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City, Chelsea, Rags, Platini: Born Of Confusion



Good grief. After watching some terrific football of late, it's back to talking about money. Lots of money. And a fair number of us are beginning to wonder what day it is...

City's absolute failure to implode on the pitch this season has frustrated the club's enemies in 'The Street of Shame' and beyond. Of that, there's little doubt.

The roughing up that the club gave the previous mind numbingly boring procession of 'The Big Four' in the summer transfer market has to the horror of many status quo advocates transferred (sic) itself on to the pitch with handsome wins over Arsenal and Chelsea, a should have been win at Liverpool and a time added on to time added on narrow defeat at the swamp.

The second half of the season looks bright for The Blues. Handily fifth placed in the Premier League with a game in hand, in the semi-finals of the League Cup against a united suddenly prioritising that competition and facing Scunthorpe in the next round of the FA Cup. Without the distraction of European competition, opportunities knock for 'Mancio's Mercenaries.'

We've seen reduced admission prices at Eastlands, vast improvements to the match day experience, kids for a quid initiatives and superb retro kits at low prices released. We've seen a club ownership promoting the development of independent fan's websites whilst actively building links with the fans at regular fans forums and with the Manchester community.

10 years on from our third division nightmare, City fans have begun to thoroughly enjoy ourselves.

But. Along come financial results and confusion begins to reign. The majority of hacks pile out of the bars foretelling the beginning of the end for City. Those with a persuasion towards Alex Ferguson arslikhan leap upon the announced loss in a bid to deflect the spotlight from the rags perilous finanicial state, pathetically backing Taggart's claim that he isn't spending because he doesn't want to.

Yet. There are also a number of scribes typing that City are well set up and almost debt free. It certainly looks that way when you try to make sense of the figures.

I've always been more 4-4-2 than CAC 40 and I know many other Blues think the same way so this makes it all the more confusing to be reminded that UEFA President Michel Platini, ever silent when protecting the interests of certain European footballing giants, is threatening serious consequences for the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea unless they get their financial houses in order to his liking.

Now this comes in the same week during which revelations came to light that the rags, 700 million in debt, are after trying to arrange the mother of IOU's to reduce rocketing interest on the hedge funded debt the Glazer's lumbered them with.

Meanwile this morning, The Grauniad revealed that an Arsenal oligarch 'values the club and its debt at a staggering 900m.' Liverpool are floating somewhere further along shit creek.

I'm nothing more than a football fan and I just cannot understand how Platini can pick and choose his targets at will with so much debt swamping major clubs. The one common denominator we of course do see with Platini is that his sights are usually fixed upon his detested view of the Premier League.

From a purely footballing perspective, the first half of this Premier League season has seen some tremendous action and results. The superb efforts of City, Villa, Spurs and Birmingham have led the way in showing the rest of the league, who to their credit have also stepped up their game, that 'The Big Four' are no longer invincible. It would be a great shame were the first exciting Premier League season we've witnessed in years, leading into a World Cup that an England side could seriously win become lost in a sea of financial mayhem, but that looks to be the way it's going. From where I am sat no top flight club is beyond reproach as lower league sides struggle to exist, nevermind Portsmouth. All we can ask for right now is some consistency from the game's governing bodies while the debts pile up.

As for liddle ciddy, and our dare to be big?

We've been getting plenty of reminders today that Chelsea were already an established financial and footballing force before the roubles rolled into the King's Road. City are starting from scratch, it says here.

If so, then if The Blues go on to achieve something this season, then our delight at such an incredible footballing turnaround being completed in our lifetimes will be all the sweeter.

We're Not Really Here.

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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 7 2010

