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On 4/9/2020 at 11:41 AM, boroie said:

Swiss Ramble has gone through our accounts

 

Thanks for posting this reads that the club is one of the most financially sustiable in the division

 

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3 hours ago, Duvel said:

I thought Watmore looked like a good little player when he broke through at Sunderland, I don't know what he's been like since his injury. 

I think making only 50 or so appearances over the course of the last 5 seasons tells it's own story. Lad has no luck with injuries at all.

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1 hour ago, DurhamRed said:

 

Hope this does not sound like a Woodgate bashing but i think with impact covid-19 will have on teams we, on face of it, sound like one of the teams best placed to deal with the financial implications.

Just wish we had a manager who could make our potentiality off field advantage tell on the pitch. 

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12 hours ago, TLF10 said:

Hope this does not sound like a Woodgate bashing but i think with impact covid-19 will have on teams we, on face of it, sound like one of the teams best placed to deal with the financial implications.

Just wish we had a manager who could make our potentiality off field advantage tell on the pitch. 

Well we’re lucky that almost all of our high earners are out of contract so the wage budget can be managed accordingly. And we have some decent youngsters in the team so we can probably cope with a reduced window with not much activity. However I dont think we are In that much better shape than many other clubs. We still have to rely on Gibson and our income has plummeted this season due to no parachute payments. 

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I remember people saying the same thing in 2008 when we stripped out the high earners then, didn't end too well. We need quality players to blend with the young talent or they will leave also, this is not 1986 all over again.

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On the whole transfer window thing, its not looking great for clubs in the championship. If anyone reads the Athletic (theres a free 90 day trial now) this is a good article

https://theathletic.com/1731864/2020/04/10/coronavirus-effect-football-league-clubs-focus/

Quote

Not for the first time, it was left to Andy Holt to articulate the fear infecting many EFL clubs. Accrington Stanley’s owner uses Twitter as a platform to think out loud, and a long thread posted on Thursday gave a voice to the strain being felt in the lower leagues as COVID-19 bites ever deeper.

The Premier League has spent weeks pursuing wage deferrals from their players and pushing a scenario where behind-closed-doors games bring this season to a conclusion, but in the divisions below the English top flight, coronavirus is creating an existential crisis. Clubs like Holt’s are against the wall with no regular income, no obvious way of avoiding future funding gaps and the absolute certainty that the mess of COVID-19 will be upon them for months to come, if not longer.

Never mind this season, Holt warned, what about next season? “We’re doomed in the medium term if we don’t find new funds to place lost ones,” he wrote.

The EFL needs no reminding about the delicate state of its competitions. Bury were expelled by the organisation in August after failing to fulfil their fixtures in the midst of overwhelming debts. Macclesfield Town and Southend United have repeatedly failed to pay players on time in the past 12 months and Bolton Wanderers spent part of 2019 in administration. Trouble was afoot long before coronavirus began turning the screw.

A deep look by The Athletic into the effect of football’s shutdown on the EFL’s 71 members uncovered a myriad of problems in which shortfalls of cash, differing priorities and a lack of certainty about how the game will reset itself are threatening dire consequences for clubs fighting to find a way through the mire.

A month on from the suspension of the 2019-20 season, we have been told of:

Serious concerns about the survival of individual teams

Fears that advanced payments from the EFL and the Premier League will lead to financial shortfalls at a later date

Clubs in Leagues One and Two leaning towards the option of ending the season now

Complaints about a “lack of insight” from the government and football’s governing bodies about when or how matches will resume

Owners braced for a “depressed” transfer market and a significant drop in the value of their players

Holt’s tweets, in which he criticised the Premier League and others for “undue haste” in trying to bring this season to a finish, pointed to an issue which is hampering professional football in England from top to bottom: conflicting interests standing in the way of collective resolve or a unified plan.

There are teams in the Championship, such as Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion, who have promotion to the Premier League at their fingertips and would back nothing less than the 2019-20 season resuming. There are others, including Accrington, who are more concerned that a rush to restart fixtures will incur costs which push them over the edge further down the line. What is the point in extending the road, Holt asked, if the road runs out next season anyway?

Four weeks into the COVID-19 shutdown, the EFL is in a state of near paralysis.

