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Lindsay pulling Preston back from the brink

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Paul Fletcher | 09:19 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010

Preston North End will be delisted from the Alternative Investment Market at the end of September after 15 years and re-register as a private company, in the process completing Trevor Hemmings's takeover of the Championship club.

Hemmings, 75, was raised in the small town of Leyland just down the road from Preston and has been so successful in his many business ventures that he regularly features towards the higher end of the Sunday Times Rich List (although he suffered during the downturn in property prices).

He owns a huge number of pubs, industrial property, hotels, racecourses, horses (including 2005 Grand National winner Hedgehunter), Littlewoods Pools and, until recently, Blackpool Tower.

There have been rumours around Preston for years that the media-shy Hemmings, supposedly a life-long fan of the club and a director at Deepdale in the 1970s, would do for North End what Jack Walker did at nearby Blackburn.

However, any suggestion North End are about to be transformed by a significant cash injection are quickly and emphatically dispelled by new chairman Maurice Lindsay.

Maurice Lindsay has brought a sense of austerity to Deepdale.

Maurice Lindsay has brought a sense of austerity to Deepdale

Best known as the man who transformed the fortunes of Wigan rugby league club during the 1980s, Lindsay took over at Deepdale towards the end of June and soon discovered there was not a room for him at the club.

In a gesture designed to set the tone for his period at the helm, Lindsay sliced the boardroom in half to create space, bought a desk off an internet auction site eBay and persuaded the Rugby Football League to give him the chair he used during his time as its chief executive.

Lindsay, a former bookmaker, had been asked to take over at Preston by Hemmings. The two men have known each other for years and are united by their love of horse racing. Hemmings made what Lindsay describes as an SOS call one Sunday night several months ago. Since then, Lindsay has been trusted to run "the whole shooting match".

"Trevor was lending the club money but it had become too regular," Lindsay told me. "It was becoming a black hole.

"Preston had faced a winding-up order in May over an unpaid tax bill and he did not want to see such a famous club disappear. I suppose it was slightly reluctantly that he became involved, although I do not think he would admit to that."

Lindsay estimates that Hemmings has now ploughed in the region of £13m into the club to cover monthly shortfalls and it strikes me as obvious that a desire to protect his investment also motivated the new owner's desire to increase his involvement.

However, without Hemmings it could be argued Preston would no longer exist. The picture Lindsay paints of what he discovered when he arrived at Deepdale suggests a depressingly familiar story of a bloated club living way beyond its means.

There is a tone of incredulity as the chairman talks about 19 leased cars, far too many company credit cards and free tickets given away like confetti, as well as a wage bill in the region of £10m (it is now down to £8m, although £6.5m is the ultimate target).

"The club had been run like a five-star operation but it was running close to insolvency," added Lindsay.

Lindsay, just like Conservative leader David Cameron has done since he became Prime Minister, has introduced a series of austerity measures in an attempt to regain a measure of control at Deepdale.

The new chairman has introduced a three-year plan to stabilise the club and sat down with manager Darren Ferguson at an early stage to outline his strategy.

"We pushed the boat out in the summer and signed three players for Darren, but we had to make some sensible cost-cutting arrangements," said Lindsay.

"We had to change the culture. We had to move away from the belief that the club would just carry on and someone would eventually pick up the bill."

An immediate priority was off-loading some of the club's top earners, prompting the departure of Neil Mellor and Darren Carter. Others, such as Richard Chaplow, remain after failing to attract any interest.

Lindsay and Ferguson have pressed their contacts to try to strengthen the playing squad, with promising young striker Josh King and England Under-20 midfielder Matt James both arriving on loan from Manchester United, who are managed by Darren's father Sir Alex.

Negotiations are continuing with several players the club did not manage to sign before the transfer window closed, while Lindsay has written to the chairman of all the Premier League clubs asking if they have any players that did not make their 25-man squad available to loan.

Lindsay is frank enough to admit that this season's squad is a few players light of being able to challenge at the top end of the table, while he also talks passionately about the need to improve the match day experience at the club.

Deepdale - the home of Preston North End.

The redevelopment of Deepdale is finished but season ticket sales are on the slide

Season ticket sales have dwindled, slipping from 9,700 to 6,100. Prices started at £399 for adults for the current season (although some were initially available for slightly less if fans renewed by the end of May) , while the decision prior to Lindsay's arrival to introduce category ratings does not meet with his approval. All home games at Deepdale are now classed as category A, B or C, with a different price for each. It cost £30 to watch the recent category A game against Portsmouth and the attendance for the fixture slipped below 10,000.

"Disappointed fans have questioned their commitment and I cannot blame them because the pricing structure has been completely wrong," said Lindsay, who in an attempt to bring fans back to Deepdale has introduced a Super Saver policy for the home match against Norwich on 18 September, with tickets priced at £5 for adults and £1 for children.

The chairman turns 70 next year but there is no doubting his indefatigable energy and enthusiasm. He rises every day at 0530 BST and has not had time for a holiday this year. He estimates that he works 60 hours a week for Preston, in addition to spending time managing his other business interests.

Previous employees of Lindsay have complained that his failure to delegate even the smallest of tasks can be infuriating, while he can clearly be slightly abrasive, as a rather terse interview on BBC Radio Lancashire showed. A somewhat taciturn Lindsay called presenter Gary Hickson a bully as the two men discussed ticket prices.

Perhaps Lindsay's prickliness indicates his desire to succeed and a refusal to compromise.

"I am driven to refuse to accept defeat even if it is me against a thousand," he said. "I am usually one of the first in and last to leave and the work ethic at Preston has now changed - if Maurice is in, they are all in."

This Saturday, Preston travel to local rivals Burnley for a match that will be broadcast live on BBC Two at 1700 BST.

The Clarets spent last season in the Premier League, while Blackpool, Preston's other major rivals, are in the top flight this season.

Preston travel to Turf Moor lying 21st in the table and the success of both Burnley and the Tangerines does nothing to lighten the mood of North End supporters.

Lindsay, however, believes that the club should seek inspiration from the success of those around them.

"Burnley have never had sugar daddies, just committed and hard-working people such as chairman Barry Kilby and chief executive Paul Fletcher," he said.

While Burnley are set on regaining their Premier League status at the end of this season, Lindsay knows it will take time for North End to achieve that status.

