And after all the excitement and euphoria of yesterday comes…………. nothing. Well, nothing from WFC as such, more on them later. However, plenty of others getting in on the act – the Football League have already pre-empted any legal action from WFC on “restraint of trade” – Burns says that the FL’s decision is final and that it can’t be a restraint of trade as WFC are still trading. Owch. WISA and Merton are plugging Plough Lane more than ever, which leaves WFC…..
It appears that the sheer quickness of the decision by the FL has seriously shaken the club. It took about 18 odd hours for WFC to make even one comment, and the press release they DID release was something a 10 year old could have written (I won’t bother publishing it here, needless to say that WFC received the ruling by fax – this despite Burns phoning up Koppout personally straight after the result – and are considering all options). I went over to SP today (was working) and there were no cars from the VIPs anywhere. From the tone of the statement, WFC are seriously pissed off with the ruling – if anything, they’ve had a severe rebuke from the FL over it, and I doubt if that will temper their anger.
So, what next? WFC are in a bit of a quandry it appears – the feeling is that they want desperately to take it to legal means, but the FL are indiginant over this, and as said very early this morning WFC would probably get seriously damaged by a court case anyway. Thinking about it, not only will WFC have to fight against the rules of an organisation that they’re a member of, but it’s pretty likely that they’ll have to prove that they’re in financial stuck. And a simple “we’re Â£8m in debt” comment by Koppout ain’t gonna impress the High Court is it?
Also, I would wager that the entire way WFC does business would have to be examined in court, and that would get a few people sweating. There are other options – firstly, the Premier League are an unknown quantity, some suggest they’re more pro-MK than the FL, but then I don’t think anyone’s actually asked them yet about it. If they are more pro the move, then this puts them on a collision course with the FL, so logic wise at least, they should be siding with our Preston friends. The old “asset stripping” comment comes into play – you know, sell the best players to get the money back. Except I thought that was illegal anyway (if not, why when teams like Hull and Wolves came close to going under, their players weren’t sold? Transfers only seem to balance the wage bills, not count as anything more tangible), so that may not be as immediate an option for WFC as first thought.
There are two other options for WFC. One is for the club to sack Koppout and BRG takes over again, and rebuild the now burnt bridges. Deckchair arranging? Perhaps, though check out January 2001 news archives (when I put them up of course 🙂 ) for BRG’s hints on what he really thinks of CK – there could be hope on that score. The other option is for the Nogs to sell up, and this may not be as unlikely as it may seem. I have no doubt that there is at least one person who is currently eying up WFC, I can’t prove it, just an instinct on this. If somebody comes in with a Â£15m offer for the club, I bet it will change hands quicker than you can say “tax loss”. For KIR certainly, who is getting a bit of a rough ride in Norway, this going on is the last thing needed, and the first opportunity he gets to bolt, he’ll take it. You watch.
Other than that, it really is a case of “wait and see”. We can sleep much easier tonight, I bet there are some at WFC who will need to burn a lot of midnight oil though. Try not to laugh at their predicament, they did after all bring it entirely on themselves, and just look forward to Burnley tomorrow….