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The Rangers affair is dragging on, and on, and on . . . and on. While I have sympathy for anyone facing redundancy, I’m less patient with people on a million quid a year salaries who stall over a cut to a mere £250,000 when the alternative is the liquidation of the company that employs them and the potential loss of everyone’s job. I have much more time for the 20-year-old who accepted voluntary redundancy without a pay-off. He may be able to go to a new club, in England, and command a signing on fee and a higher salary than he was on at Ibrox, but there is no certainty of that. In any case, he should be applauded for taking his own salary off the payroll in the interests of others.

However I wonder whether all these negotiations aren’t simply cosmetic. The administrators say they have to reduce running costs by £1m a month, but cutting the goalie’s pay by £60k a month isn’t going to get there. To achieve such savings the whole first team squad would have to be on that sort of money and I doubt if any more than half a dozen of them are, plus Ally himself. In any event, the target saving will simply balance the books. It will not address the debt. That will require 75% of the creditors to agree to write off the bulk of what they are owed. How realistic is that solution, and how can the administrators expect to receive serious offers for the purchase of a slimmed down club, when they do not know what its indebtedness is? That will not become clear until the upper-tier tribunal rules on HMRC’s claim for tax owed because of the alleged misuse of Employee Benefit Trusts. We are told that its decision will be forthcoming within a month, but that timescale has marched forward steadily for the best part of a year now. It would be nice to blame it all on the Taxman, but it’s public money he’s protecting, so that would be neither realistic nor fair. HMRC doesn’t run the tribunals itself; they are the province of teh Department of Justice, and that’s mills of God stuff.

I have a feeling that we are moving towards a situation where liquidation and the creation of a phoenix club will be the only possible solution. Even now it may be the only desirable solution. If that is the case, I anticipate that soon the administrators will recognise it, take a deep breath and step into the unknown.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Paul Wiggins
    March 7, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I’m not so sure I agree with the first part of this. Isn’t wage relative? As a human being it is almost instict to primarily look after oneself. I imagine that if an individual was earning 50% – 75% less than every one else in his profession and the individual knew that they were able to obtain these earnings elsewhere, they would feel that they had a pretty raw deal.

    Furthermore people tend to live towards there means and plan for the future accordingly. If my hobby is collecting sports cars or flying my jet, or collecting yachts (or even just buying luxury houses for each member of my family) and this is the life-style I am used too (and i feel i’ve earnt it), I would be unlikely to sign the lifestyle I have grown accustomed too away if I knew I could get that money elsewhere.

    I think the only reason anyone would have agreed to that is a real love for the club and that kind of love is rare in football nowadays, hence we have very few 1 club players.

    And I don’t think Gregg Wylde deserves the credit comming his way either, He’s a wealthy young proffessional with a promising future in the game. These are the types of players that will often ask for a transfer to a bigger club. Although Rangers are not what they once were in terms of the first team, you don’t play for Rangers at the age of 20 unless there is something very good about you. He also would have been one of the most sellable assetts.
    Perhaps I’m cynicle, but I imagine that it would have been advised to him via his own people that this could be a good career move for him. He may allready have something inthe pipeline or be talking to other clubs, in which case you could argue the exact opposite, that he has used the financial plight to further his career (which i also think would be a tad unfair).

    • March 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Respect your views, Paul, but there’s an old saying that 25% of something is better that 100% of **** all. As for the jet-set, they do not swell the ranks of Rangers Football Club. Other than the goalie, Davis, and Naismith, (who is out for the season with a cruciate injury) the Rangers high earners are all looking back on their careers, not forward, and should be taking what they can get, as they ain’t going anywhere else for any sort of money. For example, I do not expect to see Carlos Bocanegre back at Fulham when he gets paid off. As for Greg Wylde, you are indeed cynical. Unless he can prove genuine redundancy, and having walked without a package that may be difficult, he will be out of a job until August. When he comes back on the market, while he’s a decent player, he’s going to be competing for available slots in a buyer’s market. As for his sellability, Bolton offered £400,000 for him last year. That was rejected and they didn’t go back.

      If there is a silver lining in this, it may be that agents will be forced to be realistic in the deals they seek to negotiate, and ask themselves whether the employer can actually afford the money it is throwing around. the guy who’s emerging in the right among all this may be Michel Platini, advocate of the financial fair play rules.