But there is no question that he is incredibly determined to make it happen.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Another good blog Paul - nothing in there that us PNE fans didn't already know but an interesting read. One point I would raise is that of 'season tickets start at 399'. I paid 350 for mine and it's a great seat, so that is factually incorrect. Under 8s are free so that 350 pounds is in effect for two people, the old regime had gone beyond a joke, but let's not mask the facts for the sake of a good story. Thanks Paul - I always enjoy your blogs.

  • Comment number 2.

    Mooney - thanks for the comment. I've slightly tweaked the paragraph that discusses season tickets to factor in the early-bird offer that the club had. I must admit I did not think that any had been available as low as £350 - I thought that £365 was the lowest.

    I seem to recall that there was also alot of bad feeling because the 31 May early renewal deadline was not very well publicised. If you had not renewed by that date then I think I am correct in saying that £399 would have been the cheapest option.

    Anyhow, glad to hear that you got one for £350 - perhaps next season the club will charge £250 and experience a remarkable upsurge in sales.

  • Comment number 3.

    Why would they charge 250? Thats about 10 quid a game, and im sorry but you should be paying more than that to watch Championship football! You'd need to sell at least 25% more tickets to make a profit, which they probably couldn't do.

    I think 350 quid for a good seat is very acceptable. Anybody not willing to pay that is a tight arse in my opinion.

    Seats at leeds last year in Div 1 were about 450 behind a goal and 600 on the side, and still 20,000+ turned up week in, week out and you didnt hear too many grumbling.

    How can fans pay so little yet expect success when their club is losing money!?!? Beggars belief.

  • Comment number 4.

    Does the phrase "sinking ship" spring to mind?

    There's only one place Preston are going at the end of this season - League 1.

  • Comment number 5.

    Are PNE fans sulking because the owner wont spend more money or is it simply the reality of tough times? I dont think PNE fans have anything to complain about really they have seen their club rescued from big financial problems and they have seen their side maintain their staus in the 2nd tier of English football for 10 years now. That in itself is a huge achievement given where they were in the 20 years prior to that.

    There are far worse positions to be in. Get back to your club and enjoy where you are PNE fans.

  • Comment number 6.

    Re: pricing.

    I have to disagree with Phil - Leeds are a case apart because of a large loyal (and clearly rich, or stupid) support and there are no similarly sized teams in the area. League One and Championship football is an utter rip-off most of the time. I didn't attend a single game at Elland Road in four years in Leeds because I could get in to see Celtic play Barcelona for the same price as Leeds v. Huddersfield.

    SPL games are usually far more sensibly priced, and of comparable quality to League One and Championship matches. There are a few exceptions, of course, Huddersfield, oddly enough, among them.

    Of course, we're all being taken for a ride - look at the Bundesliga!

  • Comment number 7.

    I think it would be much better if Preston just folded, far too many clubs in the north west !

    Some are even in the premier league

  • Comment number 8.

    £30 for Preston v Pompey?!?!?! I can get a seat at OT for £26!! No wonder the Preston fans are staying away. I really feel for them. Good blog, interesting story, and good to see some sensible hard-working chairman around in the day of sugar daddies.

  • Comment number 9.

    north end have consistently tried to buy their way into the premier league for many years now and have failed every time. as with all financial bubbles there is only one thing that is going to happen....they burst and now preston are paying the consequences. even harder to take is that their bitter rivals on the coast have reached the promised land with a properly run football club with no players with big egos on stupid wages and a board who have run the club on a sensible financial footing. im afraid north end are heading into division one faster than the tide is going out at blackpool.

  • Comment number 10.

    Fair article...not much knew to PNE supporters.

    What it does not say is that the club was substantially solvent until TH bought 12% in 2002.

    Whilst he was increasing his shareholding to become the largest shareholder and the club became totlly reliant on him funding the cash flow though regular loans, he was also charging the club LIBOR plus 3%.

    He could have stopped the club getting into such a mess at any time. Once largest creditor he was able to dictate terms in the event of any administration...declining to pay HMRC bill resulted in share dealings being suspended and price dropping from £1 to £0. In circs shareholders had no option but to accept 5p.

    Hence TH has acquired club for £167,000.....plus his £13m of loans.In the meantime:
    - as far as aware he must be taking £100,000s out in interest payments
    - all those fans who bought into the vision of a community club, and had right to attend shareholders meetings and question the club, have lost out

    I didn't realise the disillusion was such that we've lost nearly 40% of season ticket holders


    Its a matter of debate as to whether or not TH is a saviour....certainly credit is due for keeping the company going but the extent to which he contributed to the problem is open to question, as is the current running of the club. Effectively we are being run as if we are in administration with the weakest squad we have ever had in Champ. If we go down, still saddled with £30m debt then the whole takeover will have been a disaster and we would have been better off going into admin.

    This was never likely to happen, as the article rightly acknowledges the name of the game is protecting TH's money.

  • Comment number 11.

    Thanks Ted (4) Didn't think you would be able to resist a little dig. You must spend more time reading Preston articles then any others

  • Comment number 12.

    Good blog Paul.

    I have to agree £30 to watch Preston vs Pompy sounds crazy. However all the tickets can't be priced at £5, otherwise there'd be no incentive to buy the season ticket!

    Good to see a sensible chairman actively trying to make the club live within its means, far too many clubs don't do this - PNE previously being one.

  • Comment number 13.

    Now then - I thought it was interesting that Maurice Lindsay had written to all of the Premier League clubs asking if they had any players the club could loan.

    I'm not sure whether that strikes me as a good old-fashioned common sense idea or a measure of desperation.

    As for North End's prospects of avoiding the drop, I think that it could be a long season at Deepdale but relegation would undoubtedly be a disaster to Lindsay's three-year plan.

    No club has been in the Championship for longer than PNE and fans have arguably been spoilt as the club has regularly punched above its weight. Not any longer - and that is definitely reflected in attendances.

    As for Phil (comment 3) suggesting that £250 would be too low a price for season tickets because it would require at least a 25% hike to work. I think there would be at least a 25% increase - and then you would have all the match-day extras that the new season ticket holders would spend their cash on - programmes, food, drinks etc

    North End need to do something to get people back through the gates. I think Lindsay knows that and I think he also understands that, this season at least, it is not going to come via exciting exploits on the pitch.

  • Comment number 14.

    Great reporting as usual Paul. I tend to be a bit cynical when it comes to takeovers nowadays and no longer buy into the 'Sugar Daddy' arguement - too many fans have been taken in by that one; but am I wrong in thinking that Maurice Lindsay was one of the chief architects of The Rugby Super League?

    Is it at all concievable that Trevor Hemmings being acutely aware of this from his long friendship with Lindsay - has taken Preston on and appointed him looking towards a possible future Premier League 2 appearing ominously on the horizon (Auld Firm included)?

