Date:Thursday October 9 2008
Football is a business run like no other. Large sums of money are spent on players with little or no thought as to whether the money can be recouped through mercendising etc.
Clubs speculate this season in the hope of buying success in the Premier League/European competitions which will service their debts.
Whilst the club is successful that is ok but when things start to go awry then problems occur.
An example is Leeds United who under a previous regieme spent big and for a period of time gained success in European competitions. However after an unsuccessful season the club struggled to service financial debts and Leeds had to sell players and fell faster than a striker in the penalty area.
The odds on favourite to struggle this season is West Ham who have lost their sponsor in XL airways and whose owner has allegedly lost a significant investment with the collapse of Iceland's second biggest bank.
Whilst it appears currently that there are no plans to sell the Hammers, a senior Icelandic financial expert was quoted yesterday as stating that they expected Icelanders with foreign investments to cash them in to stabilise the Icelandic economy.
Add to this the rumoured 30 million pay out to Sheffield United over the Tevez case and it appears that you have a club in turmoil. Already it is being reported that Zola has been told he must sell before he can buy.
So what is the state of play at Wigan?
In some ways we are lucky. We are bankrolled by a local man who made his fortune being a very shrewd business man. Mr Whelan sold his controlling interest in JJB sports so should not be significantly affected by the credit crunch.
What is of concern is that today's Independent newspaper reports that Wigan Athletic's current debts are the 7th highest in the Premier League at 54 million pounds and this raises concerns how long Mr Whelan's love of Wigan Athletic will encourage him to continue bailing us out.
Interestingly attendances at the JJB are up this season with over 2,700 more at the Boro game compared to last season. This is still significantly below a full stadium along with those other blue collar premier league clubs such as Blackburn and Bolton.
Mr Whelan is a very perceptive gentleman and his comments that he would welcome other investors, along with the rumoured links with South Korean industrial giants Hyundai gives optimism for the future.
The next few months should be interesting to say the least.
Date:Thursday October 9 2008
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