope that the players don’t even think about going on strike, but something’s got to give.”  In this economic climate, it’s hard to see the players having a lot of leverage, however.
  • Speaking of the MLS Players Union, the negotiations on the Collective Bargaining Agreement are just revving up — the Sports Business Journal reports the players are asking for guaranteed contracts and free agency. The latter appears to be a bargaining chip to gain the former, but even that seems unlikely — just how far are players prepared to go to get a good deal?

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