    Will we soon be witnessing a mad scramble for historic clubs bonded by locale and financial difficulties hurrying to merge loyal fan bases like those in the RSL to form this new breakaway division? Scary thought but it could make 100% sense for some don't you agree?...or do you think Hemming's motives are purely altruistic due to his love for Preston and they are happy to continue fighting for the scraps - which is equally plausable I guess?

  • Comment number 15.

    It is great to see new (incoming) Owners looking at Football with their 'Business Heads' on.

    That may not be what the PNE Fans want to hear right now, but it's what needs to be done.

    The appointment of ML will almost certainly bring about the changes needed, with common sense, hard work and a tight hold on the purse.

    Will that inspire lapsed Fans to return to Deepdale?

    Probably not, however ;

    With Darren 'Only the present matters' Ferguson never going to last even this season under such circumstances....

    A quick trip the bookies, and a relatively small wager on his deprture could make for a cheaper Season Ticket next time around.

    Which helps!

  • Comment number 16.

    Did Lindsay really introduce the "super special" category for Norwich? I'm sure it was announced when the category pricing structure was announced.

    If he thinks the A,B,C pricing structure is a bad idea and £30 for Pompey (come on now, tell the whole story...£25 behind the goal) was ridiculous, how is he claiming credit for the Super Saver game?

  • Comment number 17.

    13. At 12:13pm on 09 Sep 2010, Paul Fletcher wrote:
    Now then - I thought it was interesting that Maurice Lindsay had written to all of the Premier League clubs asking if they had any players the club could loan
    -----------
    Absolutely, no question, pure common sense. You only have to look at the sort of standard of player that can be aquired on loan from Premier league club's, without a transfer fee. (Cleverley to watford last season springs straight to mind).

    Ok it's only for a season, but then you do the same the following year, until you build up enough money through success/savings on transfer fees etc. to but players outright - usually these same players that have served you well. If I was a manager, I'd utilize the loan system to its maximum!

  • Comment number 18.

    Premier League 2 (post 14), do me a favour, this will never happen and no Scottish teams will ever be allowed.

    Great read though, as a Bolton fan I always want the local sides to do well (I suppose it creates more rivalries at the same playing level, which we all thrive on really) and it is a shame reading about these sorrt situations. Fingers crossed for you North End fans.

  • Comment number 19.

    I paid £35 pound to watch PNE versue Portsmouth as I wanted to sit with my family who have season tickets. £35 for championship football is far too much no matter who you are playing. Some sensible pricing is much needed so thank goodness it is being reviewed.

    As for heading for League 1, I do not believe that. I think PNE are going to right way. It takes time.....PNE still have time to pull this around this season. I really do not care what local rivals are up to. Our day will come...we are currently cutting our cloth to suit and it has been long overdue.

    It is very easy to blame the previous board/chairman for the overspending. But lets look at it clearly. Fans are always baying for a strong team. PNE would probably have been relegated years ago if they hadn't pushed the boat out. If we had suceeded the rewards would have been massive. Many fans are not now sat there complaining as some of the previous posters suggest. We have had three shots at the playoffs in 10 years. That is a measure of some success. We just never got over the line to the biggest rewward of all that would have balanced the books. Its easy for Blackpool fans to now preach about 'this is how you do it'. They were lucky.....they did not plan for promotion on a tight budget. The hurried creation of a stand is testiment to that. It happens and well done to them. But in the main football clubs spend beyond their means and it has to stop. I for one am glad PNE are part of the trend setters which could well see them in a strong position in 5 years or more. You rarely follow a club for 1 season...its usually a lifetime..I can wait for us to turn it around and in the meantime I will go to a fabulous stadium, with a perfect pitch and watch a standard of football I could only have dreamed on in the 1980s.

  • Comment number 20.

    Whether its £250, £350 or £600 a season ticket is irrelevant in my opinion, when looking at PNE as a stand alone prospect, because the diehard fans will always remain (all 6,100 of them).
    What fans want to see at any level is value for money so £600 may be worth it if the football and experience is enjoyable. Unfortunately currently that’s not the case at Deepdale so attracting the wider public and citizens of Lancashire becomes more difficult, especially with the choice on offer in the North West.
    For example all of the following Premier League clubs are less than an hour away from Preston: Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Everton, Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Blackpool. Once you are looking at this bigger picture, price, but more importantly value for money, will suddenly come into the opportunity cost decision of a football fan and suddenly PNE is bottom of the list.
    A short trip to Wigan where, although the team is having mixed success this year they are still attempting to play “good” football, week-in week-out you can see Drogba, Torres, Rooney for £300-£400(est.) a season ticket surely represents the value for money.
    Therefore more £5 entry or Quid-A-Kid matches need to be provided. Hopefully this can create a better atmosphere, due to increased attendance, and encourage local children to be the next generation of lifelong supporters.
    I’m all for running PNE as a self sufficient club and hope we can build a solid foundation to take us to the top tier and replicate some of the success of our closest rivals. I hope current owners/management can deliver through hard work and astute business attitude.
    Interesting to read dawsonsjs comments; I hope TH isn’t as vindictive as you describe and he has the best interests at heart, not his own coffers. Sugar Daddy or not, and returning to the “glory days” at Deepdale or not, I would rather have a grounded owner with the clubs long terms success his/her/their only desire.
    This season’s priorities – avoid relegation and increase average attendance.

  • Comment number 21.

    Phil,

    The reason £250 was suggested is because at £350 upwards Season Ticket sales have slumped.
    Now im not Carol Vorderman but i think id prefer to shift 10 000 STS at 250 a pop than 6000 at 350 a pop. Plus at 250 yould probably shift more than 10 000.

    You get bums on seats then slowly increase the price accordingly without taking the micheal.

    I think for clubs of a certain size in the C/Ship £250 is more than reasonable

  • Comment number 22.

    PNE have been doing exceedingly well for the last 15 years, winning two divisional titles and being very competitive in the Championship for a number of seasons. From memory, since 2001 we have been in two play off finals, and two play off semi-finals, and only been in the bottom half of the table a couple of times. So, in my opinion, and PNE fan who complains about our lot is crazy. I disagree with peter deurdan (comment 9) though who says that we have tried to buy our way into the Premier league. PNE’s success has been built on buying players for small amounts and making them better as a team than they were individually. A number of players had the best spells of their career with PNE – Nugent (200k), Macken (150k), Gregan (300k), Rankine (100k), etc – and a few others have had moderate careers before coming to PNE and then moving onto a higher level – Fuller, Cresswell and Alexander all played in the Premier League.