  2. Paul Wiggins
    March 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I don’t personally think Ranger’s potential demise will effect agents when seeking deals. Whilst the majority of football agents are known to be mercenary and often detrimental to the game, it is surely the sole responsibility of the club not to be extending itself further than it can. If an agent demands too much for his client, surely the club should let that individual slip the net? And, realistically how on earth can an agent make a judgement on whether a football club has the money to afford what is being asked? I would be suprised if they are privy to that kind of information or in any position to make a judgement.

    Don’t get me wrong, I dislike the influence of agents within the game and I think its disgusting that clubs are often ‘forced’ to pay agent fees (in so far as to remain competitive)and have a lot of respect for the clubs that flat out refuse to pay them.

    I certainly do agree with the point you made regarding the plight of clubs like Rangers and Portsmouth further illustrating the need for these much spoke of financial fair play rules.

    Returning back to the original point, Whilst I accept that some of Rangers players are nearing the twilight of there career’s there are still some reputable names there and to say that they should take a 75% wage cut as its better than nothing is to suggest that Rangers is the only club that would pay them what they are receiving. There are Soooooooooooo many football clubs that Rangers do not hold this unique position. There are other unglorious leagues with the odd large club within that are the main attraction of there leagues similar to the situation Rangers have been in. I apologise in advance if that is an unfair typical Englash view of the SPL.

    Carlos Bocanegra is a good example. He’s 32. He may well be able to play at a similar level untill he is 34. I would guesstimate that he is on around about 10k a week. Nut he’s a relatively new signing for Rangers and I doubt if Rangers hadn’t of existed and he’d of gone elsewhere he’s be on 3k a week. He’d of negotiated a similar deal elsewhere. I believe he captains the USA side. That’s an attractive prospect for many clubs that cannot afford the top players.

    Sticking with the Fulham alumni, Ipswich town signed a 32 year old Jimmy Bullard on a free and he is on a reported 17k a week. Ipswich have around six or seven players on or above 10k. If Bocanegra left on a free and walked into Ipswich on 8K a week he’d fit in nicely with the wage bill. Hell, if Leicester City decided they wanted him he could probably wangle a pay rise as there wage bill is frankly ridiculous for a Championship side. It may seem a random example but I had some reported Ipswich wage figures to hand!

    Sure Bocanegra may not be able to return to Fulham, but I don’t think that evidences that he has declined as a player, it probably illustrates that we have progressed a little bit, established ourselves. But would he be out of place at Wigan? or Norwich? I don’t see any reason why a club like that wouldn’t be interested, although most likely he’d go abroad.

    Its an interesting point you make regarding Gregg Wylde, it hadn’t occoured to me that he may not count as a free agent as one without a club usually would. I saw he was linked with Aston Villa this morning and Owen Coyle of Bolton has been saying he’s not sure if he’d be able to sign him or not either. I guess thats one that we shall have to wait on, I may have been overly cynical.

    I’d add another to your list of high earners that are not past there peak in Steven Whittaker, a relatively highly rated player in his prime.

    Oh I do love a good football debate! The chap I sit next too at work is a Rangers fan so its a constant check to fill each other in on the latest news.

  3. March 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Yes, Paul, that is a typical English view of the SPL. It is also accurate. However with the football structure in your nation so skewed that seven clubs in the Second Division (Championship, my arse) are said to be currently paying more than 100% of their turnover in wages, it is one you should watch and tremble over rather than look down upon. All the salary stats you quote bear that out.

    The fact is, there are two clubs in England who could come to dominate the others over the next ten years in the way the Old Firm do in Scotland, simply because they have an unlimited supply of money. I’m talking about City and Chelski, and even the latter are dependent on the whim of the most capricious man ever to sip champagne in a corporate box. As for the other ‘top clubs’, Man U’s debt is huge and contentious (although it was not incurred through footballing operations, but by a ridiculous loophole in UK corporate law which allows speculators to buy public companies then mortgage them to cover their acquisition costs), LIverpool were in a similar state until they were ‘rescued’ by FSG, and Newcastle is only trading because of interest-free loans totalling £140m from by the much maligned Mike Ashley. Given the abuse he takes, I’m sure the poor bugger would love to sell out and head back south, but he’s strapped in by his own generosity. As for your own club, without the intervention of Al Fayed fifteen years ago, they would probably be just another London team, alongside the Barnets and the Brentfords. I’m not being unkind here; that’s the way it was.