Time: 9:57AM

Your Comments

Sad, innit? But if Chelsea and Citeh do get booted out of the CL in the future for spending beyond their means, I will kill Platini. United, Liverpool, Real Madrid are all neck deep in debt that it would be so damn hypocritical to do something like that. And cheers that we have owners who can convert debt to equity willingly, just look at the rags.. :)
JT_daniel
I don't think they would win a civil court case, if they banned a Club from a competition for not being in debt.
buzz lightyear
I wonder if Platini will read your article JB. He should it speaks the truth of the real reason behind these attacks.
buzz lightyear
A civil court case can't prevent Uefa from introducing entry rules for it's own competitions. Those rules Platini is working on aren't related to debt. Apparently approved by the European clubs the rules relate to losses. Clubs making continuous losses as Chelsea and others have done, and City look set to do, for more than 3 years or so could be excluded from European competition.
Amos.
Ah, losses are the only thing Arsenal FC don't make. I forgot, winning trophies too. ;)
JT_daniel
I'm kidding, of course Amos. :)
JT_daniel
Still a long, long way behind our trophy count JT. It's unlikely you'll ever get there - certainly not in your lifetime but I've no doubt we'll add to our tally as time goes on - almost as certainly as you'll add to your losses - until RA gets fed up picking up the bills.
Amos.
Just kidding of course JT_daniel. ;)
Amos.
Nice to see it's not just the FA that have their heads firmly up their own arses.
fifthcolumnblue
Great article JB, I just cant fathom why the hell clubs in debt are fine, but City and Chelsea are not?! We spend beyond our means- but we can AFFORD to do so. Look at Portsmouth, they get all the sympathy after Redknapp spend beyond their means- which they COULDNT afford. Our owner should be applauded. We can, and have to spend if we want to compete at the top. Ofcourse we arnt going to spend 100m every summer on players but we need to get the wheels rolling.
eighthsin
The new Uefa statutes are supported by the European Clubs Association (144 leading (mostly) clubs from 53 european federations). Basically debt is fine if used for assets such as training facilities, youth academies, stadiums et c., but not for player budgets (wages and transfer fees) that are disproportionate to the revenue earned. You can invest in players but the payback time has to be reasonable - 2 or 3 seasons apparently - and you can't continue to do it unless your revenues support it.
Amos.
So the rags are 700 million in debt and climbing. So that's alright then as long as they say it's not for wages and transfer fees? Jesus H. I can't even begin to comprehend all this *********.
Johnny Baguette
It's just interesting to note that it was OK for Chelsea to do it in previous years, and England's allotted CL spots were allocated to the same 4 teams at the top. Now that one or more of the cartel are threatened with the financial nightmare of not qualifying, suddenly the spending becomes an issue. Unluckily for Chelsea, it's the Man City factor that has suddenly brought this to everyone's attention, and clearly the footballing authorities have to include Chelsea in the same boat as us if they are not to look like the utter hypocrites that they undeniably are. Our apologies to Cheslea, but then again, we're ruining football for everyone, not just you!
fifthcolumnblue
United have the biggest (depending on exchange rates) revenue stream in world football. It can support the debts - that's the difference between them and Chelsea for example. It's not as comfortable for that as it was though - hence they haven't spent too much of the Ronaldo money.
Amos.
The Uefa statutes were in process long before Sheikh Mansour bought in. The German clubs particularly were protagonists in it's favour and the ECA (inclduing Chelsea) supported it. Reinforcing the equity in the club will still enable you to make big steps forward - you'll just have to do so profitably sooner rather than later that's all.
Amos.
Amos- you said in your initial post that City look set to continue to make losses. What makes you so sure? The initial investment was essential to bring the quality needed into City so they can mount achallenge on the top four. That kind of spending is unlikely to happen again and if City hit their targets in terms of CL qualification and winning trophies then surely their revenue will exceed their operating costs, no?
Bluedub
I think you'll find that the MCFC executives have said themselves that the expectations are it will be several years before they can break even. Chelsea have reached their targets won trophies and CL qualification but are still making huge losses. If anything you are spending more at a faster rate and with much lower starting revenues than they kicked off their project with.
Amos.
So how is any club supposed to break up the top four cartel without investing money initially to make up for the short fall in revenue from not qualifying for CL? If this money doesn't get invested City like Villa, Everton and Spurs before them will just be trying in vain to make that CL spot whilst not on a level playing field.
Bluedub
That's a fair question Bluedub. There is a risk that these 'financial fairplay' statutes just fixes the status quo. Guess it doesn't prevent you getting their in the end as part of a sustained development policy but it should prevent the big distortions of a billionaires game of poker.
Amos.
Can't wait to hear all of the Bundesliga fans screaming when their 10.00 match day tickets are brought into line with the rest of Europe then! I'm sure they're all backing the scheme to level the playing field at the moment, but surely they'll need to increase their revenues accordingly if they want to keep up with the big boys under the impending new rules. Or will l'arse (and others) be forced to reduce their extortionate prices (Please note - City have been freezing/reducing ticket prices - guess that must be terrible for the game)? Certain teams are not going to meet the old mortgage repayments if that's the case. This whole plan seems rather ill thought out as most populist decisions are. Three cheers for Mr Plattini, I'm sure plastic surgery will replace the nose he's just cut off
fifthcolumnblue
so is Real Madrid included in these financial proposals, as it seems they spent MILLIONS but not the infrastructure of there ground, acadamy,and Training facilities, etc as Amos says unless of course the arrivals of the calibre of players like Tranaldo, Kaka, and Benzama are now teaching the youth acadamy at the Bernabau, in their Spare time of course the time on the pitch is just a minor irrelevance,, wages and transfer fees are put down as a new playing surface,or something mundane like that. i Think thats called FRAUD IN THE UK,and it has nothing to do with the new regime that recently took in the summer,THE GAME IS BENT from the top and Prikini and the tosser Blatter, at Fifa is even worse
cityman51
What about the people they owe money to? Is this how the banks got into trouble and caused a ressession by giving loans out that could not possibly be repaid?
buzz lightyear
Platini is as bent as Taggart and Wenger, same hymn sheet
Once a Blue
I think even the media are coming over, the number of times that City are on the box in the next few weeks, is surely a testament to the fact that people just want to see what all the fuss is about.
buzz lightyear
 

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