GLF61:Geoff does his sums and is a worried man.
It's been eight years since John Boyle strolled into Fir Park and they have been very turbulent years.Thanks to some ludicrous spending,way beyond our means as a team, we now live in very restricted financial times.The wages we pay our players mean that any talent we develop can be picked off easily and no club would worry about facing a tribunal against us based on our wage structure.This has happened as a result of being in administration and having to tighten our belt to notches we didn't dare think previously existed. But did it really have to be this way?
When John Boyle came into the club he commented; “ Motherwell Football Club is deeply indebted to John Chapman who inherited a club in trouble and with hard and painstaking management has ensured Motherwell's return to financial viability.Last year (1997) Motherwell made a trading profit of £560,000,has no overdraft and has cash in the bank and I intend to continue to pursue the strict financial disciplines inherited from Mr Chapman.I cannot throw money at the team or treat it like a toy ”.So what went wrong?
Within two months we had splashed out a huge transfer fee on Ged Brannan and brought in John Spencer on big money.We also slipped £90,000 hush money into Harri Kampman's back pocket to allow him to leave the club.The spending continued with money thrown at the team in wages and we as fans rode the tidal wave of hope that something was stirring.Something was indeed stirring, our financial meltdown.Half a million was spent on securing Spencer and others followed but did we achieve relative success to match the outlay?Definitely not.
We all know what followed, as players bought for huge sums left with the depreciation value of a Lada dredged from a lake.
When administration arrived in 2002, John Boyle is reputed to have lost £11million he put into the club and a large chunk of this was written off when we emerged from administration.However grateful we may be that he wrote off this sum, we can only point back to his original statement on taking over the club.Who was responsible for not following Mr Chapman's example and who threw money at the team ? Only one man had the financial clout to do so and no-one asked him to do that, except maybe Pat Nevin.
Now we operate in a world where we budget for finishing in eleventh place in the table and going out of both cups in the first game.If we achieve that then John Boyle will cover the £400,000 deficit this will incur. But what happens when we make it to a Cup Final and also perform well in the league, way above the budgeted eleventh place.How much difference does this make to us as a club?What happens when we allow the Old Firm into the Cooper Stand with vague promises that the money will be given to the team.Don't forget that, no matter how many actually turn up, that money is guaranteed by the Old Firm.We have seen recent seasons of relative success for Motherwell and, while we don't want to go back to the crazy spending we had before, we are still a very small fish in the SPL pool.
What worries me is the problem when we do finish eleventh and depart both cups, never mind finish bottom.How restricted would our budget be for the following season?Does the £400K become a debt to Boyle owed by Motherwell?He wrote off most of the money owed when we emerged from administration, is the remainder liable to us and does it accrue interest?That John Boyle has a passion for Motherwell is not doubted but what kind of financial mess will the next owner,f one should ever come along, inherit.John Boyle is not a fool, he is not just going to give away money and, like any smart businessman, I'm sure he has an even smarter set of accountants behind him who can advise him on the best way of limiting his losses.Can we as a club boast the same?
A worried Geoff Baby
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