    The way forward for PNE will be tough, but the concept of having a younger squad and turning them into something more than they are individually is hardly a new one to us.

    I agree that the match day experience needs to be better though. Many North Enders will remember the days of the Town End when it was all terraced, and PNE need to find a way to capture and harness that spirit to make an afternoon at Deepdale more enjoyable. Clearly a few wins would be a massive attraction, but I think the fans will come back if that optimism and sense of progression returns… which hopefully it will do sooner rather than later.

  • Comment number 23.

    Radar, your post is spot on.

    How can Preston, with an average attendance of 12,000-13,000 (which includes the free tickets given away to schools etc...) afford to be spending £m's on 'average' players, in both transfer fees & wages?

    Carter, Mellor, Chaplow, Collins to name a few.

    Although I don't want to see them go bust, a fair few years languishng in Leagues 1 & 2 wouldn't go a miss!!


  • Comment number 24.

    Plus 10 000 fans at 250 a pop are going to spend more on pies / club shop than 6000 who paid 350 arent they? It aint rocket science.

    10 000 is also 4000 more programme sales etc etc. I could go on but im sure you get the picture

  • Comment number 25.

    Preston are a small club and so cannot expect fans to buy such expensive tickets. It's not a case of more games = more quality in the Championship. The pricing is an error.

  • Comment number 26.

    Dij66 (11) - that's only because Southern isn't in the Blackpool first team so he has nothing to moan about on the Seasiders' sites!
    I wonder what Maurice's ebay user id is - we could see what else he's buying for PNE... or maybe what he's selling... 1 trophy cabinet circa 1920. Never used.

  • Comment number 27.

    The restructuring debate going on in Scotland may have some relevance down South as well: too many clubs in the one locality all competing in the same local markets for bums on seats. And I'm not suggesting that the OF move down South (we would get a better benefit from a Euro league IMO) before anyone jumps in on that..but really there are just too many professional clubs doing the rounds and not all will survive in the next few years when attendances will start to drop in the recession

  • Comment number 28.

    I think PNE should consider themselves very lucky, as Blackburn should have with JW, that someone has had the decency to step in, bankroll them, and keep the club afloat. Not every club is afforded such a luxury and so must live within its means.
    Burnley and Blackpool have been promoted, and so got a decent cash injection, but still must only spend what they have, not more. Look at Leeds, speculated to finish in Champs League, failed and dropped two divisions. Without a knight in shining armour PNE would, arguably should, have dropped down the leagues - a steeper learning curve.
    PNE have such poor attendances because pricing is so grossly inflated for the size of the fan base, as in my opinion is Burnley (£26). £10 adult, £5 kid is perfect to fill the places week in week out. Leeds however, is a big city and has a huge fan base and pull , Preston is a city on paper, but isn't in reality, it’s a town without the pull or large fan base and therefore tickets should be cheaper than Leeds, even though they are in the same league.

  • Comment number 29.

    adam, duerden is the spelling by the way but never mind...!! pne have clearly overspent dramatically in recent years, why do you think they are in the absolute financial mess they are in?? didnt they lose over £6mill last year and are losing £160,000 a week at present. if that isnt trying to buy success i dont know what is? sorry mate wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think the price of a matchday ticket is a big issue, but there's little anybody can do about it. Ultimately, that's just what it costs to watch a football game in today's climate. I have followed Preston for 20 years and until the past 5 years I went on every home game and most away games. The cost of a ticket has steadily risen in that time, and, unfortunately, it got to a point where I just couldn't afford it anymore/didn't see value for money. I would much rather go and play amateur football (badly) than pay at least £25 to freeze and spend the majority of the second half, ruing my decision to avoid paying the over-inflated price of an Ashworth's Meat and Potato pie and contemplating what I was going to have for my tea.

    The football I watched was dire and since Nugent, Preston haven't signed a player that excites the crowd and can bring fans in. They are struggling to compete with Premier league clubs just down the road (Blackburn being the major one) and younger supporters can go and watch world class stars at Ewood Park for just a few pounds more.

    This is not a recent happening. Blackburn were a Premier league force when I was younger but I was drawn to Preston North End. Why? For one, my dad is a lifelong North Ender. However, this would not make much difference if I didn't enjoy going. It's here North End can do something about attracting fans. Adampatterson is entirely right when he writes that '...PNE need to find a way to capture and harness the spirit...' of the old Town End. As a youngster, I used to go into school on a Monday morning and tell my friends about the Town End. My friends of Premier League clubs like Leeds United and Manchester United and Liverpool (nobody was a Chelsea fan back then) listened with envy when I told them how to Townend got the whole ground singing Barmy Army, EVEN the old people in the new Tom Finney stand, for a full half an hour.

    In the current climate of HD television, Sky Plus and wall to wall weekend football, we can see the world class stars of the Premier League any time we want, but a real match day experience is hard to re-create but it is something powerful that lives on in the memory for many years. Deepdale simply does not have an enjoyable atmosphere any more. I cringed with embarrassment, when a few years back they registered-without a shred of Irony-the Alan Kelly stand as their number 12 in the squad lists. It has got progressively worse since then.

    Now, it's not just Deepdale that is suffering from a stale atmosphere in the era of all seater stadiums, but many bigger clubs also suffer. For the majority of a game, Old Trafford, the fantastic and slick Emirates and even Anfield can be quiet and empty of emotion on a Saturday afternoon (or increasingly a Sunday afternoon.) The difference is that they have the star players to attract the crowds. PNE do not. However, if they can create a passionate and atmospheric matchday, they can compete with the Premier League and the fans-especially the younger generation of fans-may come flooding back. This will bring in much needed funds and hopefully stabilise the club. I know I for one will certainly go on more often and I'll maybe even accept that, approaching 30, I have little to no chance of being scouted on a February Saturday afternoon on a muddy battlefield of a Lancashire park and purchase a season ticket. I hope they can manage to do it as Preston was always thought of as a 'proper' club with a great atmosphere-something I was always proud to boast of when speaking to my old school friends. Wonder how many schoolchildren boast about that now first thing on a Monday morning?

  • Comment number 31.

    Firstly, thanks for your comments. Banter is, literally, nothing without you. There seems to be little doubt that paying £30 to watch Championship football at Deepdale is wrong, which I find reassuring.

