There’s a debate on the finance of football taking place now on BBC News and a bunch of other public broadcast channels (actually, is such repetition a new way for the Beeb to cut costs in light of announced programme cuts?).
The debate’s been quite interesting so far. Not brilliant, but quite interesting. The most pertinent fact has been that 53 English clubs have gone into administration since 1992. That’s unbelievable; administration has simply become a business norm for football clubs.
Now – given the travails of Portsmouth – everyone is saying the debt associated to British football clubs is far too high. Apparently, everyone has now recognised that debt is wrong; it’s a means of cheating your way to success.
But if it wasn’t for Portsmouth, and the wider global financial crisis, would anyone have cared less? Numerous clubs have bought their way to success, unbalancing the balanced playing field of top flight football. When I was kid, I genuinely used to think the Villa had a chance of winning the League every year. Now, such thinking would be just folly – and it’s got nothing to do with the wisdom of age, and everything to do with the level of debt swilling around in football.
So, while I agree football needs to get its house in order and apply good governance (which seems to be the watchword for tonight’s debate), I can’t help thinking it’s far too little far too late.