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Howe does Eddie do it at Bournemouth?

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Paul Fletcher | 17:38 UK time, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is undoubtedly a man whose glass is half full.

He had just three outfield substitutes on the bench for last weekend's draw at Bradford but the Cherries boss chose to focus on the fringe benefits rather than his debilitating lack of options.

"There were only 15 players on the coach travelling to the match so we had a lot of room to stretch out," Howe told me.

In conversation he comes across as composed, considered, mature and ever so slightly wary when discussing his team's promotion prospects. In other words, it really is staggering that Howe is just 31 - by some distance the youngest manager in the Football League.

His team are second in League Two, with only goal difference denying them the top spot they have occupied for much of this season.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe Howe is keen to play down his successful first year in management

It is a tremendous achievement when you consider that Bournemouth have a squad of just 19 senior professionals that cannot be easily supplemented by loan signings. In February the club's horrific financial problems resulted in the Football League imposing a transfer embargo that remains in place.

Anthony Edgar is the only player to arrive since then - and his one-month loan from West Ham was sanctioned only after it became apparent that injury problems at the club could seriously undermine their ability to put out a team.

"It has been a problem," acknowledges Howe when discussing the size of his squad.

"Eventually we will have to give some players a rest. We have had players who have picked up niggles but had to play through them.

"The attitude of the players has been first-class - no-one has hesitated to do things that we would not normally ask them to."

Time and again Howe manoeuvres our conversation away from what he has achieved by praising his players.

Howe will acknowledge that his team are "playing football that is easy on the eye" but shrewdly plays down a start to the campaign that saw his team win nine of their opening 10 League Two fixtures. He repeatedly stresses how long there is left in the current season and uses the words "so far" to underline that he is far from satisfied with what has been achieved.

He has been scouting players along with assistant Jason Tindall but there is no immediate sign that the embargo is about to be lifted.

"The frustrating thing is that a lot of players we like will end up going to other clubs," added Howe. "We have a couple of targets in mind but things can change."

Howe's half-brother Steve Lovell, once of Aberdeen, trained with the club during the summer and was prepared to sign as an amateur but the embargo prevented him from doing so. Tindall, twice retired, has been forced into action this season.

Promising youngster Jayden Stockley made two substitute appearances for the club in October but school issues complicate his availability.

"Jayden has his GCSEs coming up and we have to be aware that his schoolwork takes priority," said Howe. I do not imagine many Football League managers experience this type of problem.

Howe's caution is understandable. There are only so many sticking plasters with which to paper over the cracks.

But whatever happens, his first year in management has been sensational.

He took over after Jimmy Quinn was sacked on the final day of last year.

Brought up in nearby Verwood, and a former Cherries player before injury cut short his career, Howe had been in charge of the reserve team for the previous two years. In this regard he had already made the transition from team-mate to coach.

"I was a player when Sean O'Driscoll was in charge and I knew how hard he worked, I knew the job was his life. It has to be if you want to make a success of it," he said.

Financial problems ultimately resulted in Bournemouth starting the 2008-09 season on minus 17 points and when Howe became the Cherries' third manager of that troubled campaign his team were still 10 adrift of safety. To many on the outside his appointment reeked of desperation and, perhaps, a club resigned to the inevitable.

Then-chief executive Alastair Saverimutto even felt the need in January to publicly insist that Howe's appointment was not a money-saving exercise.

Yet Howe pulled off what Bournemouth fans describe as a miracle, keeping their team up by five points.

Ask Howe how he did it and, typically, he will talk about his players, how receptive they were to his ideas and the guts and determination that they showed under intense pressure.

But Howe must take huge credit for ensuring his squad all worked for each other and had the self-belief to prevail. Howe broke the season down into blocks of four games, setting his players targets for each one.

"That can be a problem if you start badly and it becomes an unrealistic target, it can have a demoralising effect," added Howe. "But it really helped us."

Howe reckons he did not have the time to reflect of the challenge of being a manager at such a young age. His focus was almost exclusively on the next game.

At the end of the season he took his wife on holiday and finally had the chance to take stock. What he didn't have was much opportunity to relax.

"Most of the time I was on the phone," said Howe. "You are never away from the job, even in the summer. You are always thinking of things that you have to prepare and plan.

Bournemouth has been impressed by the spirit of his players Howe has been impressed with the team spirit at Bournemouth

"But I am thoroughly enjoying it and would not want to do anything else."