    There is no football debate, nothing to argue about. The game is a financial lunatic; in no other industry will you find such a proportion of the turnover going out the door in wages. There is an old saying that sensible businessmen leave their brains in the car park when they become involved with football, and it is true of the majority. Those who do try to run their companies on a semi-sensible basis, like Ashley or Daniel Levy or the current Arsenal board, are derided as spivs or misers. In Scotland, people laughed for years at Celtic’s perceived parsimony; not any more.

    Apart from the cash that the Qataris are allowed to throw at City, and Abramovich at Chelsea, because there is no European law that can stop them, the bulk of money that floods into the English game comes from the sale of global TV rights on the basis that it is ‘the best league in the world’. The trouble is, it’s not, it never was, and sooner rather than later that will come home to roost, and that income will decline. For all the crazy money that’s thrown at footballers today, the best are in Spain, italy, Germany and Holland.

  4. Paul Wiggins
    March 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    No offence taken, I’m the first to accept that Fulham would most likely be in League 1 (Third division, as you’d have it) were it not for Al-Fayed’s investment. He bankrolled them up the leagues. What has been interesting, in that respect is how he and the club, has changed tact over the past nine years.

    When Fulham first got promoted into the Premiership they paid top wages to certain individuals to aquire the best they could (Van Der Sar, Steve Marlet *judder*, and the such like). I think also the fee for Marlet was around 11.5 mill and Van Der Sar 7 Mill. The pair of them were supposed to be on around 40k a week. I think also the fee for Marlet was around 11.5 mill and Van Der Sar 7 Mill. They were signed in our first season and it seemed that the bankrolling would continue.

    After Tigana was given the sack and they gave the managers job to Chris Coleman, there was talk of achieving something nearer to self sufficiency. The wage structure actually reduced significantly and we cut back. Money was instead invested into first the redevelopment of the stadium and then gradual increases, year on year, of around an extra 1,000 seats. Coleman never, to my memory spent big on a transfer, but was often forced to sell.

    Theres no denying that the fan base has grown significantly over the past ten years. When we were first in the Premier league we didn’t always sell out all the games, but now, with a larger stadium the home section is pretty much always sold out. And its only now that we are again looking to attract players matching the wages of what we had in our first premiership season a decade ago, but this time it seems more in line with the clubs growth. Last financial year a record proftit was recorded for the club (i suspect also it’s only year of profit since the Premier league days, buoyed a bit by the sale of Chris Smalling to Man Utd).

    I disagree that the Premiership has never been the best league in the world, strongly. Over the last 7 seasons an English club has made the Champions league final seven times! There was one year where an english team did not contest, but one year where it was an all english affiar (United V Chelsea). It’s also featured four different english teams in these seven years, which hints at league strength too. There was one season (most likely the one with the United Chelsa final) where three english teams reached the Semi Final too…

    I accept that this season has highlighted a real shift, which I beleive to be caused by the fact that the top clubs are not as good as they used to be. And I agree it could be a problem that hits home sooner rather than later. Watching the Athletic Bilbao game last night it was strikingly obvious that that particular league appears to have overtaken the Premier League. For me, United didn’t have an off day they just couldn’t cope with what they were up against. In seven years time I doubt I will be able to roll off a similarly impressive stat regarding English Clubs in Europe.

    The Italians I think suffered with the match fixing claims and relegation of major clubs a few years back. Personally I don’t believe that league to be any stronger than the Premier League, but I appreciate theres a case to be had.

    I enjoy the Bundesliga and I have a soft spot for some of there clubs (mostly Hamburg) but they are not on the same level. On Fulhams road to the Europa League final, the ease that they surpassed Wolfsberg, who had won the Bundesliga the previous season, illustrated that. (They also went on to beat Hamburg). A German team has appeared once in the last 7 years in the champions league final. Bayern Munich can beat anyone on there day but the actual league doesn’t boast the same kind of strength.

    I would consider all of the above Major leagues, in so far as if a player plays for a big club in these leagues he may not have the burning desire to move somewhere bigger as he could consider himself to be ‘amongst the top’. However, I think any of the top teams in the above leagues could poach any top player from the Eredivisie, and usually the players head would turn! I can’t see why they are included in your list or really how they are any different to say, the french league or the portugese league. All very decent leagues, that sit just below the top tier.

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