Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Friday January 27 2006
Where is the money?
Hopefully this article sees me shoot myself in the foot. Unfortunately that seems unlikely at this moment in time. Another transfer window is drawing to a close, one which has yet again been characterised by a lack of action from Manchester City. Loan signing, Albert Riera, remains the clubs only signing in the window and although early in his career, it can hardly be said that he looks like he will be a roaring success.
So why is it that the club have been so miserly in the transfer market? The easy scapegoat for most people is Kevin Keegan. True, he spent in the region of £50 million pounds, but wasn’t it the chairmen, past and present, who sanctioned that spending? It was widely publicised prior to Keegan’s departure that the club was some £60 million in debt, hence the reason given for a lack of activity in the market. Since the publication of those same accounts Anelka, Wright-Phillips and Macken have left the club for sums totalling close on £30 million. As well as the transfer money recouped from those sales the club has also wiped their wages from the books as well as those of other high earners such as McManaman and Bosvelt. The result of this drastic cost cutting exercise has seen a £4 million reduction in the overall debt, although this does exclude the Wright-Phillips fee, and further calls for reductions in spending.
Now I am no accountant, and I am usually willing to believe most of the propaganda the club feeds me, but why is it that, having cut the wage bill enormously and having recouped sums near on half the original debt level, the club is still speaking the same language as it was 12 months ago? It was the club who said then that we didn’t need to sell as the debt was manageable; therefore now we have sold why is it that none of that money seems to be being made available to the manager? Could it be we were being misled as to the serious state of the club’s finances? It would appear so given the lack of investment in a squad crying out for improvement.
I am not intending to use this article to simply slag off the directors, if it wasn’t for Makin and Wardle the club would probably have ceased to exist, but why can’t we have some transparency at the club. If the finances are in such a perilous state that the most we can hope for is a mid-table slot then tell us. But therein lays the problem. If the club states its intention as being little more than survival in the Premiership then people are less likely to renew their season tickets. Already the fare on offer has driven some people away, if you take away the ambition others will surely follow.
The sad thing about all of this is that everyone can see the club is going nowhere. We have one of the game’s better young managers who is working miracles with what he has. Perhaps that will be enough in the short term but the club mustn’t underestimate Pearce’s ambition. If he can work miracles with nothing, what chance with a bit of finance behind him? The onus must be on the board to back the manager. If he is going to be successful, let him be successful here. Looking at this division it shouldn’t take much to push for Europe, problem is it will probably cost something. I await the end of the transfer window with baited breath.
Date:Friday January 27 2006
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