“They lived the dream” became an expression synonymous with failure following Leeds United’s demise in 2004.
Sadly lessons haven’t been learnt from the West Yorkshire club’s misfortunes if recent events are anything to go by.
First up Crystal Palace, who after battling all season finally lost the financial war and fell into administration with debts of more than £30 million, becoming another sad statistic in the grim, foggy, world of football finances. Palace have joined the likes of Leicester, Leeds and Southampton – all former Premier League sides who have all called in the administrators.
Desperate to board the Premier League gravy train once again it appears Palace have gambled too much since spending the 2004/05 season in the top flight. They were immediately cast back into the Championship with players stuck on huge wages and the taxman left unpaid.
It is a familiar tale for the Eagles, after being relegated from the Premier League again in 1997/98 the club fell into administration a year later, with bankruptcy coming worryingly close in 2000.
A ten-point deduction has seen their season turn from a play-off chase to a relegation battle but, with a fire-sale of players imminent, simply existing at the end of the season will be an achievement.
But Palace are not alone, in fact I feel certain a number of clubs will join them in administration before the season is up. One team running out of time are Portsmouth. The club plunged to new levels of financial inadequacy last week.
This time they had the indignity of seeing their website shut down due to unpaid bills. To have the official public face of the club taken offline by an unpaid media company is humiliating, but it hardly seems out of place given their season so far. Younes Kaboul, arguably their only remaining saleable asset, was flogged off behind the backs of the manager and chief executive to stave off the administrators.
Even if they do not go into administration, Portsmouth’s Premier League odds suggest it is only a matter of time until they are relegated.
This should be football’s golden era. Never has so much money poured into the facilities for both players and fans. Attendances are up in the Football League while global viewing figures for the Premier League are going through the roof.
But yet Pompey and Palace are going to the wall, with others not far behind. Somebody somewhere needs to rein in clubs’ spending, or stop the greed that has seen players’ wages sky rocket.
Too many have lived the dream over the past ten years, now it’s turning into a nightmare.
In horse racing news, jump racing pundits are already looking towards this year’s Aintree Grand National which takes place in April.