Football - its a whole different world (cup)
“Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” — Gary Lineker
Yes, that famous perennial – the World Cup – has come around again and there are a few football insolvency stories that will leave you as sick as a parrot.
Begbies Traynor (not to be confused with Jim Traynor – where he now?) keeps a careful eye on the financial health of the beautiful game. Their last report paints a gloomy picture of financial doldrums afflicting the Scottish game. Three clubs are suffering from critical financial distress, and a further sixteen are showing some signs of problems. So that is half the clubs in bother.
Hearts future at least appears brighter, with the signing ban lifted now they have exited administration. We were close to running out of money on a couple of occasions”, said Bryan Jackson (not to be confused with Darren Jackson). “The fans donations were crucial… It was fantastic the donations we received.” The Tynecastle club is now free of the £30m debt burden owed to Lithuanian businesses.
In passing, Chris Sutton (not to be confused with John Sutton, who scored against the hoops) was declared bankrupt last month. The UK’s first £5m player blamed it on bad advice, his financial advisor having been jailed over an investment scam.
And another bankruptcy was of a thinking man’s football pundit and international goalie with 50+ caps for England. David James (not to be confused with Sally James, even in a wet t-shirt) cited a number of factors, but couldn’t leave out his ex-wife Tanya even though they split nearly 10 years ago.
But in Scotland perhaps Ayr United and Motherwell and Annan Althletic are the model for the future. Like Hearts they are recognising that it’s the fans who matter – not some wealthy sheikh or newspaper mogul who takes a passing interest for a while. Meanwhile those who run the game – in Scotland and elsewhere – remain on a different planet. The SPFL is now trying to come to terms with Rangers, Hearts and Hibs all in the Championship and the effect that has on attendances and TV coverage. Hopefully that won’t cost as much as the £725,000 they stumped up to cover the cost of televising Rangers matches after the Ibrox club’s demise.
In his address to the FIFA congress Sepp Blatter said: “We shall wonder if one day our game is played on another planet? Why not? Then we will have not only a World Cup we will have inter-planetary competitions. Why not?”
Why not? Because we haven’t found life on another planet – that’s why not. And yes, we already know there are fleas on Pluto.