According to those with knowledge of EFL discussions, there is no credible blueprint for restarting the season yet, only an insistence from a majority of Championship sides that the season be completed and warnings from others that matches behind closed doors will land them with bills they cannot afford to pay.

Such is the concern around playing games in empty stadiums, that one Championship club’s chief executive has suggested time-outs during games so more TV adverts can be sold and more revenue brought in.

The Premier League stands to lose significant amounts in television fees if the current campaign ends early (which is why it is willing to arrange televised games behind closed doors at the earliest opportunity), but broadcast payments in the EFL are made to clubs at the start of each season and the relevance of them in this scenario is moot. Games without crowds cost money to stage and provide no meaningful earnings. At the lowest levels, they have the potential to be crippling.

“We’re well run on a tight budget but we’re feeling the pinch, so I can’t imagine what’s happening at those clubs who’ve repeatedly and irresponsibly fallen foul of FFP,” says Luton Town chief executive Gary Sweet. “We’re treading cautiously on furloughing. So far, we have furloughed some staff but only lower paid, and only if they are genuinely out of work to do. I want a clear conscience on the HMRC day of reckoning.

“We also think that furloughing players is unlawful. It’s certainly immoral. We are discussing the notion of contributions from players, as we are with all staff. We believe that every employee will need to help in our recovery, including the players, manager, senior management and me. No matter how well-run a business is in any industry, it is impossible to plan for catastrophic circumstances like this.”

Another senior Championship official told The Athletic: “There’s no real guidance about what the solution will be. The ideas being reported are nowhere near as far along in implementation as they’re made out to be. We’re not getting a lot of insight from a high level of government or football. The scenarios are quite complex and most of us are guessing about the steps we’ll take next. Nothing will restart until government advice changes.”

Clubs are taking financial matters into their own hands while they wait for clearer leadership. Numerous teams in the EFL’s bottom two divisions have furloughed regular staff and some, like Accrington and Sunderland, are furloughing players and coaches as a means of cutting expenditure to the lowest possible level. The Athletic understands Millwall had decided to furlough their first-team squad and backroom team from the start of May, but reversed that decision yesterday.

Ethically, using public money to cover players’ salaries is a contentious issue, while an EFL manager told The Athletic he was concerned about the commitment of squads who returned to complete the season having lost a portion of their pay in the interim. In addition, confusion surrounds the question of how furloughing affects a club’s ability to interact with players on the government’s job retention scheme. Sports lawyers believe a duty of care means training drills and fitness programmes will fall outside of the restrictions.

Certain sides in the Championship — Leeds, Brentford and Birmingham City — moved quickly to agree wage deferrals with their squads but this is another area where contrasting opinions result in disagreement. A few weeks ago, before the second tier’s 24 clubs put their heads together to discuss a collective player wage deferral scheme, there were voices of support for it. Salaries would drop to a maximum ceiling of £6,000 a week. An extended period of relief would help to keep clubs in shape. Financially it was plausible and worth debating.

Then the meeting started, and dissent grew. For sides at the lower end of the wage spectrum, such as Barnsley, Luton and Charlton Athletic, that limit of £6,000 did not go far enough. For others, it seemed that the plan was benefiting owners and chairmen who had allowed salary costs to run out of control. Stoke City and Preston North End had already made commitments to pay their squads in full until August and did not want to renege. By the end of the discussion, the idea of a centrally agreed deferral had fallen apart.

The EFL’s members are no different to their Premier League counterparts in that respect: heavily focused on money, unsure of who to trust and struggling to move forward in a collective manner. The disparate approach to the shutdown can be seen in the reaction of clubs to their own cash-flow worries. As a Championship chairman told The Athletic: “Solidarity was never going to be achieved. A collective approach can’t work. It’s got to be down to individual negotiations.” Another executive describes a one-size-fits-all deferral scheme as “impossible”. “You’ve got too many people involved for it to not fall apart,” he says. “All it takes is a few complaints and you’re nowhere with it.”