Even so, what impact does the labour-intensive job of being a manager in the Football League have on your social life?

"I don't have any mates anymore, all my friends have gone," said Howe before breaking into his easy laugh. "Honestly, you don't have a social life, but in one sense I don't want one because football is the sole focus."

Any spare time is spent with his wife, who Howe describes as "very understanding".

With resources at a premium Howe and Tindall are in charge of all footballing matters at the club, from scouting and assessing the opposition to the conditioning and dietary requirements of the playing staff.

I think a good illustration of Howe's level-headedness came when he said: "I'd imagine that is pretty standard at most League Two clubs. It is great experience for a young man to run a club at this level."

Howe might not have been a League Two manager any more if he had responded to a recent approach from Championship side Peterborough.

"I haven't been here all that long and there is so much I want to do here," he said. "I feel like I have only just started.

"Bournemouth is a club that has run through my life and there is a bond and an emotional attachment. It wasn't very difficult to decide to stay here."

Howe has now been in charge for almost 11 months. I had a look a list on the League Managers Association website of the longest-serving managers in all four divisions. Howe is already up to 51 out of the 92 clubs.

It speaks volumes about the volatility of the profession that Howe, who turns 32 on 29 November, is now in.

Somehow, though, I suspect he will make his way a lot higher up the list.

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

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Paul

    Excellent article about young Eddie. I've been an AFCB fan for 50 years and I'm really excited about our future with Eddie in charge. He's AFCB through and through and I'm so pleased he showed the loyalty to stay with us longer to finish the job of taking us onwards and upwards.

    We now have a youth set up that's beginning to take shape and produce some good youngsters. With a tie up with Brockenhurst College in the New Forest the lads are encouraged to continue with their education and hopefully this will be a unique selling point to gain good new recruits. All of the coaches from 8-18 are now ex AFCB players.

    Most teams we are now playing have a number of loanees from higher league clubs and it's amazing how the small squad have performed under the emabargo. The football league have a lot to answer for in not monitoring the previous short term regime as closely as it is monitoring the financials of the new board. The FL has also reneged on their initial agreement to allow us to bring our squad up to last year's figure of 20 especially when the player we were trying to bring in, Steve Lovell, agreed to play for us for nothing. It is also irresponsible to condone footballer's playing when half fit, having pain killing injections or playing still suffering from the after effects of swine flu. I'm just surprised that the PFA haven't spoken out on this as footballer's careers have been put on the line.

    At least we only have 3 player's out now fairly long term!

    A good run in the FA Cup beckons and some TV revenue to boot. After last year's epic rollercoaster ride to overcome the 17 point deficit it's good to be a Cherries fan and long may it continue.

    Eddie is king.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good blog as ever Paul. What really blew my mind is your last link. We have had FIFTY new managers in the football league in the last year!!! I just can't comprehend it. And only 5 managers have completed 6 years in the job. This is ludicrous. Truly it is. So when managers come into a club and talk about 5 year plans, they are kidding themselves, as only 6% of managers will ever get this chance. How can clubs expect any sort of stability or progression with this turnover of managers? I wonder what the figures were 20 years back - is there any way of finding out the length of managers tenure from say 1989?

    Anyway, good luck to Bournemouth and Eddie Howe, i remember Leeds relegating them in 1989/90 season, a great day for us and the beginning of their demise to some degrees. Its an incredible job to have his team playing the way they are with just 15 available players! But im pleased he didnt jump ship to Peterborough, many other managers have shown less loyalty to clubs that have given them their first break in management.

  • Comment number 3.

    A very fair assessment of a remarkable young man, as a player he had to accept the disappointment of a career ending injury, just as he reached the top level and the premature ending of his playing career. He is a thoughtful, intelligent man, with his feet firmly on the ground and will go to the very top as a Manager. The Club has been treated very unfairly by the FL, we all accept the "Embargo" but not one so tight that it forces players to put their careers at risk and to play through injuries, through loyalty to their Club, Manager and Team Mates, two so far have aggravated injuries and have had to face surgery and longer term layoffs as a consequence. It will only change when a player whose career has been ended as a result of the Embargo succesfully sues the FL. We consider ourselves fortunate to have Eddie as our Manager and have no doubt that he will emulate one of his predecessors Harry Rednapp and have a long Management career at the very top level.

