Graham Barnstaple has a look back and forward at club finances.
Over the years I've written numerous articles on Scottish football's future and how it may take a “major” club to hit financial trouble before the game woke up to the dire situation, little did I realise it was going to be MY club!!I always thought that the troubles at Airdrie, Falkirk, Raith, Morton, Clydebank etc would be big enough, and that it would be a club outside the SPL over-spending trying to get back.
I'm not going to spend time dwelling on how we got here, everybody has their own opinions on what Mr Boyle did in his short spell with the club.All I will say is that he at least put his money where is mouth is and did try to challenge the status quo, but sadly couldn’t change in the engrained habits of many in this part of Scotland and entice them from either side of the great divide.
Well what of the future, firstly I am confident that we are still an attractive enough proposition that somebody will want to buy us!My major concern is where will we end up if we are back to being managed in a system where the outgoings do not exceed the incomings.If we look at the clubs I mentioned above they have all seen their standing in the game drop, with Morton now in Div 3, and Falkirk and Raith dropping into Div 2.
The only good news out of this, of course, is that Partick saw themselves drop to Div 2 but have re-structured and re-built and are now back in the top division, and maybe we need to face up to the fact that after almost a generation of SPL football that we could be heading for lower division football for a spell which will allow us to regroup and come back stronger, just as happened at the start of the Tommy McLean days.
I could be painting an all too bleak picture and next season is not going to be as bad as I am anticipating.We could have a struggle in the SPL and finish 11th and stay up and go from strength to strength without having to leave.I know which option I want to see and hope that the new regime that comes in can pull us out of the hole and back to our rightful place in Scottish football (which for me is any position in the top division!).
I also hope that our plight does act as a wake up call to the rest of the team in Scotland that even with a “rich” backer a business has to be run economically eventually.Will we see similar action taken at other major clubs, such as Dundee, Dunfermline etc who are all carrying large debts on income not too far from ours. Maybe the standard of the game needs to drop as we find a sustainable path for all to follow, but at least that way we will still have games to go to.Just think of the alternatives on a Saturday afternoon, it doesn’t bear thinking about.
Sadly if we eventually went to the wall I fear that I would be lost to Scottish Footballforever as I couldn’t see me following another team in Scotland.
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