Leeds acted unilaterally a week later — before the scheduled payment of their wage bill for March — by agreeing to defer wages owed to their first-team players, coaching staff and members of senior management. They imposed an upper limit of £6,000 a week and deferred 100 per cent of all bonuses, an indefinite deal which will remain in place until the club are able to return to full pay. Repayment will come with a small amount of interest on top and the agreement is allowing regular staff to receive full salaries for the time being. Leeds, who posted losses of £21 million in their last accounts, felt decisive action was needed. Figures at rival clubs were privately critical of them for acting alone.

Similar steps were taken by Birmingham, who asked anyone in the squad earning more than £6,000 a week to take a 50 per cent deferral for four months. Brentford also negotiated a temporary limit of around £6,000 with their players. Blackburn Rovers tried to impose a plan of their own but the squad refused to accept it, complaining they were given too little time to consider the details.

For some owners, football’s shutdown threatens to hit their business interests directly. Andrea Radrizzani, Leeds’ majority shareholder, made most of his money through the sale of television rights, and he controls online broadcaster Eleven Sports. Brentford owner Matthew Benham’s gambling firm is equally reliant on live sport. The Coates family, who own Stoke, built up the Bet365 empire but have so far stopped short of making cuts and will hold off on any job losses until at least August.

The EFL and Premier League have attempted to provide assistance in the short term by opening the door to pots of money. The EFL set up a £50 million relief package consisting of advanced payments of “basic award” funding and interest-free loans. The Premier League channeled £125 million into the EFL and National League, although that figure represented money which clubs below the top flight were expecting at a later date: just over £56 million in solidarity payments, the same in parachute payments and around £11 million in academy grants.

However, the EFL is temporarily withholding the distribution of the Premier League’s money while it “seeks additional clarity” on details such as a wider deferral of player wages. Conversations with the Professional Footballers’ Association, the players’ union, are ongoing but still to bear fruit. When the cash comes, it will be welcome. But it won’t last long, which will lead to another reckoning in the future. As Accrington’s Holt said, existing revenue streams paid early can only take clubs so far. What nobody will promise is a tranche of new cash to deal with subsequent liabilities.

“The money from the EFL and the Premier League takes the pressure off now,” says one CEO, “but if you’ve deferred players’ wages, loaned money from the EFL and spent Premier League money which would normally have been used later in the year — or taken PAYE and VAT holidays — then you’re going to be facing some big bills eventually. There’ll be a lot of money owed at the other end of all this, that’s for sure. You’ll be seeing problems a year down the line, even if this money helps for the time being. A lot of this money is budgeted for anyway.”

One option that has cropped up in conversation among clubs and agents is a change to how transfer fees are paid once the window reopens.

Currently, a club selling a player for, say, £5 million would get the money in instalments over a couple of years. But if cashflow is an issue, clubs might have to lower their valuations and take a reduced fee in one lump sum.

In the minds of some, next season matters more than this one. Clubs are continuing to try to sell season tickets, a vital source of revenue, but cannot promise fans when the 2020-21 campaign will kick off or how it will look.

They have contractual commitments that need to be met and obligations which have been complicated by the likelihood that this season will not end on time. Leeds, as an example, are due to switch kit manufacturers from Kappa to Adidas this summer. The Athletic understands that if 2019-20 is to be played to a conclusion, they intend to continue playing in Kappa-branded kits for the duration, to fulfil their deal with the Italian firm.

When that date will fall though, nobody knows.

In Leagues One and Two, there are murmurings of a scenario where this season is left to lie and clubs concentrate instead on making sure next season runs smoothly. The chaos that would cause in deciding promotion and relegation is untold, with implications for the Premier League and the Championship, but the argument about the integrity of competitions carries little weight with those who are worried about basic survival. There is a sense of football changing for ever — and not necessarily for the better.

The one thing prominent figures in EFL circles can say for sure is that most Championship clubs want to complete their fixtures, in part to prevent legal action brought on by any attempt to void the season.

The EFL itself wants all remaining fixtures completed, too. Rick Parry, the chief executive whose handling of the situation is said to have restored a degree of trust in the governing body, yesterday wrote to all 71 clubs. He told them to suspend training until May 16 at the earliest but predicted that the organisation would need around 56 days to wrap up the campaign, including the play-offs.

Despite the plea made by Holt, the letter said that “our working assumption at this stage is that matches will be played behind closed doors when we eventually return.”