    JoC (post 14) - Lindsay is indeed closely associated with rugby league, specifically Wigan. Before he left for Deepdale he was actually a director at Wigan football club. A lot of their fans were not happy about it, still fuming about a rather derogatory comment he made about them in the 1980s, when the rugby team were in their pomp and the Latics some way down the leagues.

    Wigan reached the League Cup quarter-final and Lindsay described the Latics as a "nice little club who have chosen the back yard of rugby league" to play in. Makes me think of a balloon constructed of lead.

    As for the motives of Hemmings - he has not become such a very successful businessman without making tough and ruthless decisions. I guess North End fans must hope that in this case he has the best interests of the club at heart.

  • Comment number 32.

    The Lashers plague our local newspaper website, too. Mindyou...must be depressing reading about your team getting thrashed every week, bar the opening game of the season. Losing to MK Dons must have riled them, too. We'll see if Ted is still crowing at Xmas, when they are virtually relegated? I see they tried to sign an ex-player of ours, who didn't even answer Holloway's call? Who in their right mind wants to go and play at Blackpool?

  • Comment number 33.

    old8oy. you sound very jealous of blackpool, they have done at the first attempt what north end have been trying so hard to do for years. by the way you must have missed the 2-2 draw against fulham last match. so blackpool have only lost once in the premier league so far. yes they got hammered at arsenal, could lose 10-0 at chelsea, but hey, they would certainly rather go to these places than not. if they finish bottom they have done brilliant to even get there and the parachute payments will provide further financial stability and will help future promotion pushes.

  • Comment number 34.

    Its easy to say that 3600 fans stayed away because of the price going up, but is that really true? How much did the price go up? You could buy a ticket for 350quid if you were already a season ticket holder, so how much of a hike was this on the previous year? Lets get the facts out in the open! Its not clear in the article.

    Lets also look at it logically. PNE had a very poor season last year, and this year looks even bleaker. That would suggest that the amount of fans will decrease. Maybe not by 40%, but certainly the worse you are playing the lower your season ticket sales/crowds.

    Add on to this, there is an ongoing economic recession, and the possibilty of it hitting even harder this year. So maybe thats another reason people don't want to spend the money.

    Actually having £1 and £5 tickets would keep season ticket sales lower, too. Just choose the games which are cheaper and also cat C games. Its actually a kick in the teeth to season ticket holders to have £5 tickets, as its essentially a free game. So where's the benefit in your season ticket?

    Poster #1 also noted under 8s are free, so as a family day out is it really that much for your season ticket? If i am a Dad with 2 young kids then the 3 of us to watch works out at less than £120 each.

    Basically its a vicious circle. The fans are moaning about no money from the Chairman, yet THEY aren't willing to spend their money either! Do you think money comes from thin air? No it comes partially from the supporters, who aren't coughing up, so how can you expect success?

    What happens if PNE drop their season tickets to £250 and they get the same 6100?

    At Leeds Bates did a sample for a couple of games of lowering prices in an attempt to improve the gates and revenue. What happened? We made less money than usual.

    PNE will certainly make less from the £1, £5 game than they would a normal matchday. And then the next week tickets are £30 the crowds will be back low again.

  • Comment number 35.

    Oh and for the smart Alec claiming 3600 more people = 3600 more programme sales... are you for real? EVERY person buys a programme! Yeah, sure they do.

    What about food at the ground? Does everyone buy food INSIDE the ground? I never buy anything inside, but i might buy a pie or hot dog outside - and this money doesnt go to the club.

    But increased crowds do mean there will need to be an increase in policing and stwearding, all of which costs the club money.

    You see, things aren't so straight forward as saying x amount of people = x amount of profit. But i'm sure the einsteins on here realise this....

  • Comment number 36.

    Not to mention the fact that the retail concessions in and around the ground are franchises. We get a fixed fee for it, so any increase in crowds, thus increases in spending at the food and drink outlets is irrelevant, as we wouldn't see a pennt more from it.

  • Comment number 37.

    son_of_john_beck_pne - you are quite correct to say that the club announced one Super Saver game at £5 during the season when prices were released at the back end of last season - although it is my understanding that Lindsay has decided it will be the Norwich fixture. It will be interesting to see whether he chooses any more.

    I also believe that Lindsay has reduced the number of cat A games, downgrading the home fixture against Middlesbrough.

    I take the point that both you and Phil make about spending outside the ground, however I think it is inevitable that higher crowds will equate with higher spending inside the crowd. I just don't see how it could be any other way.

  • Comment number 38.

    Rob04 #27's mention of a 'restructuring debate' somewhat mirrors my own earlier suggestion #14 that Maurice Lindsay might play a significant role in the formation of Premier League 2 echoing his work on 'Rugby Super League'. I agree with Rob04 that Rangers and Celtic might be better off in a Euro-league though.

    Too many clubs in too small catchment areas might mean mergers' are on the cards. However unpalitable it seems now imagine a superclub formed out of the two Sheffield or Nottingham clubs. What would they be called though..hopefully not daft names as in Rugby League? Would it unite these cities and make them contenders again? Keep the old clubs in amateur level just to preserve continuity of old names and history....

  • Comment number 39.

    As comment #32 demonstrates, you can see what a deluded, bitter lot these Preston fans are. They have delusions of grandeur thinking that they have some god given right to get to the Premier League but they will never get there whereas Blackpool and Burnley got there with minimum fuss.

  • Comment number 40.

    Preston could make admission free and it's unlikely they'd fill the ground. The simple fact is that nearly half the premier league is made up of clubs within an hour's drive of Deepdale and that the rising prices have driven away the loyal fans to be replaced by the prawn sandwich brigade who have no hesitation in changing clubs if their current club is struggling.

    In addition, the north west has been hit hard by the recession so luxuries like watching football are the first to go. Clubs like Leeds, Norwich and Southampton are lucky to have little in the way of competition but Lancashire clubs are finally realising that the gravy train has gone and that they have to live within their means if they want to continue to exist.

  • Comment number 41.

    Preston are hardly alone in running into financial difficulties in recent years (Leeds United, Luton, Cardiff, Sheffield Wednesday, etc. etc.) Teams in the Championship face a very binary incentive structure. Promotion to the Premiership with TV rights and parachute payments might be worth something like 90 million quid. This encourages clubs to leverage up (i.e. borrow) to buy talent in an attempt to get promoted. The same applies in the Premiership as teams vie for a spot in Europe. However, since football talent is in relatively fixed supply, the result is that the wage structure of players gets bid up as they earn what economists call quasi-rent (and of course agents get paid their percentage for hawking this talent around). Since only three teams can get promoted in a season, the other teams end up with too high a cost structure.

