Football, Bloody Hell

Sorry, but this is another note about football.

The football world is in a minor turmoil at the moment with the financial disaster at Scarborough which resulted in the death of the club, the corruption at Boston United who now find themselves relegated 2 divisions and with a squad of 3 players, the farcical Leeds United situation where Ken Bates has somehow managed to buy the club back from himself, again and the Carlos Tevez fiasco.

Scarborough were around for 128 years and reached the 4th round of the FA Cup as recently as 2004 when they were beaten by Chelsea. It’s sad to see any club die but out of the ashes, a new club has been formed; Scarborough Athletic. The new clubs’ motto is “no battle, no victory”. This is slightly ironic as the fans of the previous club, many, if not all, of whom make up the support of the new club, battled to save their old club to no avail. They are due to play in the North East Counties Division One – a long way from the 4th round of the FA Cup I’m sure you’ll agree. The only way is up.

Boston United have been in trouble for a few years now. Steve Evans, the manager of the club for a number of years, and the chairman Pat Malkinson were found guilty of an error regarding the registration of players. They got promoted from the Conference that season and were deducted 4 points for their first ever football league season. It was a sign of things to come. Evans and Malkinson pleaded guilty in late 2006 of “conspiring to cheat the public revenue between 1997 and 2002” and were given suspended jail sentences. On the last day of last season, while the club was in dire financial turmoil (they owed over £100,000 to the Inland Revenue plus others), they elected to go into administration about 10 minutes before the end of their last match of the season hoping that the mandatory 10 point deduction would come into effect immediately. They were going down anyway at the point so it would have made no difference. The Inland Revenue said that they were first in the line to get paid which meant that other football creditors couldn’t be paid. This is a breach of the Football Leagues’ rules who then decided to demote them a further division to the Conference North.

Leeds United are a club in trouble. They still don’t have the appropriate licences to play in League One next year – a far cry from the Champions League Semi-Final they found themselves in in 2001. Ken Bates has had control of the club twice now during which time he offered a derisory 1p in the £ to creditors. A year or so ago, Bates said that the club would be breaking even soon. He was massively wrong. They are playing in the third tier of the Football League for the first time in their history and with them being the only league club in a city of close to 450,000 (making it the 4th biggest city in England) it’s big news. Bates has now been believed to have offered 8p in the £ to creditors but this still pends. Unbelievably, Ken Bates is still trying to sign players for his club when he can’t afford to pay his debts. This is like a tramp buying a car. Unbelievable. Thankfully, I don’t like Leeds United much but I don’t want to see them go out of business.

Carlos Tevez is a mercurial striker whose registration is currently held by West Ham. Notice I say that he’s not a West Ham Player, as such. There is a ‘3rd party’ involved in this one called Kia Joorabchian. He owns the ‘economic rights’ to the player and therefore is due to receive a transfer fee just like a club would when a player moves to another club. However, FA laws state that a club must be the receivers of any transfer fee as 3rd party ownership of players is against the rules. This is dragging on and on and has already involved the ‘gang of four’, Liverpool & Manchester United. So that’s 7 clubs (West Ham, Man Utd, Liverpool, Sheffield United, Charlton, Wigan & Watford) and three football authorities (The FA Premier League, The FA & FIFA – when they wade in as they inevitably will) – oh, and the courts of course. There are pages and page to write about this but the information is out there if you want it. It’s a farce.

All this ends up with me thinking that football is not a game any more. Close season used to be exciting – the anticipation, the friendly games & tournaments, new signings, managerial moves etc etc. Now it’s a time for the baggage of the season to be emptied all over the media. All we want as football fans is for the games to begin again, get the rubbish out of the way and get on with it. Not even the lower & non-leagues are avoiding it this year.

It’s making me sick.

Roll on 11th August.

S.

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