CLUBS IN CRISIS
and Port Vale could be on the brink of financial ruin. The
collapse of ITV Digital has left them teetering on the edge of disaster.
been left unpicking a financial nightmare of immense proportions.
clubs now face perhaps the greatest challenge in their long histories
- to find a solution to their off-the-pitch woes.
City is already £30 million in debt and has just lost another
Vale is also struggling to keep a healthy bank balance, having lost
£400,000 in the digital collapse.
price of success
is big business. The Nationwide Football League's deal with ITV
Digital promised a brighter future for lower division clubs when
it was struck in 1998.
years later, the fall-out from the collapse of ITV Digital is devastating
with clubs' incomes falling dramatically.
Richard Shaw is one of the players to take a pay cut|
been estimated that the ITV Digital collapse has cost the clubs
relegated from last season's Premier League £4-£5 million.
spiralling cost of footballers' wage bills has been blamed for pushing
many clubs to the brink of financial ruin.
week Coventry City asked their players to take a 12.5% wage cut.
problem for relegated teams like Coventry is that they bring with
them a Premiership wage structure.
experts also believe that the player wage increases experienced
through the Football League, particularly in the Nationwide League,
have resulted in wages that are unsustainable.
total wage bill in 2001/02 was over £19 million. It's
not surprising that they're now feeling the pinch.
of the fittest
what's the solution for our Division One and Two clubs if they're
way forward for many clubs is attracting young talent and disposing
of high earners.
are worried that some clubs will go to the wall|
Vale Chairman Bill Bell says, "It just gets harder every year.
I've had to cut my players' wages bill by 30%."
club has also reduced the size of its squad to make the books balance.
The Valiants have already released Northern Ireland international
Jon McCarthy to trim the club's wage bill this season.
Vale's manager Brian Horton told the club's web site, "Finances
play a big part in football now."
a situation as managers where you can't win because you don't want
to sell you better players".
at the end of the day, the club has to survive financially and we
are finding it difficult at the moment, for various reasons."
wage packets could be a thing of the past for players in the Nationwide
League and lower divisions.
Haynes started the boom in players' salaries|
at least it isn't as bad as it was in the early days of the Football
the late 1950s the maximum wage for a footballer was a paltry £20
1961 the Players' Union won its battle to abolish the maximum wage,
were free to negotiate their terms.
Haynes of Fulham was immediately paid £100 a week - a forerunner
of today's high salaries.
what chance do our Nationwide League and Second Division teams have
of surviving in the current climate?
Edworthy in happier playing days|
football experts suggest a redistribution of football's wealth.
point to the need for better financial management by the clubs themselves.
They also suggest
that clubs could form new partnerships, and even set up supporters'
thing is certain - players
will have to increasingly justify their salaries.
Premiership and Coventry player Mark Edworthy is one of the victims
of the football recession.
had to play unpaid for three months just to secure a contract.
week he accepted a new contract from promotion hopefuls Wolverhampton
the outcome of the ITV Digital dispute, footballers like Edworthy
an uncertain future.
football can sort out its finances, it's possible that our national
game will not be able to support the number of clubs it does at