“We lived the dream”
Is what former Leeds United chairman Peter Ridsdale now rather infamously stated as his Elland Road empire crumbled around him. We’ve all heard the stories of the expensive pet fish in the office and Seth Johnson’s ridiculous wages but the long and short of it was that Leeds borrowed too much money and built up too high a wage bill, with no guarantee of funds to service the debt let alone pay it off.
Their dramatic decline should have been seen as a lesson to other clubs thinking of putting that next big transfer on the plastic. In this time of austerity, sensible fiscal management is the order of the day.
Adam Pearson seems like the sort of chairman who would follow such a policy – he has his head screwed on. He left Hull two years ago with no debt, a million in the bank, and a new shiny stadium. He has returned this week to find all his good work undone through two years of financial anarchy.
The club, third bottom in the Premier League table, has only won three games all calendar year, has a bulging wage bill ripping at the seams and the debt of a small country. Pearson has backed ‘beleaguered’ boss Phil brown (they are always ‘beleaguered’ when the team is doing crap aren’t they? Just ask Rafa) and pledged to cut the wage bill. But his fire fighting has come too late; the house has all but burnt down.
Sadly the lessons of Leeds United seem to have been ignored in a dramatic way and echo the fortunes of another Yorkshire club -Bradford City. Buoyed by a last day survival in 1999/2000 the chairman went a bit mental and signed the likes of Benito Carbone, Dan Petrescu and Stan Collymore on massive wages. What happened? Surprise, surprise the club couldn’t sustain it and were promptly relegated, plunged into administration and now currently reside in League Two.
For Carbone, Petrescu and Collymore read Giovanni, George Boateng and Jimmy Bullard, aging stars who will be unwilling to take a pay cut and are hardly going to have clubs queuing round the KC Stadium to take them of their hands.
Hull look doomed in my opinion and their football betting odds back this up; and while their flying start to last season was refreshing, the fact that it was all on borrowed money and based on an unsustainable business model makes me wonder whether it was all worth it.
If relegation and administration soon follow, I think the supporters will start thinking that too.
Check out Betfairs new Front Room for plenty more football banter.