    These problems extend to the very top of the Premiership. Look at the financial difficulties of the holding companies for Liverpool and Manchester United. Once again, the profits are bid away by the footballing talent. The economics of owning a football team are just horrible and people generally own clubs for the psychic reward of owning the club.

    As for PNE's season ticket sales, one has to remember the imapct of the recession and the credit crunch. It is not just about season ticker prices at North End. PNE have great deals on children's season tickets (I think mine cost me 70 quid each for the Tom Finney Stand). PNE should be better supported by the community around it but I guess there aren't as many people around who, when cut, bleed blue and white!



    Then we can add in the recession and the credit crunch. T

  • Comment number 42.

    Another interesting read Paul

    I think all football clubs need to be more realistic with their pricing, especially given the economic climate. Clubs who handle the downturn best will undoubtedly pick up some extra fans and realistic pricing will encourage so-far loyal fans to remain so.

    The live game should be a cracker!

  • Comment number 43.

    Paul @ 37.

    I can't say i know the full details, but like #36 says, outside the ground, the club will make no money on food and drinks. Inside the ground, many of the stalls are rented out to private contractors. Thus many clubs get a guaranteed set income, and the increase in food sales only benefits the contractor who rebted the stall.

    As for programmes. How much do they make on a programme? Take into account the cost of printing and writing it and copies they can't sell. It wont be a great amount.

    For all the extra spectators, it means extra running costs. More people on the turnstiles, more police outside the ground, more stewards in and around the ground.

    So in terms of the Norwich game, the club gets a fiver or a pound a ticket. It sells lets say 15,000 tickets (there are already 6000 season tickets) as i cant imagine deepdale holds many more. So lets say on average it gets £3 a ticket. Thats £45,000. If they sell these tickets at £30 a ticket, they need only sell 1500 tickets. Now im sorry, but even at £30 a ticket, they will probably sell 4000 tickets. So they would make £120,000. Do you REALLY believe that the club will make £75,000 from selling programmes and possibly food! And this isn't even taking into account extra costs of policing, stewarding and all the other miscellaneous things like water bills, toilet roll, electric in hand dryers - all small things that WILL add up during the day.

    The ONLY reason they have this is to get free publicity and the hope a handfull of these people will be so blown away with the day that they will come back and pay the full price for future games.

    Sadly, like others have said, PNE have a lot of competition from neighbouring clubs, so unless there is a special offer on, these people will likely look elsewhere for their entertainment.

    Something has to give. Because these clubs are relatively small due to their fan base. So they can only afford lesser wages, which means worse players, which means sliding down the football ladder. That or they go bust.

  • Comment number 44.

    Not so long ago Preston were a very good selling club, they brought in young players, developed them and sold on for big money. The likes of David Healy and Richard Cresswell were big money sales at the time. Eventually though, they simply ran out of players to sell for that kind of money. What they got stuck with was a lot of players on big money contracts.

    Derek Shaw was then left to keep borrowing money from Trevor Hemmings, having committed to the stadium redevelopment (the Invicibles stand still remains incomplete), and the big money contracts.

    For what it's worth, Preston's best chance of promotion disappeared on May 5th 2006 when Billy Davies came out a play off semi final first leg 1-1 draw at Elland Road and declared "Job Done". Leeds were fired up for the 2nd leg at Deepdale and won 2-0.

    From then on PNE have been on a downward curve, whilst Burnley and Blackpool were in an ascendcy. Now Hemmings wants his money back, and years of expecting the support to remain at current levels whilst disillusionment with Derek Shaw was setting in. Whether League One beckons, time will tell.

  • Comment number 45.

    Brilliant blog Paul, being the supporter of a top premier league team, i always fiond it interesting to know what goes on behind the scenes at the smaller (no offense) clubs.

    i think it's fanatastic to see a chairman acting in this manner, it's what real football is all about! a friend runs a football team and had to use similar tactics to get the club changing rooms kitted out, writing to schools, offices and pubs to see if he could get his hands on anything he could use, even resorting to rummaging the local tip.

    it's great to see the essence of grass-roots football wafting through a big name club, and fingers crossed we see preston in the top-flight sometime soon!

  • Comment number 46.

    I have very painful memories of the set up of Super League, with Maurice Lindsay, who as chairman of the RFL with a close affiliation to the then totally dominant Wigan arguably had a conflict of interest. My own team (by birth)- Swinton (Lions) - ironically the club responsible for bringing Ryan Giggs to Manchester - missed the cut & there was no way back (aruably there was mismanagement at the club too)

    Many mergers were proposed - some were rejected (Calder - a proposed merger between Castleford, Wakefield and Featherstone)by clubs and suporters.

    Either way, Super League has undoutably achieved much of it's tried to do, some inititiatives like the salary cap would be very welcome in football, but there have been casualties, e.g. Swinton who will never grace the top league again (we were there in the 90's) as a result.

    Now as a season ticket holder of a number of years at Derby (my kids are Derby born and bred) a club, which after our disastrous flirtation with the Premier League a couple of years ago, and a string of over ambitious or 'crooked' boards also going through rationalisation in a similar way to Preston, under the management of Nigel Clough - who so far appears to be great at spotting great lower league players.

    My season ticket (for the 4th season running) £280 + £110 for my 16 yr old son as I've renewed early each time - I hope the recategorisation of my seat which gave me a 'saving' of over £200 between the 2 of us - doesn't get implemented next season as has been suggested, as I'm certain it doesn't make sense - the ground is rarely full now, so they'd need to sell our seats for at least 10-15 of 23 games, just to break even on my lower price - surely a false economy to put up the cost of my season ticket and risk me not renewing?

    Anyway, let's hope Maurice Lindsay's intentions for Preston are honourable and become an example, along with the Rams of a club achieving success by doing things the right way, not to the detriment of the fans, the taxpayer or local businesses and charities

  • Comment number 47.

    In response to peter deurden (#9 and #29), how many clubs in the football league and premiership make an operating profit? PNE have always had one of the lowest transfer budgets and wage bills in the Championship and, as I said, have been successful by spotting good, young talent and improving it. Trying to buy success is when clubs buy established players to for big money and big wages, and PNE have never done this. Come on mate, wake up and smell the facts.

  • Comment number 48.

