As you now know, SW19 has finally uploaded all news and match reports and articles from 1999 onwards. And yes, it was as much of a task to do as you think.
Anyway, even now, every so often I come across stuff that got lost in the annals of time, and which will get posted up if I find them relevant to today, which will prove beyond all doubt that I’m not rehashing old stuff to save me having to write anything about AFCW. Honest.
So…… yesterday, I talked about the wage problems that we could encounter in the BSP, after we couldn’t agree a deal with Willock. To give you an idea of what has changed, and more tellingly what hasn’t, I reproduce below a copy of an email sent to me anon :
Apparently according to the Deloitte and Touche report the Dons player wages in 98-99 accounted for 78% of our TURNOVER – i.e. not a good thing. Now taking as a rough guess that our Turnover will have roughly halved through relegation this means we could be in serious shit and it puts into perspective the recent sales.
As that was the 98-99 season it also doesn’t take into account the money we spent on players last season and the increase in wages that they brought about so I would be v.impressed if the Dons were breaking even at the mo. even with the current sales!
The date of this was 17 August 2000, just after we got relegated from the Premiership. It explained why we not only offloaded Carl “Cort” Cunt, Euell, Thatcher and Chris Perry, but also why the likes of Herman H got shunted off around then too.
Now, back then we were without even the leasehold to our own ground, let alone our own ground, and with a lot more turmoil off the pitch than our minds will let us compute.
When you consider the news of the last 24 hours about Willock, this info sends us a little reminder of just what we have to prepare ourselves for. Willock was apparently earning a LOT of money from his professional career, certainly much more than you would expect us to pay for our CEO. Apparently, top BSP strikers can be on Â£1500 a week, probably more if truth be told. With these figures it’s no wonder we pulled out.
Now, I finally managed to get hold of our latest wages-to-turnover ratio, no thanks to the OS. I think the OS was designed in about 2002 and boy does it show. It may look fancy with the main banner but to negotiate around it is what the kids would describe as a massive FAIL. SW19, being more old skool, would term it complete dog shit in finding out some pretty important information. People may hate the “corporate” websites that the likes of Luton have. Me, I’d happily have those, at least you can actually find stuff….
Anyway, the last figures (30/6/08) for AFCW were:
Admittedly, to me that seems quite a high figure, especially as this was in the Ryman Premier. Granted, this doesn’t just cover player wages (presume TB’s salary is included in this, and well worth every penny too) but it’s obvious that we’re creeping up to the figures of ten years ago.
So, what’s the conclusion? To be honest, there isn’t any. We’re going to have to generate more money, but without pissing off our fanbase – see, the thing is, we rather like being in the BSP. Plenty will be disappointed by us not signing Willock, and one wonders what will happen to our collective psyche if we’re not doing so well next season, yet we’re not even considering his calibre.
How are we going to go about keeping the accountants and the punters happy? First things first – don’t expect Â£12 to be the going-in price for much time past this upcoming season. No, I think it will be a step in the wrong direction too, but I’ve long given up on football clubs ever doing the right thing.
I can see our current approach to transfers (cheap but promising youngsters) continuing for a while too – we may get some loanees in next season, but those calling for an experienced midfielder will most probably be disappointed. I certainly hope and indeed expect our yoof teamers to start coming through the ranks – already we have Hussey and Kennedy, and Rapson is about to be offered a senior contract too.
Then there is something I don’t think we’ve ever had in the AFCW era – a transfer out that has got us money. OK, maybe the Shroot saga, but that whole situation was strange from beginning to end and I doubt counts as a “normal” transfer. Imagine Brighton signing Sam Hatton for Â£100k? That would solve more than a few problems at a stroke, not least forcing the boo-boys to find a new scapegoat for everything.
Even so, that may not be sufficient enough for us, especially if we are going to make a push to the League. Which let’s face it, is what we want deep down, even if you don’t admit it (we would be very strange fans if we weren’t). When you consider all this, it puts into perspective why Notts County and Wycombe have changed their own methods of funding.
I know that some (most?) of our lot were rather scathing about fans of those two clubs doing what they did. But they were dealing with a situation that we will now face ourselves. Not quite so straightforward now is it? Who knows how our approach will change, out of necessity if not choice?
For what it’s worth, I can see us doing more Barclay Loan-type transactions to get the likes of Willock in our colours in the near future. That may upset some, but the very real issue of funding at proper levels of football is about to become even more real. I don’t think we’ll go down the sole-funder route, I think we’re “safer” dealing with financial institutions who would be far more flexible in refinancing loans/debts than the local market-trader-made-good. Think Khosla. As a club I think we’re too “classy” to do that anyway.
Still, as the original snippet of info above and what we know today proves, when we have to deal with it ourselves, it’s quite sobering. We now have to decide what we really want and how we go about it. The era of tough and sometimes unpopular decision-making is upon us. Welcome toÂ football, professional style.
Though I would hope even we wouldn’t build up a 78% wage-turnover ratio…