Rewind The Week That Never Was

THAT was the week that never was…
So, we are up and running again after a frustrating spell abandoned in a layby on the information super-highway, silenced by circumstance at the worst possible time. My deadline day blog was a sad and lonely affair. Everyone knew it was on and there would be beer and everything but no-one turned up, a bit like Afonso’s leaving do.
But we have time to make up. Here’s what I would have said.

Where’s the money gone?
We’ve spent it. All of it. All the TV money, all the gate income and much more besides –
was spent and it still didn’t cover the wage bill. Transfer fees were extra and the tab for the shortfall created the toxic debt (which stood at a reported high-water mark of £93m less than a year ago) – debt either directly to Steve Gibson himself or to banks with the chairman and his companies acting as guarantors.
Most of the dosh went on players. Loads of them, all the players the fans demanded, the big names, the internationals, the foreign Fancy Dans we saw on YouTube, and all on big fees and/or massive wages – and we never got a penny back to fund their replacements when we sold them – Maccarone, Ugo, Viduka, Southgate, Zenden et al. That failure to recoup and the need to borrow more to replace them added to the growing deficit – but we all demanded more.
And the dosh went on building the structure of a new club light-year away from the ramshackle outfit at Ayresome Park, a club with a new ground, state of the art training facilities, a highly respected academy that has churned out first team players and provided internationals at every level, and on a community initiative that runs education and inclusion projects in some of the most economically deprived areas in the country, an added extra that does little for the team but everything to reinforce the precious organic link between the club and the community.
And the cash was splashed on chasing the dream. It is easy to slag off the powers that be for running up debts with wild abandon but maxing out Gibbo’s plastic paid for three trips to Wembley, it paid for Juninho, Ravanelli, Ince, Gascoigne, Boksic, Yakubu, Alves and all the usual suspects and it paid for Steve McClaren’s highly paid off the peg team that made history and won silver at Cardiff and went close again at Eindhoven after a still barely believable European adventure.
It was a golden age and not one Boro fan, not even the congenitally grumpy, would change it for the world. Neither, if they really admitted it, would they trade it for the humdrum mid-table grind of Bolton or Fulham or any of the other clubs we are now supposed to suddenly envy… or Stoke, no matter how many of our millstones they buy.
But now it is time to pay the bills and that is why the trophy players were cashed in. Lamby admitted in a retrospective statement of the obvious through lips prised open with a post-deadline crowbar that the loss of income after relegation forced Boro’s hand and prompted a major refinancing that revolved around slashing debt and wages through player sales. The £20m plus raised by the exit of Downing, Huth, Tuncay and Alves went to pay the banks.
The recent radical turn to actually selling key players for a hefty profit – Downing and Tuncay especially on that front – is a painful but necessary development if the club wishes to stabilise and regroup successfully.
And if it hadn’t been done – and this is the real bottom line – Boro may not have got through the season intact. If the agreed debt reductions had not been achieved Boro would have been in breach of banking covenants and the creditors could have called in the administrators to get their cash back. That would have meant a fatal point deduction and the exit of far more players.
For the foreseeable future we will need to use loans, frees and the bargain bin to plug the gaps and accept that our newly lowered wage ceiling will prevent us signing many World Cup winners, household names or 20 goal a season international hitmen – or even Rob Hulse.
We are not unique in that. Doom-mongers (*puts up hand sheepishly*) have been saying for years that the crazed Premier League spending frenzy was unsustainable and sooner or later a club was going to go belly-up because they over reached. Such voices have been shouted down by the intoxicated who have readjusted their blindfold and urged their precarious clubs to raise their credit limit and smash the transfer record again and again without the slightest concern for financial reality.
But the financial landscape has changed drastically. Credit is now hard to get and very expensive. Ask anyone trying to get a mortgage. And the bigger the sum being borrowed the more punitive the charges, tighter the payment schedules and steeper the penalties for defaulting. Clubs asking for loans or have existing overdrafts rescheduled are being told to slash debts dramatically or face being taken over by the banks.
Portsmouth have admitted twice almost going under during the summer. Peter Storrie revealed the club’s summer fire sale was to slash £60m in debt and to repay a £36m loan to Standard Bank due this week.

“I don’t want to talk about what would have happened. I want to talk about the future. It isn’t a gamble. It simply had to be done. The most important thing for us was to keep Portsmouth Football Club afloat. Because of the credit crunch, our previous owner felt that he had to sell the club. It is a situation that could happen to several clubs.
“We had the assets to be able to adjust to that. The money from selling players has gone to the banks and so has the TV income. We have managed to get the payroll down to a sensible level. People should give us a bit more credit for doing what we’ve done, rather than just shutting up shop.”