  • Comment number 4.

    Oi Fletcher! Stop bringing him to everyone's attention. We're trying to keep him a secret down here! Seriously though, good blog, you've got his character spot on. Some manager's, (Big Sam for an example) blame the players when it goes wrong and takes the credit when it goes right but Eddie's exactly the opposite!

    Everytime a Football League manager gets sacked, which is very often as we can see from that table, I get very worried that they'll be coming after our Eddie. Even though he is Mr Bournemouth there will come a time when an offer too big to turn down comes along. Hopefully he can get us up to the Championship in the mean time.

  • Comment number 5.

    Having Eddie as manager is the best thing to happen to our club in a long time, he has brought stability back and we now feel confident going into any game - even away! It's a far cry from the days of Bond & Quinn where we were expecting to lose and anything else was a bonus. What he is getting out of our injury ravaged and depleated team is incredible, I hate to think how good we could be performing with our full squad and the addition of Lovell and others Howe has his eye on but is unable to sign.

    If it weren't for Eddie (and Flecth) we would be in the Conference now. We are all so grateful to have him at them helm and hope he will be here for many more successful seasons on the south coast. UTCIAD.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nice stuff. The lower leagues are were it's at. Dagenham and Redbridge up there with a team of players hotch potch team of non-league players and experienced league 2 players to Eddie Howe and co showing the money men at Notts County men at consistency is key.

    Paul. Who do you think will be going up from League 2?

  • Comment number 7.

    Eddie Howe? More like Eddie Whoe?

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm a fan of a division 2 football club (Shrewsbury), and good to hear of some coverage to division 2 that isn't about notts county.

    Firstly, I agree with the points deductions that are handed out to teams that go into administration, it maybe harsh but at the end of the day if a team is spending money they haven't got, they should get some sort of punishment - fining them obviously wouldn't be an option as they can't pay their debts as it is, so it has to be points - as of course there is little reason for other clubs to run themselves properly otherwise.

    However, there's some very good points in here about how some players are having to play on with niggles and playing when they'd normally be rested, and it is indeed possible that someone could get seriously injured when it could be prevented, which would certainly be a health and safety and PFA concern. Seems strange that they can't even bring in a retired player who would play for free! My other club is Tottenham, and I'm quite sure that Harry would like to help Bournemouth out with some youngsters if he could.

    The other point that this article doesn't really explain is why Bournemouth still have an embargo? When they had their initial points deduction, both Luton and Rotherham also had points deductions, yet Rotherham spent over £100,000 on one player in the summer.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Paul,

    Excellent piece. It's almost a 'real life football manager' scenario.

    I agree with #8, good to see some refreshing news about the league rather than Notts County.

    Howe seems to have the ability and his team are responding well - what more can a young manager ask for?

    Good luck to him and the Cherries.

    Keep up the good work sir,
    MOP13
    www.thedirtytackle.blogspot.com
    www.manonplatform13.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 10.

    Andrew, how very droll.
    I'd suggest you toddle off back to watching money-inflated, prima donna-ish, predictable rubbish in the premier plc and leave the real football to us proper fans.

  • Comment number 11.

    bmthmonty, how very predictable.

    I don't support a Premiership side, my team have recently found their level in the Championship after kidding ourselves to be a top flight club for 11 painful seasons.

  • Comment number 12.

    Great blog. I agree that it's shameful that the FL have prevented Steve Lovell playing for AFC Bournemouth, especially as they had a squad of 20 at the start of the season but lost one player.

    In response to the earlier post, AFCB has an embargo as there are outstanding debts that need to be paid. The tax man has been paid along with the football debts, but there must be something else!

    You can read more on the local rag's site - http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/sport/cherries/clubnews/4742466.Cherries__Now_for_the_embargo/

    Good luck to Eddie and the boys for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 13.

    Andrew (posts 7 and 11) - not a Boro fan by any chance? That would explain the rather downbeat feel to your posts. I'm off to watch your match at Peterborough soon. Wonder if Strachan will have picked up any points by then?

    Tom (post 6) - I'm not sure I've seen enough League Two teams often enough to make any solid predictions. Put it this way, I certainly wouldn't part with any money.

    What I would say is that I have been very impressed with the way the Daggers have coped after losing a couple of key players to Brentford.

    You cannot argue with Howe's exploits at Bournemouth so far but I do worry his lack of squad size could yet catch up with him.