    #10's comments make interesting reading to anyone aware of Cardiff's struggles (despite the name I'm a Merthyr supporter). Because of Bellamy's transfer, the club is getting a lot of criticism for running beyond their means but their struggles are a result of previous spending by Sam Hammam. Since he left they have been run within their means, their means being severely hampered as a result of interest payments on the debt run up by Hammam. The club now has to refinance the lons because default will allow him to get the club back. One of the biggest reasons for getting rid of him was the inability to build a new stadium as a result of a lack of transparency in his building plans. The current cashflow problems are a result of cashflow problems brought on by his attempt to get the club back through the courts (Cardiff only avoided being dragged under by the legal costs by selling Aaron Ramsey). This begs the question, how many clubs out there have owners building up debts to create a cash cow and make the club difficult to prise away?

  • Comment number 49.

    Yet another Championship club living beyond its means, no doubt attracted by the crock of gold in the Premiership. However, as the fans of many ex-Premier League clubs can tell you, the way down is not comfortable & often leads to administration.

  • Comment number 50.

    Back when this takeover was announced it was seen as completely obstructionalist to suggest that anyone refusing to accept 5p for a share was standing in the way of a major money revolution. I have not bought a season ticket this year because £295 lost on shares would have gone a long way to funding the £350 that it would have cost to renew. My shares have not been sold and it is always very interesting to read some of the letters that we have been sent by the club and those who now represent it.

    Deepdale has lost much of what made it special to me, it is no longer a united crowd fighting to get PNE back to where we could be. Now all I hear are complaints fueled by the raised expectations and loss of financial reality that is suffered up and down the country. Prices are still where I feel they should be, if anything this season seems a little cheaper than last, but I really now question whether I want to be a spectator at what is a long way from entertaining game. There is little doubt that the club and fans are not together any more and that is a very sad situation.

  • Comment number 51.

    I have had a few arguements with Dawson over the years, but his article is spot on.
    I believe we could well go down this season, and we will do saddled with TH's debt.
    IMO far better to go down free of debt , hence administration was the way to go, return the club to the fans without £20m of debt.

    The priority for PNE right now is to protect the owners cash, that is why ML has been appointed. I cannot see this situation ever changing, and therefore decisions that should be made for the best interest of PNE will take second place to the priorities of the owner.

    TH is not a messiah that is for sure more a noose around the clubs neck.

    Interesting point Dawson. PNE were solvent in 2002 , the end of the Moyes/Gray era.
    You have to admit that DS has made a complete pigs ear of this and PNE and us supporters will pay for this for years to come

  • Comment number 52.

    Is a 70 year old who spent his whole life involved in Rugby League, really the right man to run a troubled Football Club in this present era? What is the point of raising ticket prices to 30 pounds for the Portsmouth game and then to lower the price to 5 pounds for the Norwich match? The supporters reacted accordingly for the Pompey game and as I predicted at the time the attendence dropped to below 10,000. I bet there will be no-more than 13,000 at Deepdale on the 18th!
    Trevor Hemmings is a VERY rich man and we were all expecting that he would finance the buying of some good quality players for a concerted promotion push. Instead we sell our best player Ross Wallace and bring in a load of free tranfers. It would have made sense to sell the goalkeeper Lonergan for 4 millions and re-invested the money but Hemmings refused to sell. I'm beginning to have doubts about Mr Hemmings already and wonder just what his motive is. Obviously there will be no need for a Board of Directors anymore as it is now a one-man band and he can run the show as he pleases without the slightest involvement of anyone!

  • Comment number 53.

    Re:51 - sad that fans these days see administration as a get out of jail free card, generally involving reneging on 90% of "non-football" debts & then carrying on as before. Would this be tolerated in almost any other industry? IMO, the "football debts first" rule should be abolished - I'm sure it will be challenged again in the courts by the Inland Revenue, usually the primary loser. Also, football clubs that cannot meet their obligations should be liquidated. If locals are unhappy, then start afresh like AFC Wimbledon. Nothing against PNE, just tired of the perennial cycle of administration, caused largely by the ludicrous amount of money available in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 54.

    47 adam, im just stating some points about PNE which you seem oblivious to, and judging by the other comments, the vast majority seem to agree. i said that blackpool have run a sensible ship and havent overspent. they may have struck lucky last year who knows. do you honestly think PNE have always had one of the lowest transfer budgets and wage bills in the Championship? im not sure about that. Why has the club been offloading the big earners then? i have no axe to grind but like other clubs you have tried to buy the premier league dream and it just hasnt worked and now the club and supporters are having to face the consequences. Didnt pne need 10000 through the gate just to pay off interest?

  • Comment number 55.

    Paul - great blog - I'm not going to re-iterate what is being stated over again other than a couple of issues which may be salient to the discussion.

    Regarding increasing sales within the ground - unfortunately that would not benefit the club in my opinion - why, because as I understand it, the previous regime decided to franchise the in-ground sales of coffees, pies, beer etc to an outside agency - at a fixed cost. Therefore, any increase in the sales will go to other persons away from football. I could never see the logic in this as we therefore cannot benefit, but also as a club they cannot control the prices, hence the reason for the extortionate costs in the ground for those goods which just adds to the bill of the day out for the family. Yes there may be an increase in hospitality, but that would not be enormous and does not really affect the £5 super saver.

    As for TH - there are those that go on endlessly about we would be better to be debt free and go into administartion and then slate TH for not allowing this to happen. Who in their right mind would if they had ploughed £13 million into the club. If I lent my son money to do house improvements on the agreement I get paid back when the house is sold, but then he loses his job and can't pay the mortgage, do I just walk away allow the house to go to auction and only the main lender gets their money back, or do I fund some or all of the mortgage, providing I've got the money available, thereby increasing my share of the property, but also protecting my original investment. Anyone expecting TH is deluding themselves and expecting someone, who as you point out is a successful businessman to take a non-business position.

    So that brings it to the point of whether he has the best interests of the club at heart, only time will tell, but you don point out he is a lifelong Preston fan, which I believe to be true and I also understand that his son is an even bigger fan and therefore, until matters prove differently, we have no reason to believe that they do not have the club's interests, as well as their own at heart and sometimes that means, in business getting everything on a manageable and level footing before going forward.

  • Comment number 56.