“It almost has to finish, come what may,” says a Championship chairman. “You can imagine what the claims would be from Leeds and West Brom if they didn’t go up. What’s the loss in revenues? It’s £200 million-plus, so you have to finish it, irrespective of what happens to next season.”

On that, opinion is far from unanimous.

No solution is likely to avoid EFL clubs taking a hit en masse on transfer fees, another area where income is key. Transfer experts say the impact of COVID-19 will lead to a depressed market in which buying clubs hold the power and Premier League teams are more able than ever to poach the players they want. Valuations will drop and the £10 million-plus purchases which have taken players out of the Championship in recent seasons no longer seem realistic. “There’s going to be nothing like the same magnitude (of deals),” a club source said. “Anything you were thinking about before is going to be substantially reduced. That’s going to have a massive impact because clubs normally use the market to balance their books.”

In all of the chatter, there is one thing which everyone in the EFL agrees on: that resuming the season, or resuming football in general, will not be the end of anything. It will draw a line under the sport’s shutdown, but in the context of stabilising the health of vulnerable clubs, it is only the start of a long game with plenty of pain to come.

Some in the game say they are fighting for integrity. Some are genuinely questioning if they will make it through the worst.

 

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I wonder if there will be changes to FFP rules. The COVID is clearly going to have an impact on club finances but how do you deal with what was for some going to be a crisis even without the corona virus hitting. 

I understand that it was there to protect clubs but in reality it minimises the chances of most clubs ever reaching the very top due to our revenue streams would never be able to compete with the top teams.

I would personally scrap it when we get out of this current situation.

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1 hour ago, boroie said:

On the whole transfer window thing, its not looking great for clubs in the championship. If anyone reads the Athletic (theres a free 90 day trial now) this is a good article

https://theathletic.com/1731864/2020/04/10/coronavirus-effect-football-league-clubs-focus/

 

Good article. Football is basically ***. The fact that even clubs within the same division can’t agree on plans moving forward due to conflicting financial interests highlights the financial inequality in the game. 

Playing games in front of crowds is very unlikely to happen this calendar year, playing games behind closed doors is financial suicide for some clubs. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets for everyone. 

The game is going to have to significantly change, really interested to see how it comes out the other side.

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There's no easy solution as whatever is brought up in the football meetings arranged someone in the meeting will veto it

I have said numerous times football won't start this year so to start next season will only delay the following season & so on

Just wait till we can resume with football again & restart all the leagues remaining fixtures, I'm not into this let's null & void this seasons football, say the season doesn't start till March, are we to get a full season of games in before May, or go through the summer & hopefully complete the season before 2021/2022 starts, that's forgetting about euro2021

Forget about next season starting, we haven't even got that far yet 

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Considering social distancing is likely to stay in place until there's a working vaccine (at best 12-18 months time) or some sort herd immunity.. those clubs are either going bust or need a gov bail-out.

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17 minutes ago, mendieta420 said:

Considering social distancing is likely to stay in place until there's a working vaccine (at best 12-18 months time) or some sort herd immunity.. those clubs are either going bust or need a gov bail-out.

Yes agree, very hard one to call

As you say 12 - 18 months, what will football be like, if & when, it resumes 

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It won’t be 12-18 months. May even be a vaccine in the fall. Denmark are beginning to open up on Wednesday with daycares, kindergartens and schools below 5th grade. Still no big gatherings until 1. September but they think it’ll be safe to fully open up after that with football etc. the danish leagues hope to start up with games behind closed doors on 15 May and a new season to start with crowds on 1. September. 

Our health system can now cope so we can control the ones that get infected better  

I appreciate we are further along than you are but I don’t think it’s going to take 12-18 months. 

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I think games will be played behind closed doors in June. This is financially alright for Prem and most championship however for league 1&2 is financial suicide. I really do hope when all this is over they is some rebalancing of football financing as far too many clubs are litteraly on the breadline and this is their tipping point!

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14 hours ago, Erimus74 said:

Yes agree, very hard one to call

As you say 12 - 18 months, what will football be like, if & when, it resumes 

Very good question and one I believe many do not want to contemplate but we may well have to accept that the professional game we are used to will be a thing of the past. Limited numbers being able to watch the game if sd continues for a long period.

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