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Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Financial Situation

First off, I am no financial expert. I don’t proclaim to have the full knowledge to fully dissect the club accounts. I am not an accountant, nor am I in business. Neither are most Forest fans.

Yet many seem they feel compelled when the club announced the accounts to feel qualified enough to have views and make comments. People clearly with little financial knowledge start piping up about how the club could be better run. As if they think Fawaz is somehow sat in an office armed solely with an abacus and an old fashioned Casio calculator for running the club.

Hell I have even seen people bemoaning the running of the club on Social media within a few days of also saying how they don’t like using pay day loan companies, but are having to do so once again. What makes someone clearly unable to run their own meagre finances to suggest and comment what a multi-millionaire, with successful businesses should do with theirs.

I digress already. The club showed an increase in losses. This mainly relates to earlier losses but this summer illustrates my point, despite off setting many player acquisitions with the sale of Darlow and Lascelles, the club is losing cash, all the while improving the squad. Assombalonga and Antonio, arguably our best two players of the season cost a combined £7million roughly. Where do people think this money comes from? The problem is people think it’s easy to run a club and get it promoted. If it was, then why wouldn’t more people do it?

We aren’t the first club to spend beyond its means, We aren’t the only current club, yet fans are so ready to moan that they behave as if we are the first ever club to run at a loss. The debts we have are owed to the owning family. It’s much the same as with Doughty. The basic factor here is though regimes change, Forest remains the same. But why?
Those unhappy at the debt situation often call Fawaz into question. Probably the same who bemoaned Doughty, and the they also probably blame the government for all their woes, because HAS to be blamed for something in their life being imperfect. If you force Fawaz out, then any debt owed to him becomes instantly repayable. And some fans seem to want to force that by hook or by crook. The assumption, and a very dangerous assumption, is that there’s always someone else there to take on the club and pump in cash. Ambitious fans demand a good side and that costs money. So those who now call into question why we spent money should therefore be happy with mediocrity surely? Without knowing for sure I’m certain they’d be unhappy if we didn’t harbour promotion hopes.

These quality players we have, and they are, cost lot money in wages. We have many fringe players earning a lot who frankly should be got rid of. Fans would then bemoan the loss of squad depth. But it works for other teams. Ipswich for instance spent a pittance. But they have good backing too to pay wages. They funded not through transfer fees but loan players. That said there’s a lot of misinformation about who earns what at Forest. I have a row of spare seats behind me at Forest, so get treated to a variety of random views from whoever sits there and can overhear their muttered ramblings that “he earns £xk a week” The player they cite, and its various players patently don’t earn what they say but this what I allude to, fans have strong views of the clubs finances without knowing any of the facts. But it has under Fawaz seen the wage structure pretty much blown out the water. But how many of our squad would be here if we had a wage structure? Lansbury would be definitely gone. Do we reign in wages at the risk of top players demanding moves? Or keep them happy with bumper deals?

It boils down to do you want a team that’s successful? Or do you want a stable financially sound club? Because if you want the latter sacrifices have to be made.

Additionally those cite a fan ownership scheme. That would be lovely, but in this country success and fan ownership do not mix. Beyond the lower leagues, name me top a club succeeding with such a model. People want success but they want stability. It’s a utopia that pretty much only the Premiership clubs achieve. The Championship is not a division to tread water in. Any season we stop spending, those years are the ones we struggle. I haven’t drawn a graph, but I’m sure if I plotted expenditure versus league position, there would be a very strong correlation. So ergo we have to spend, with limited income, we make losses. We have been lucky for several years to avoid having to make sales and only really suffer natural wastage of contract expiry or players passing their peak. Stability would mean sales. Which would mean a weakened team?

It’s not ideal, but that’s Football. The demand for a CEO was met with Paul Faulkner. He left not long into his tenure. Unable to work with Fawaz? Didn’t settle in the job? Didn’t like the job? Maybe it was even those same fans who now bemoan his departure. We don’t know, but again, those misinformed fans have strong views. A CEO is not a panacea to all the clubs problems. It is more a placebo for many fans, something to stop their mutterings of discontent. Of course I want the club to be well run, but define to me well run at Championship level? And what do they feel is run badly. Which specific issues in these “informed” fans mutterings would they change? Because I never see any offerings other than a vague I’d run it better, or they’d increase revenue. Bravo, genius, no-one else ever thought that. Ever thought perhaps that it’s been tried and failed? Clearly not. If the fickle fans turned up to every game, spent more in the shop etc. then maybe those extra coins would help, but I fail to see how they think a Championship level club can raise its income commercially by £20m per annum magically. One answer would be higher ticket prices and who wants that? Yeah, nobody. What brings in fans? Success. Success usually costs money in buying good players. Good players cost money. It’s a vicious cycle Forest are in. And we’ve been in it since the 90’s.

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