West Ham were also close to going to the wall. Already in a mess after Iceland went bust – the country, not Kerry Katona’s wholesale party snack supplier – the Hammers’ losses last season put them in breach of their credit terms and only the goodwill of the banks prevented administration.
They lost £37.4m for the year ending 2008 which they covered by more borrowing to push their net liabilities over £100m. They too embarked on a drastic series of cuts and sold £12m worth of players to pay debts but still broke their banking covenants. That meant the five banks that had funded emergency loans of more than £20m just to pay their bills and keep trading after the Iceland implosion could have demanded immediate repayment – a move that would have plunged them immediately into administration and condemned them to a ten point penalty and relegation.
While we’ve been down I received the annual pre-season Equifax accountants credit score index for the Premier League clubs (I am on some fascinatingly dry mailing lists) and it does not make good reading.
Ten clubs, including many who fans often insist we should “be more like” – Fulham, Villa, Portsmouth, Everton, Chelsea, Bolton, Wigan, Hull, Stoke and Burnley – are now technically insolvent and have liabilities that outweigh their assets and income and so find themselves, like West Ham, dependent on the confidence and indulgence of the bankers. If they look like going down – and hence having their income halved – if could prompt their money men to take drastic action to take their cash out first.
Elsewhere in the list Liverpool have hauled themselves out of that category by an expensive summer refinancing and Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs all have high debt levels but the banks are happy to support their continued borrowing because they have strong revenues.
Hull (spend, spend, spend on fees and wages…. £12m invested in Jimmy Bullard alone) are judged to be at most risk and have a credit rating of ZERO out of 100. Portsmouth are still seen as very vulnerable with a credit rating of just 2 along with Stoke, Burnley and Wigan who do not have the income to meet their debts if they go down.
Boro’s controlled but drastic debt cutting approach has won some praise in the press but has not gone down well with fans grown used to lavish spending.
Tough. We have to wake up to the reality. No amount of anguished wailing will change club’s direction. It is not a whim. Or pique. Or profit taking…. there is no profit to take. And unless some billionaire with a Boro tattoo on his bum turns up with a magic chequebook there really is no alternative.
ALVES has left the building… a £13m PR stunt that turned sour. They thought they were buying a new Juninho with a built in bums on seats guarantee that could electrify the team and galvanise the crowd. It turned out they were buying the Brazilian Missimo Maccarone, a player who looked good if only you squinted but who failed to deliver and who was an unmitigated financial disaster.
We all wanted to sign him because he looked great on YouTube but his signing was ill researched, over-priced, came with a red tape nightmare and ultimately the money could have been better spent on James Beattie and creative midfielder.
Those who want to use him as a stick to beat Southgate with are free to do so… he wasn’t used right, he wasn’t managed right, he was allowed to drift and become demotivated etc. But at the end of the day he had plenty of chances on the pitch to show what he could so – and missed them all. He was physically weak – and his mental attitude can be clearly seen in that he would rather go and play in a glorified rich mans’ hobby league in a football backwater than prove himself in a competitive one.
Meanwhile, the blog may have been down but I’ve been running a truncated service on Untypical Boro’s Twitter, the trendy celebrity micro-social network where me and my A-list bessies like Stephen Fry, Jonno Ross and Darren Bent hang out.
Here’s a things of interest that I’ve linked to over the last week.
Which current Boro hero – described as “Tall, slim, speedy, scores goals… sort of van Basten” – has been put in the spotlight by the big club schoolkid slave trade row?
“This is British Pathe News at Ayresome Park….” some fantastic grainy black and white news reel footage of George Camsell and the lads in training back in 1936
And here’s a brilliant DIY lower league cyber scouting tool. Simply put in the qualities and position you are looking for and a division to search in and it ranks all the players that match. Try putting in “striker,” “workrate” and “Championship” and see who it recommends….


80 thoughts on “Rewind The Week That Never Was

  1. Get Viduka in on pay for play until January he is exactly what we are looking for upfront. He will have the shop window he needs to find a club and will have to perform and be picked to be paid. He still lives in the area.
    This gives us time to negotiate to get the right man at the right price in Jan.
    Viduka is not realy my cup of tea but in this situation i think its a win win for both parties

  2. Two loan signings expected to sign soon, possibly one before the Ipswich game ( AV have any ideas?
    Tim from sa – Viduka has decided to live in Australia (SSN)
    **AV writes: Yes. One maybe tomorrow, one early next week from a Premier League club but I can’t say who yet. Pain of death.

