|Last Player Switch Out The Lights|
|Written by Dave Thomas|
|Monday, 15 August 2011|
Last player switch out the lights
Talk of £4million losses and parachute payments income continued to rumble – albeit quietly – for a few more days. But for the last three years or so, Burnley has not been a club where things have quietly stood still for long. As things settled, the next bombshell landed when we switched on Fox News.
Much worse: next came the news that Danny Fox had been sold to Southampton. Not since the days of Bob Lord selling players every five minutes had there been anything like this if you included all those shipped out a few weeks ago.
“Where’s all the money gone you ask? It looks to me like all the loans have now been paid back. If you factor in the millions owed to Modus creditors, the ridiculous wage bill and the bonuses, the few millions spent on the Turf etc, paying off Average Brian and then you can chuck in a clever bit of amortisation on those few tangible assets that you haven’t just refurbed, then you can make your bottom line look like you’ve lost a few bob.
That loss can be carried forward against any tax liabilities in subsequent years when you can’t box clever with the figures, so the tax bill is lower than it otherwise would have been.
My clever chum then went on to suggest that BK with the best of intentions was trying to manage our expectations with the news of the loss; but instead the manouevre didn’t quit work as expected as people got out the backs of their fag packets and envelopes, did a few parachute payment sums and predictably reacted with a man-in-the-street, puzzled-fan response – well where did all the money go then?
And then whilst Mrs T was backing four winners at Beverley (yes I repeat four) all hell broke loose when the Board decided to sell Danny Fox to Southampton. Burnley, having already lost Eagles and Mears for understandable reasons, now incensed the majority of fans by selling Fox. It wasn’t that they felt that Fox was a stunningly good player or a crowd favourite, but simply they wondered just what was going on. The directors issued re-assurances about looking after the club, being custodians, keeping wages at a manageable level, balancing the books, developing a uniformed wage structure and streamlining the squad. The problem however was that it wasn’t so much a clear and deliberately planned statement of future policy and strategy, it was simply a reaction to supporter anger.
The arguments raged as to whether real inertia was setting in; was all of this severely over-cautious in view of future para payments; and more worryingly when would supporters begin to vote with their feet without at least one more credible incoming player, and some decent results.
It’s not the actual sale of Fox that bothers me, he can be replaced; it’s the general trend that’s being set. Half a first-team squad shipped out and three in so far, two of them on loan. This in the second season of parachute money, our last big chance to get back into the PL. But instead of building a team we seem intent on holding a fire-sale of the players we do have. I bought an ST in the expectation of watching a team good enough to challenge for the top six at least, instead I wake up in the morning feeling I’ve been kicked in the stomach. If the fans are demoralised, then what are the rest of the team and the management feeling like? The club has a week or two to restore some credibility or this season could turn into a civil war betweeen the fans and the Board, with the players and manager having to bear the brunt of it on the field. This is no way to run a football club.
In the other corner - including me - just about, I think. There was a smattering of opinion that suggested that yet again it was an offer that was too good to turn down; and applauded the new catch ‘em young and hungry policy, and this was exactly why Howe was brought in, and that he allegedly knew this when he was appointed. Howe, as ever taciturn and inscrutable, kept his thoughts to himself before the Palace game; but only a little while earlier did he not say that he had a team that only needed a few tweaks. One wondered if he would have used the word ‘tweaks’ after Fox went.
Meanwhile what a grand day out we had at Beverley Races starting with bubbly and a Full English in The Victoria Pub in Hornsea. It was Ladies Day. Imagine Ladies Day at Turf Moor (bad enough) and multiply this by 1000 (nightmare). This was a day of low cut dresses, ample bosoms and exposed thighs mostly covered with goosebumps on account of the rain and cold; there were big hats, frilly hats and silly hats, gowns by Oxfam, tottering heels, Pimms at £16 a jug, pink bubbly at £32 a bottle, terraces and steps awash with the stuff so much was spilled. How sweet to see these glamourous grannies and slick chicks in their finery and on their wobbly legs carrying bags of chips and pints of lager. Around us as the day went on more and more of them became quite legless with glazed eyes and slurred speech. Personally I hadn’t seen as many tits since I had a part time job in a milking parlour. It was a day when the men stayed generally sober in order to carry their women home.
Being over there we missed the goal-fest against Burton with Jay Rod’s four goals bonanza, the best scoring performance since 1996. But on TV we saw Bartley’s goof that led to one goal and Grant’s flap that gave them their equaliser. I always thought it was more effective to tip the ball round the post than waft it straight to the opposition. But that’s only a personal view.
To be honest it had been a miserable week.
Dave Thomas Aug 2011
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 August 2011 )|
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