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Trouble at pit

Only 4,500 or so bothered to turn up to see Commuters 1 Unemployed Yorkshire Miners 0, which is just as well because it was absolutely fucking dire. Carl Cort scored, and missed a few headers as well, but that was about it. Harry got a nice reception, which was pleasing to see. Unfortunately, this was yet another FA Cup tie at SP, dead as a Dodi. Drillo wasn’t impressed, he said that when we play against better sides, we will need to raise our game. How true….still, we’re in the next round. Hopefully it’s be away from SP.

The real news of the day, as it usually does, happened off the pitch. Thanks to a hastily arranged meeting, a group of us (including SW19, W&WW, It Must Be Dons, G Spot and one or two other of the crack Womble posse) got to use the Croydon Advertiser box at SP for a meeting with David Barnard and none other than Svein Bakke, father of Erik, ex-banker and footballer and the target for much of SH’s venom this last week.

The original idea was SH and Bakke together in the same room (weapons prohibited), but when we got there at 2pm, it turned out that Svein was nowhere to be seen, nor was SH or indeed KIR (who wasn’t there at all, lucky sod). To cut a long long story short, David Barnard was the compere, and he was probably as good a man as ever to do proceedings.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Firstly, Bakke is a cross between Mike Osmond, Ian Ormindroid and Nicholas Lyndhurst. And he’s a massive bloke. Secondly, he speaks good English. And thirdly, he seems to know what he’s talking about. The meeting was to clarify things that were stirred up in the press this week, and here I think is where the mis-understanding took place.

Every year, WFC formulates a business plan, which seems to revolve around which players to sell, which to buy, when to buy them etc. The priority is definitely the playing staff, which is logical. The misunderstanding came about when KIR forgot about WFC’s business plan, especially about selling players : the £3m shortfall came about because we bought players before we had sold sufficient, and because KIR refused to fund a bridging loan, that’s where all the problems started.

So why then is Svein Bakke at WFC? Well, KIR wanted a man operating at WFC who not only knew the figures but could “understand” football as well. Now, whether that will mean that Bakke will remain there until after Christmas is anyones guess, I think that what he’ll find out will shape the way the club is run (I doubt if KIR will ignore the report somehow). SH can sleep easy though – he’s not in it for running it day-to-day.

Interesting stuff on the ground situation : David Barnard conceeded that once a “base” is set up, the moneyspinning stuff will fall into place rather nicely. Now this can fall one of two ways : either the club sees SP as “the answer” and will use SP as its base (with maybe retail in Wimbledon), or (more likely) a new base will be found, stadium gets built and we can plan from then on. The money shouldn’t be a problem, I would imagine that that would come as part of the WFC business plan.

Sounds good? One snag – the club says it can’t find a site. Well, by that, it means it can’t find a site in either Merton, Kingston, Sutton (what about Beddington Lane?) or Richmond. Basically, SH and Ned Hammam deal with that side of it, and they find it extremely difficult to find anywhere (though David Barnard promises that SH is keen on a new site, and wants it built as a lasting legacy, or “monument”). I asked about Surrey, suggesting as I did in “Ground Into Submission” (see Articles) : unfortunately, I forgot the answer (sorry).

I have a suggestion for the club, if anyone is brave to bring it up : I’m definitely going to be accused of SH-bashing again, but this is a legit and constructive question : why not let somebody else apart from the Hammams try and negotiate for a site for WFC? Who knows, maybe a different approach is called for, fuck we need one badly – the club have virtually come out and said it now – and this urgency is possibly shown insofar as a new ground is being talked off less and less as a long term thing and more increasingly short term.

I think Svein Bakke appreciates this, and I’ll be interested to find out exactly what his report mentions about that. My own feeling on grounds is still Gatwick, because SH has not ruled it out. It would fit in well with the WFC business plan, and if SH is as keen to have a “monument” built as people say he is, then he may well seek KIR’s obvious clout to get it pushed through. Plus, it could well get KIR off SH’s back with regards to ground stuff…..

Overall, the meeting was very useful. I think Svein Bakke gave a good account of himself, he didn’t really try to shirk any questions, I got an insight into how WFC works (I suppose I should really have gathered how it worked already, but it’s nice to know exactly how it all pans out). Bakke is keen on discussing the report with the militant Wombles again, after it’s published, and we are assured that although it won’t be made “public”, it will be open to any WFC fan prepared to come into the admin offices and have a quick browse. So, who said that the day was wasted?

BTW, I have now found out that the Aftenposten article wasn’t entirely true. So yet another hot rumour goes splat. The thing was, it’s not clear whether SH met Bakke, so there could well be tension behind the scenes anyway (despite the now apparent united front). Seems like a wait and see policy again.