  3. AV: We know every club is in financial trouble Man Utd, Liverpool, Pompey … Newcastle .. so why should the Boro be immune ?
    One question? If we had survived let’s say on goal difference would the Boro and Gibson be in better financial position than they are now ?
    **AV writes: Yes, of course. They would be £25m better off and would be in a far, far stronger position to renegotiate their debt schedules in the bank… but I think they would still have sold the ones who have gone. The need to slash the wage bill and debts would still be there but would not be as pressing.

  4. I agree it is a good idea to remind people that unsubstantiated comments intemperately expressed, quite apart from downright scurrilous untruths, could land them (or you and the Gazette) into expensive legal waters.
    I’d be surprised if members of the management don’t read this blog regularly. In that case, I’d also be surprised if one particular gentleman doesn’t smile when he sees reference to his unaccountable liking for dark cloaks and the cliffs at Whitby. And as for staking out the Blood Bank intent on making, let’s say, a withdrawal…. maybe the least said is the better option.
    Mind you, I’ll bet his family send him lots of cards at Hallowe’en, with a knowing wink. I bet he loves the notoriety of it all! But how does he shave in the morning?
    And do I take it from Smogonthetyne, above at 2.07pm, that the Playfair soccer annual has now been overtaken by the PS2 handbook for anyone needing contract details, height, weight, chosen breakfast cereal, favourite colour etc?

  5. Some interesting posts re the argument Gibbo knows what he is doing versus his time is over at the club.
    The damning evidence that Gibbo has lost it (for some reason he thought it was impossible for us to go down, what games did he watch?) is his rabbit in the car headlights attitude in january when it was obvious we were going down with Gareth Southgate as manager.
    Was it pig headedness that he didn’t sack GS or was he out of ideas and energy?. Seems he is now out of cash as well, it seems strange all the other clubs moved heaven and earth to cling onto PL status either changing managers or getting in some new players – we signed Marlon King which tells us everything we need to know about the situation in the dressing room and the boardroom. So we were left with a dysfunctional squad, an ineffective manager and a paralysed chairman.
    Roll forward to this season a great start but the lack of depth and the inexperience of the squad will surely prevent us from getting promotion. Our 2 main assets must be concerned and Johnson must be waiting for a better offer in January.
    Southgate will take this club nowhere because he is a poor manager and I can’t believe he will survive another season. I used to call for Southgate out – now it’s Southgate and Gibbo.

  6. AV, Boro should employ you to explain to fans what is going on all the time. They obviously won’t or can’t do it themselves. And unless someone does people’s imagination runs wild and rumours take the place of real facts.
    I’m enjoying the season so far. Winning has helped but I’m just glad to be out of the Premiership and the weekly grind of playing teams who are even more scared of losing than we are.
    I’ve been to a couple of away games and it has been a brilliant atmosphere. If only the silent misery guts at the Riverside could make home games that bouncing.

  7. We have to get behind the team, starting tomorrow at Ipswich. Outside of the top six football is cyclic though every Boro fan could see our demise into the Championship coming a mile off.
    I still, and will never understand if cost cutting measures were in place why we signed Alves. I can’t understand why we would be prepared to sign Hulse for £4m after letting Tuncay go for £5 million to Stoke.
    I can’t understand why we signed Gascoigne for £4m quid, and let him destroy the team bus and finish his career with nothing to show for it. I can’t understand why Bolo Zenden is now a free agent and probably off to Hull. But then again we have had lots of players who thought the grass was greener on the other side who went to ‘bigger’ clubs and their careers suffered.
    But the recent demise and relegation of the club was completely avoidable – we all know that. But would we as fans be prepared to be coffin dodgers every season – ala Charlton all those years ago. Well no – we all know when it started, with the West Ham defeat in the semi final of the FA Cup. And with McClaren leaving. And cost cutting.
    There is no easy answer, other than to say that last season the club brought it on themselves. And now they expect the fans to embrace the additional cost cutting – because the books must be balanced because of the £20m shortfall that comes with relegation. Take a good look at yourself Mr Lamb. I wouldn’t like the reflection, principally because you have wasted a lot of money and secondly, because you would crack a mirror.
    Absolutely dispair at the fact that we would still pursue Hulse for £4m when we sold Tuncay for £5m. This has Lamb written all over it. Sure he was there from the 1986 Henderson days and saving the Boro back then, but Boro really really desperately need a new Chief Executive to stop us losing money so stupidly. If Lamb had got the chop when Robson went and got a reasonably talented individual in, Gibson would have saved money.
    Lamb is the problem. Simple as.