    Rochdale fell short at the end of last season but Keith Hill is doing a cracking job there. Part of me thinks their fans due some good fortune.

    There are a few others - the likes of Bury, Chesterfield etc - who remain in the hunt.

    And then there is County..............

  • Comment number 14.

    Nice article

    Good luck to Eddie, i hope he does achieve promotion this year, and we have to congratulate the bournemouth board for taking the decision to give him the job.

    How about an article about league one thats not about leeds now? the plight of wycombe wanderers maybe.....i'm not biased, honest.

  • Comment number 15.

    Bournemouth have been almost to hell and back over the last few seasons, and there is noone that could have done what Eddie Howe has done. 11 months ago there was an air of despair around Dean Court, now look. Nowhere near out of the woods yet, but there is noone i would prefer to be there at the helm.

    Excellent news on turning down Posh, now lets keep going....

  • Comment number 16.

    He's doing a great job, but he's not Steve Tilson just yet

  • Comment number 17.

    Paul,

    You got it in one! A boro fan for my sins. Strachan's first few games in charge have hardly been ispiring but I do believe if given time and the chance to spend some money (£8M+ for the iminant departure of Johnson) he'll turn us back into a half decent side.

  • Comment number 18.

    Like LUCASAFCB I think Eddie has been an eye opener in many ways for Bournemouth, and the help he has received from Fletch has been immense but lets not forget Jason Tindall who has been at Eddies side throughout.

  • Comment number 19.

    The individuals that make up the Football League are not really football people at all, remember folks they are faceless Bureaucrats or " suits " in street language. Therefore you can't expect too much from them. The real football people are the fans and those that work for the various Clubs up and down the country. It's a shame I know but it's the world we live in.

  • Comment number 20.

    lsaafcb - i assume you mean Steve and not me! I was momentarily confused when I first read your post.

    Jonathan - I'm not going to make any friends saying this but I do think you are being harsh on the Football League. Bournemouth are an interesting example. Plenty of people feel they have been unfairly treated. But have a browse around the internet and you might find a few examples of fans/managers at other clubs suggesting the Cherries should have been more severely punished.

    Yes, the Football League have got plenty wrong but they definitely have a thankless task.

    wycombeswanderer - I'll bear that in mind. Any good angles?

  • Comment number 21.

    In light of Paul's latest comment, I would add that the FL bear some responsibilty for the Cherries present state, they very clearly failed in their checks on the people they allowed to buy the Club, one was widely considered a "Scally" on Merseyside, and so it proved. Nor did they apply any checks or controls to the new "owners" and sadly the "money man" whose businesses came under pressure as the recession deepened, didn't either, he was far too busy firefighting, and it cost him dear. I have no doubt that we are under tougher controls as a result of their "guilty conscience."It is always the supporters who pay the price though!

  • Comment number 22.

    Paul, Thank You for your response. A 17 points deduction before a ball had been kicked was designed to do one thing, consign the Club to the Conference. Only the efforts of Eddie, Jason, and the Players, prevented this from happening, unlike Luton Town, for whom things did not work out, and they duly lost their league status. Harsh maybe but reneging on the promises that were made by the Football League to Bournemouth, well..... that's harsh too. Let's not forget that.

  • Comment number 23.

    It's hard even as a Cherries fan to disagree with the points deduction last season as the previous owners did spend beyond our means and other clubs have had the same or worst deduction and especially as we stayed up but the emabrgo is another thing.
    The embargo was put in place with the understanding that we sorted our finances and had a squad of 20 players. Eddie took the decision to let our 2nd goalie go in September as we had outfield players carrying injuries and we could get a loan player in to make up the 20 but after he left the League moved the goalposts have said no we can't have any loan players even Eddie's brother for free and for no wages!
    In the last few months We've seen players struggle on for the last 20mins because they can't carry their injuries anymore but we've alreayd used all our subs for other injured players.
    They are heroes and we hope they haven't substained longterm injuries that could threaten their future football careers.
    The new owners have recently completed paying off our legacy debt to the HMRC and are working towards clearing other debts and getting the club on being stable financially but no hope it seems of the embargo being lifted for even 1 player.

  • Comment number 24.

    Steve Tilson is 5th longest serving manager
    I would regard Howe as similar to Tilson based on the challenges they have both faced, views on this?

