Bolton Wanderers: Wail Street
Sorry. I know this is not a time for comedy. I know that, on Monday, the clubs figures for the past year were released. And the figures were more Bella Emberg than Helen Flanagan. Although the thinking behind them is more Helen Flanagan than Bella Emberg.
The club is now £136.5million in debt and that debt has risen by another £22.1million over the past year. You can dress that up all you want. It is still a massive debt.
Now, due to some financial whizzkiddery by Gekko Gartside and Eddie Bud Fox Davies, it isn't the kind of debt that is going to sink the club anytime soon. However, it is the kind of debt that would put off any investor be they Russian, Arabian or Euro Lottery winner. So you can forget any of that for the forseeable future.
Now, I'm no accountant (I leave all that to my sister, the accountant), but I know that if I was £1000 in debt on January 1st this year and when I got to December 31st found myself £1193 in debt (the comparitive rate), then I would know that I was doing something wrong. If I had overseen a rise in debt so large by percentage that by comparison it makes the US debt increase under the present incumbent look like they have lost some loose change down the sofa, I'd be having a good old look at myself.
Instead, Gekko Gartside gives himself a big pat on the back for managing to reduce the debt by £4million, a figure that will surely be cut next year due to the compensation going to Coyle, Stewart, Davis and Crystal Palace. And then probably increased due to the fall off in attendances (not as stark as some mind) and the decrease in television revenue. On the basis of GG's thinking, if we continue to cut debts by £4million a year, then it will take a further five years and we will be £187million in debt.
Remember folks, it's not to the banks.
That is something to be grateful for and if Eddie Davies did ever want to call in the debt then the club would have between two to ten years to pay it back.
However. And here is a cautionary tale. When I was younger and a damn more naive than I am now, I had a conversation with a friend of my mothers. He is a Stretford fan and the conversation happened the Christmas after Blackburn won their one and only Premier League title. Look, he said, it's all very well now, but one day Jack Walker isn't going to be around. And then what happens? He was a boyhood Blackburn fan. It doesn't mean that his family are. They may just stop investing in the club, leaving them high and dry.
Now, I put this down to sour grapes due to Blackburn winning the league. But, nearly twenty years later, and seeing what has happened to Blackburn, it makes more sense. One day, Eddie Davies isn't going to be here. The debt will be, unless he benevolently removes it in his will or even beforehand. But he won't, because it isn't owed to Eddie Davies. It's owed to his investment company, of which he isn't the sole shareholder. So, the debt will be there. One day, as far as my financial acumen tells me, it WILL have to be paid. Even if we promise him a statue outside the ground.
So, don't go doing cartwheels down the beach, just yet.
Let's talk Twitter. Or, to be precise, let's let SKD talk about Twitter.
'If it was me, I`d advise not to go on it. I enjoyed my time on it because it gave me the opportunity to have conversations with fans and contacts for the charity, which was fantastic. But when it gets to the point that you are getting abuse, it can play on your mind and affect you. If you are not sleeping at night wondering what you are waking up to, I don`t think you are getting anything out of being on there.'
These comments come in light of Marvin Sordell reporting racial abuse last week on top of that he already received at Millwall. As the former BEN article states, there are a lot of Bolton players on Twitter. In addition to Sordell there are Benik Afobe, Joe Riley, Rob Lainton, Sam Ricketts, Gregg Wylde and Marcos Alonso just amongst the first team squad. Reserve and youth players are also on it. And, without wanting to tar anyone with the same brush, footballers are not the most well educated bunch. There are those who will fawn at them because of the job they have, but we can all remember Tope Obadeyi's nightly sojourns to Nandos and the, possible, direct correlation to his career going nowhere fast. I'm sorry, but some just don't appear to have the capacity to think before they tweet (Rio and Cashley spring to mind), whilst others don't appear to have the capacity to say anything interesting.
Twitter does bring out the worst in people and there are times that I look at Bolton fans having conversations on the site and thinking 'Whoa!'. Football conversation used to be face to face, either in the stands or over a pint. Now it is faceless, anonymous. It can be abusive, as I've found myself. And if the small abuse that I received is anything to go by, then I can only imagine how footballers feel when it is magnified.
As SKD says, if it makes you lie awake at night wondering what you are going to wake up to (or actually not wake up to if you are already awake), then that is no good for the player, both physically and mentally. And it therefore has a knock on effect to the team. Emma Davies has said that SKD doesn't have a thick skin but it would have taken someone with a rhino hind to not be affected by the tweets that they both received after the semi final defeat. And if Sordell is receiving the same, or worse, then it is about time that the club look long and hard about allowing players twitter accounts. And it is to Dougie's credit that he is, apparently, looking at this.
Fantasy Football now. It's a two way battle at the top with Alakerran~Flinttaus~ and Roderick's X1 now seperated by just eight points. I'll Get Back To You rise to third and is our team of the week. So, like a double celebration. So, double congratulations. Still no prize though.
Right, I'll see if I can dig up Al from where I left him and he will hopefully be here tomorrow.
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