  8. AV
    One thing I forgot to add about the Unholy Trinity is that they seriously mismanaged the resources available over the past year or so.
    Putting Afonso Leavs to one side there was still the wholesale culling of central midfielder player with no replacements other than a one legged, crocked Frenchman for the future. That was a huge gamble to take with poor odds of success.
    The sale of Young and the purchase of Hoyte was another with little chance of working in the short term. M&S was something for the future as well.
    We culled the experience, unbalanced the team and spent money for the future that needed to be allocated to the here and now. Or not spent at all, may as well keep as waste it with Digard treatment table warming, Hoyte bench warming and M&S running about to little effect.
    So the Trinity are certainly not evil but they contributed hugely to our relegation.

  9. Excellent piece AV! About time that as a respected journo you put across the condition of the club. Outside of the local blogs I have read that football fans admire the way the club has gone about the restructuring. Here it’s “idiotic” bloggers asking the question “where’s the money gone?”
    Half educated football fans are vaguely aware of the state of the club, the state of the economy etc but it will only hit home to these fans who have only known the Premiership when people like yourself put it down in black and white. Even this article has still not got through to a few – which is a shame. This article should be a reality check for a few. Good work AV.
    Mind you the focus will all change at the weekend when Gate plays Corporal over Coyne! Talk about digging your own grave.

  10. News breking up that Boro sign Preston defender Sean St Ledger today. The Republic of Ireland international sounds a good loan (and permanent signing in January) as he is just 24 trs old. He could be making his debut against Ipswich Town tomorrow?
    Early next week GS is adding Hull striker Caleb Folan. Any details about him?
    Now just a midfielder (if Shawky has disappeared to the black hole) is needed anymore…
    Up the Boro!

  11. Two goals a game? How the hell are we going to score two goals a game, targeting the sort of strikers Southgate has pencilled in, so far?
    It’s all very well ‘only wanting people who want to play for the club’ but on top of that, they need to be of some worth.
    Who is reccommending players like Folan? Do we have any scouts? If it’s Southgate himself, please update his copy of Football Manager

  12. Alves scored 13 in 37 games for the Boro, Folan 31 in 191 in his career.
    How is Folan going to benefit us in anyway. He has as many cards as goals. It is another Jason Euelluseless signing, keep the wages in the bank.
    I see Alan Smith is now being trotted out as a spokesman. You never know we may get some common sense out of him.

  13. Finally a bit of positive news. It appears that a deal for St Ledger is almost complete & he may be in contention to play against Ipswich. At 24yo, I think he is exactly the type of player we should have been buying years ago. Even if all does not go swimmingly, at least he will have some resale value, which is a bit of a novelty for the Boro.
    I’m not quite so sure about buying Folan from Hull though. 15 goals in 102 appearances is hardly the strike rate of a player who will cost a couple of million quid. With a bit of luck, the Barcodes might outbid us at the last minute & offer him their usual ridiculous wage packet ! James Vaughan on loan seems an infinitely better option to me.
    Hopefully this post will get through the system. I actually lost my first post “into the ether” as I believe some posters on here describe it, the other day. I’m thinking of it as a rite of passage in my Untypical Boro journey, as I seem to be one of the few who has not had it happen before. My luck had to run out eventually I suppose!
    **AV writes: Those posts go into the Black Hole. It gives Shawky and Josh something to read to keep their spirits up.

  14. The prospective loan signings mooted today promote mixed feelings.
    St. Ledger is regarded by PNE fans as their best player is 24 and in the Republic squad/team.Excellent business if it can be done. Folan is a player most Hull fans would drive to Teesside to get rid of.Other than the fact he is tall he has a poor scoring record and is basically a lower league donkey.Surly Sam Vokes at Wolves or James Vaughan at Everton are much better bets.Why go for proven non quality???