  • Comment number 25.

    Excellent blog post Fletch. I'm a Bournemouth exile but my heart remains true. The club continues to be as financially secure as an Icelandic bank but has shown extraordinary resolve to bounce back from consecutive seasons of FA imposed points deductions. This year we started on a level playing field and are showing our true mettle.

    I do think that Bournemouth have been harshly treated by the FA over the past 3 years. The club was never financially reckless it has simply suffered, as many have, from the way wealth is distributed throughout the English Leagues.

    When Harry Redknapp was manager Bournemouth sold the likes of Ian Bishop, Efan Ekoku, Shaun Teale and Jamie Redknapp to top flight teams for decent sums of money, thus ensuring that the club could balance the books and new talent could be identified and nurthured. For better or worse, the days of the lower leagues acting as feeder clubs to the top flight have long been over and the money supply has been turned off.

    As Bournemouth fans we pride ourselves on a long history of playing the beautiful game how it should be played (well, maybe with the exception of the Pulis years!) but we also know that our existence is perennially under threat.

    Eddie Howe is one of those rare managers that the fans believe in and identify with. A young, but potentially great man.

  • Comment number 26.

    Bournemouth *were* scraping the barrel when Eddie was taken on as - initially caretaker - manager.

    He had been sacked along with Kevin Bond and Rob Newman 4 games into the season. In his case that was a very unpopular decision and he was taken back as part of the youth 'centre of excellence' setup. Kevin Bond's successor Jimmy Quinn pulled in Jason Tindall as his assistant. Things looked reasonable for a while but then the wheels came off and Quinn was on his way out. At this point, Eddie Howe was: a) one of the cheapest options (he had already had a contract before he was sacked), and b) prepared to keep Jason Tindall, the two had played together for years.

    It turned out that Eddie had known for some time that his knee injury was career threatening and had been watching the management at Portsmouth - his club at the time - very closely. Watching and learning.
    I don't think anyone imagined back then just how much he had learned. He gave one on-loan player a contract, brought in two other players from nearby non-league sides desperate to save wages by unloading players, and asked Steve Fletcher if he wanted to return. All four signings are stars, so are the rest of the team. The transfer embargo has been in place since around February, so now the assistant manager (Jason Tindall, retired through injury years ago) gets the occasional game, along with the odd schoolboy.

    Will he do a Dario Gradi and stay forever, or will he go? His choice, but I suspect he will get an offer he can't refuse in a few years. The previous chairman compared the two of them to Clough and Taylor. I'll go for that.

  • Comment number 27.

    Paul. I agree with your comment that we have to take our medicine with regard to the reasons for the embargo being in place, but aside from not realising that the previous owners were not fit and proper to run a football club, the medicine handed out by the FL has been inconsistent and guaranteed to give the patient an overdose.

    Some of the inconsistencies have been mentioned but don't forget that the previous season's 10 point penalty caused us to be relegated and the extra seven points deduction last year to the mandatory 10 was because of a previous financial problem 10 years before where the CVA had been repaid which was extremely harsh.

    The set up at the Football League needs to be overhauled as the decisions appear to be made by the backroom minions because whatever comes up on their Board Meeting agenda, there is always a chairman from a club having to declare a vested interest and not take part in that specific discussion or vote on the matter. How can you operate an organisation like that.

    Our problem stems from mainly the legacy of promotion to the old second division in the late 1980's and subsequent relegation, owning a decrepit old stadium where the stands and terraces were condemned with planning permission running out and not likely to be renewed, not having all the finance in place for the new stadium which then went over budget, demise of the UK transfer market/centrally agreed sponsorship and bad management decisions/professional advice.

    Unfortunately it's the fans that always seem to suffer.

  • Comment number 28.

    Great article Paul! Im only 17 myself, but have been going to the Bournemouth games since being in my mummies tummy! Im a local boy and am proud to call myself a Bournemouth supporter. Many friends query why i dont support a prem club, and in a way i just dont want to. I dont see any point in supporting a club such as Manchester United when i have never even been to Manchester, let alone seen one of their games live.