    I feel some sympathy for Derek Shaw as he obviously foresaw that he could no longer be able to keep the club at Championship level on the funding available and gambled at getting the club into the Premiership. Sadly for PNE he backed the wrong horse. IF the money that was made available to Paul Simpson and Alan Irvine had been given to Billy Davies then I'm convinced he would have got us up. However, with hindsight it now looks as though he just sanctioned a reckless spending spree. The money spent on poor signings such as Richard Chaplow, Darren Carter, Neil Colins etc is just way beyond what a club like North End can afford. Saying that if we had got promoted then this article wouldn't be here and everyone would be claiming Shaw was some sort of hero for taking us up.
    We have to be thankful that Hemmings has saved the club, and we have a team to support, hopefully for years to come. I also think Darren Ferguson is doing it the right way in investing in younger players such as Treacy and Coutts who will hopefully develop alongside the players coming through the youth ranks and be the players that will be sold to fund the club at this level, or hopefully higher, in the future

  • Comment number 57.

    What is it about football fans? “There’s too much money in the game”. “Money is killing the game”. “What our club needs is a sugar daddy to buy our way into the Prem”. FICKLE indeed.

    Wake up people. It’s not just North End fans, it’s everyone... the entire unseemly clamour for perceived “success”. At one time this meant a particularly good run in the league, a cup run, maybe even a promotion. Now it’s Premier League football or bust (quite literally. Or, increasingly, Premier League, and then bust).

    Whatever happened to simply enjoying watching your local club... at whatever level they happen to be in? Going bonkers when they score... giving the ref grief, or trudging home bathed in the exquisite sorrow of defeat?

    I don’t get it. According to the vast majority of football fans the only acceptable level of success, the only level they will apparently be satisfied with, is to watch their clubs desperate attempt to cling on to a Premier League spot at all costs ( with their managers dutifully trotting out the old humbug of “Playing ugly, if needs be” by January when the panic is truly setting in... and “needs” almost certainly “be” at that point!)

    Football fan, eh? Everyone’s mad ‘cept me and thee... and I’m not so sure about thee !

  • Comment number 58.

    Great blog Paul , well done - it triggers a good football discussion with some constructive contributions (tangerine comedians aside).

    Being a horse racing fan , i always had a biased regard for TH , also because he came from our neck of the woods and was a self-made , unassuming man whose work ethic got him from nowhere to where he is.
    However when he apparently engineered the situation to pick up minority shareholders shares for next to nothing and take full control of PNE i had my doubts ,although BigG-at-PNE's (55) little parable did put it in perspective somewhat......So is TH a good guy or a bad guy for PNE?

  • Comment number 59.

    I like football, a Posh supporter up North, nearer Preston than Peterborough. I watch Posh when they come up here but only once or twice a season because the prices are too high.
    In the Premiership the prices are scandalous because they pay the players obscene wages (except Blackburn are thinking of trying a bit of reality). In the rest they are just over the top and someone who thinks about his duties to his family can't pay it with a good conscience.
    By the way, Darren did a good job at Peterborough but seemed to misjudge the standard of player needed in the Championship. I hope he has learned his lesson for your sake!

  • Comment number 60.

    Good write ...
    just confusing is at beginning it's stated that the chairman is 75 and towards the end says he's going to turn 70 ...
    But that's nit-picking, very interesting all in all

  • Comment number 61.

    With the exception of a handful of giants of the game, you don't make money investing in football clubs. You certainly don't make money investing in a club like PNE. Trevor Hemmings is no idiot, and he knows this. He's not put his money into the club to try and profit from it. He's put his money into he club because he has a genuine fondness for it and wants it to survive. Yes, absolutely, he's trying to protect his investment and not lose more than he has to, but you can hardly blame him for that.

  • Comment number 62.

    I know how PNE fans feel about their new owner's motives in only hanging around to get his money back. It's the same at Fratton Pk. Away fans get into Fratton Park for £20 at the Milton End. There are a few seats there for Pompey fans at that price but the majority would prefer to pay £23 a match for a better seat/atmosphere. The season tickets were £399 for renewals and £429 for new fans.

    No lecture from me re running a football club badly. Pompey lost £138 million or so and didn't even get a decent stadium. The FA cup win was great but the local business people who only got back 20p in the pound aren't so happy. A right greed induced shambles. This season I'd take relegation as long as the club lives within its' means.

  • Comment number 63.

    Nice blog Paul,

    The only thing I would add is that PNE signed Paul Hayes from Scunthorpe by offering a better wage than what we could afford. We are a small club, well run, with a history of turning a profit and not overstretching our means. The day after Hayes signed for PNE, they faced a winding up order. Transfers such as this should NEVER be allowed.

    All clubs who face winding up orders should be placed under a transfer embargo (players can be sold, but not brought in, even for free).

    So while this club haemorrhages money, a club that lives within its means loses its best players.

  • Comment number 64.

    Still a well run club??

    14th September 2010

    Multi-millionaire Trevor Hemmings has loaned Preston North End a further £650,000 to pay players wages and its monthly tax bills.

    The leisure tycoon has loaned the club the cash through his Deepdale PNE Holdings investment vehicle through which he has taken a 91% stake in the club.

    In a statement, the club said the the interest would attract 8% interest and would be repayable on demand.

    It added: “The loan will be used towards meeting the cost of player’s and staff wages due this month and also payments to HMRC in respect of PAYE tax deductions and National Insurance.”

    Mr Hemmings has loaned the club £14.56m, including accrued interest, through his Guild Ventures investment vehicle through a series of loans made since December 2008.

  • Comment number 65.

    So another £650k goes in to the black whole incurring PNE a further annual charge of £52k.
    Where is this going exactly.
    These payment are now needed bi monthly. The support is diminishing and the loans will have to keep coming.

    Surely better to drop in £10m interest free, sign some quality and see what can be achieved.

    We have some quality kids. 3 or 4 quality signings would make a huge difference.

    The current policy will result in TH putting in £10m over the next two years , and that only covers the cash shortfall but still leaves us with a team destined for Div 1.

    His policy of drip feeding cash has resulted in this mess.

    I am not claiming he has not supported the club and deserves a return on his money and repayment... the problem is the way this is being managed and the short term manner that the cashflow is being managed is simply not the answer.

    The capital investment route is risky, however a 20% chance of success is better than a 100% certainty, which is low crowds and demotion.

    If we average 3k less supporters per home game, that will result in a fall in revenues of around £1.2m per year, minimum.

    The theory of reducing the strength of the playing squad to reduce wages, is offset by reduction in income and the cost of demotion is several million.

    The only strategy that works for someone with TH's wealth is to invest a lump sum and push for promotion. Any other policy, and he may as well walk away.

    One other point Jack Walker passed away and left a legacy at Blackburn that has resulted in a good standard of prem football for many years.
    TH is not a young man . Should anything happern to him,will his executors be so keen to pour money into a black hole.

    The future way be white, but it is pretty bleak with the current strategy.

 

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