One of the categories I use on here is called “Up in the Boardroom” – it’s meaning is self explanatory in that I use it to cover primarily off field matters which tend to centre on the club’s finances. Since this blog started in August 2009, I have posted fifty two pieces before this one in that category and the fact that forty six of them were posted before the season started back in August says an awful lot about how much quieter things have been off the field this time around compared to 09/10. Now, I have to say that, having become heartily sick and tired of writing about unpaid wages and tax bills and egocentric Chairmen, I had resolved to write less on the off field happenings at the club this season, but, thinking about it, I can only remeber about two or three matters that I would have posted on using last year’s critieria but didn’t this time around.
However, the filling of the club’s accounts for the year ending 31 May 2010 is something worth commenting on – people expecting or wanting a knowledgeable and in depth analysis of them need to look elsewhere mind! The first thing to say is that they were filed at Companies House three months earlier than they were last year – something which, to this financial ignoramus at least, seems to be a good thing that signals a far less turbulent situation than a year ago. As to how good or bad they are, well, depending on which ones you look at (the days of one limited company – and, therefore, one set of accounts – which cover everything a football club gets up to appear to be long gone I’m afraid), we either made or lost around £900,000 over the period.
Whichever figure you choose to use though, that is a lot less than has become the norm over the past decade or so, but this can be explained away by the fact that £7.2 million was received from the proceeds of the sale of Ninian Park. Turnover was up by over £4 million (mostly as a consequence of higher season ticket sales for the new ground and increased television income) to around £15 million, but much of this was eaten up by wages and “staff costs” which rose by about £3.5 million and it seems to me that, in terms of wages paid, we are getting to the stage where promotion should be expected given what most of our rivals are paying.
The possibility of a 09/10 type financial calamity is raised this morning I suppose in this story from thes Guardian. Again, better qualified people than me will be needed to say precisely what is going on here – to me there are mixed messages, on the one hand, it seems we haven’t broken any rules, but, on the other, why the need for the “negative pledge” if it’s all as innocent as Alan Whiteley makes out?
While on the subject of finances, I should also record that, despite the passing of a deadline which, I think, means the latest agreement between the two parties is null and void, “amicable” discussions between the club and Langston/Hammam are continuing regarding the loan note debt as our former owner issues bizarre rallying cries regarding our promotion bid.
One last thing on the financial side – I have a copy of the latest accounts and would be happy to send them, in Adobe format, to anyone who wants to read them.
There are a few on field matters to record as well. Firstly, Chris Kirkland’s loan move is off, reportedly, because he is suffering from a virus. While this news will hardly come as a great shock to anyone aware of the player’s “sicknote” reputation, it does mean that, all of a sudden, City find themselves in a very awkward position regarding goalkeepers. With David Marshall out for the season after an operation on his elbow and Tom Heaton carrying a groin injury, we really do need someone in quick.
Despite the comments last week from Arsene Wenger about Aaron Ramsey being recalled by Arsenal at the end of his one month’s loan, Dave Jones has sounded fairly bullish about keeping him a little while longer with a twenty four hour recall clause for the London team. Our manager reasons that Rambo is not ready for Premiership football yet and so thinks that he would be better off playing regular games with us for now – he has also hinted that the player would prefer playing first team football for us to occasional matches with his contracted club (Ramsey is only eligible for two of the four games Arsenal have scheduled for this month). Anyway, there are rumours now that Dave Jones might be right about what Rambo would prefer to be doing over the next few games and that a final decision from Arsenal will be made in the next day or two – I’m not getting my hopes up just yet, but it looks like there is a small chance that Aaron might not have played his last game for us.
Finally, our reserves played one of their rare games yesterday at the Vale (they played Swindon). As to how they got on, well it all depends on who you believe. The Echo’s Terry Phillips is saying that it finished 0-0, while the official site’s video coverage of the game has them losing 1-0 with pictures of both the winning goal and the celebration which followed it – I think I know which version I believe!