    The smaller clubs in the lower leagues never get enough credit in my opinion. We spent 9 weeks in a row at the top before the game against Bradford, and even a 1-1 draw away is a good result. But unless i have missed a weekend, we have not once been dead second or below. I think every game this season we have been either first or joint first, now who would knock a fact like that? In the month of September, we won 5 out of 6 games including the JPT tie with Yeovil, scoring 11 goals in these games. I think it was Rochdale's man who won the manager of the month that month. Which personally i think our star man Eddie should have got. Especially if you go deeper, and add the problems such as a 3/4 man bench, and the embargo, or even that Eddie is only a new boy.

    The mentality of the team however is brilliant. Which in a sense is helped by the embargo. No players can come in, so the current team all know each other, and have been playing together since February now, so we're starting to know how we all play, which is good. Havnt been able to get to many games this season, which has dissapointed me, btu as a student money is always tight! But come on lads. Lets hope that Rochdale and the Daggers draw this weekend, and we can get a win over the Maccers. Then we can show the Daggers tuesday night how we are not to be underestimated.

    Up The Cherries!!!

    Brennan

  • Comment number 29.

    Brennan - I take my hat off to you. Always good to hear about somebody resisting the temptations of the stellar Premier League clubs to support their local side.

    You are obviously a true and loyal football fan.

  • Comment number 30.

    Re: "Bournemouth are an interesting example. Plenty of people feel they have been unfairly treated. But have a browse around the internet and you might find a few examples of fans/managers at other clubs suggesting the Cherries should have been more severely punished."

    Please bear in mind this is now the third season of punishment.

    Season 1: Deducted 10 points which relegated us from League 1. Without the deduction we would have stayed up
    Season 2: Further deduction of 17 points and start of transfer embargo
    Season 3: Continuation of transfer embargo that means we can't sign players even if they offer to play for free or loan players where the parent club offers to pay all the wages. Result: 15 year olds on the bench and injured players playing through the pain and causing themselves further long term injury problems (see Mark Molesley)

    I think at the start of all this there was a certain amount of acceptance that we should have been punished (for the sins of the owners over which us fans have no control) but when your three seasons into that punishment it starts to feel like victimisation.

    I do wonder why these owners haven't been banned by the FL from ever being involved with a football club again. So the fans suffer but they can mooch along to another club if they want to and do the same again. That makes no sense.

    Other managers have also started to use the continued FL punishment as a convenient smokescreen as to why they might not get a good result against us. More than one has made comments along the lines of 'well if we spent money like them then we'd be up there'.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well said Kirsikka. Don't forget after suffering relegation with the 10 point penalty we lose our star young, home grown striker Sam Vokes, for a paltry £300k to pay the Administrator's costs. I believe any sell on benefit is 50/50 the Administrator/Club

    Player's being forced to play through the pain barrier out of loyalty to the club and their team mates is a major concern. Mark Molesley played for a few weeks with pain killing injections and now he has been advised to wear a protective boot to take the weight off his leg for 6 weeks and if this doesn't work then surgery is the only option which could put him out all season. Someone from the Football league are you reading this! We are now down to a senior squad of 16 players.

    With the third northern manager taking a pop at us for player excesses this week I would point out that none of our squad cost a fee. About half came from non-league, the rest a mixture of free transfers and those developed through the youth team. In the past our loan player's have been untried 18/19 year old's who weren't in with a shout of a first team game. I can't think of one that's come to us already with a pedigree. We have had so many now, all the higher divisions are littered with players who got their break on loan to us. By way of example, O'Grady and Whaley, goalscorers against us for Rochdale have a prior pedigree and were subject to fees in their careers.

    So we are where we are in the league as a result of Eddie's magic and an unprecedented bonding of a small group of players. It's certainly not a level playing field for us this year against your teams Mr Hill, Mr Coleman and Mr Alexander.

    Can you believe this for one of our pre Administration HMRC debts. The old club had a number of crisis bridging loans etc to balance out the cost of funding the new ground. The decision was taken to re-finance through a sale and leaseback of the ground. From memory we received £3m from the new landlords and this was all paid out. Subsequently it was then realised that VAT was due on this figure so suddenly we owed HMRC £475K and with no means of paying it! Eventually this was over half of the overall total that was owed to HMRC.

    We haven't got in this financial lameduck position with excessive salaries to players or paying out transfer fees. There's been a degree of incompetence, bad advice and the excesses of the previous owners who should never be let near another club again.

    At last we have a board who are now trying to get to grips with the financial side of the club but despite all the millionaire's on Sandbanks and locally, no one wants to be a white knight to put money into the club.

 

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