  15. I don’t think there are too many “half educated or idiotic bloggers” (as Davwind claims) on here asking where the money has gone. We are all too aware of what has happened to it and where it has gone. Quite simply it appears to us that SG ran the club with his heart rather than his head and there is no shame in that. Indeed a lot of us, myself included may have been tempted to do the exact self same thing.
    The frustration and anger however is that what precious and scant resouces we had (and lets face it we were never in the same league as Manchelarsepool) have been wasted before our very eyes and our screaming rants over the years were largely ignored as though we were the “Antiboro”.
    None of us wanted what is now reality and yes we wanted glamour (who doesn’t?) but we (and Bernie) seen the rails coming off a long, long time ago but were not only ignored but castigated for it. We are all in this together but if the fans had been listened to we wouldn’t have been in quite so deep and even today this lesson does not appear to have been fully learned.
    In fairness Alan Smith’s comments seem to be a bit more frank and straight than previous club communications, I just hope this continues for the sake of Boro over MFC.

  16. davwind – maybe Coyne refused to sign a new contract?
    Seriously though, Gareth would really wind up the fans if he puts Jones straight back between the sticks with no logical “injury” to Coyne. That would indicate too much about his management style, which appears to be based upon favourites. Hopefully common sense will prevail.
    The loan signings should provide some interest in the next couple of weeks. I know nothing of St Ledger, however if he wants to come to the club (a la “Football Consultant” Smith) and is young and hungry – then it would be good all round.
    Folan is a mystery though…he may be tall, however that isn’t necessarily the only attribute needed to be the “big target man”. As others have commented, if we have indeed been offered Vaughan from Everton we should snap their hands off.
    We all know what a hitherto under-played Frazier Campbell did for Hull’s promotion bid, and Vaughan is a young and hungry striker with arguably a greater eye for goal than any of our current incumbents. 39 PL matches in his career and 6 goals – although most of those appearances were probably as a substitute, so it improves slightly.
    Folan’s stats at Premier League level are 34 games and 3 goals – and he probably started quite a few of those games.
    Of course, stat’s don’t say everything, but I know who I’d rather we got in.

  17. Great blog AV agree with all you say.
    Must say Mr Smith step forward and take a bow for telling as it is. Once again I think thats all that Boro fans want is plain and simple as it is.

  18. What happened to the plan of relying on local talent? After Yeates and Coyne come St Leger and Folan – plus maybe it’s not too late to get Healy on loan too – also doesn’t that O’Neil have a touch of the shamrock?
    No wonder Gareth has started sounding different at his press conferences…
    “Wi’ al’ de new signings Oi’m gonna ‘av ter start changin’ me accent for team talks – Can yer score us a few goals big fella!”
    “By de way we are gonna change Pigbag to de Wild Rover – to be sure”
    **AV writes: “so long as we get d’ tree points”

  19. Following the Irish connection how about setting Boro on Craggy Island and casting Gate as Father Ted, Coops as Father Dougal, Lambie as Father Jack and Sue Watson as Mrs Doyle.

  20. How many years of history do Middlesbrough have? How many of those years did we do nothing – not even a FA Cup semi?
    The past 12 years have been a period of huge over acheivement. Bankrolled by Gibson with a high profile manager to attract the players (Robson). ’97 was the best season I experienced and wouldn’t change the good times.
    Be very grateful for the recent history, it might be a long time coming back!

  21. “Terry said:
    p.s. the search engine produce no one – I take it thats your point!!??”
    I got Danny Graham. I thought THAT was AV’s point… 😉
    **AV writes: yes, I got Danny Graham

  22. Re: The Gazette “Smithy article!”
    Don’t be conned by the “spin” of this pre-meditated article – spin, spin, spin and more spin.
    The whole article and Smithy’s comments stink of a cover up and ultimate admission that mistakes have been made at our beloved club and that certain people, still in their “comfy” positions, at our club should not be allowed off the hook at the expense of Tuncay’s and Huth’s attitude and cost to the club!
    Conclusion – Smithy is been used as a PR puppet!!!
    What say you AV?

  23. “Are you a fan? or did you sit moaning over UEFA Cup football and at Eindhoven because the figures didn’t add up? What about winning the League Cup? Was it just papering over the cracks because the team was paid for on the never never? They are my two greatest mmemories in 40 years following the Boro ”
    Yes son an excellent Boro fan for 48 years actually, man and boy. Did you deliberately ignore the bit where I give a big thumbs up to the McClaren era? The League Cup win was a day we all only ever dreamed of ever experiencing, and in the context of our parents generation considered myself fortunate to have lived to see the day.
    Steve Gibson was rightly given the credit for those heady days but I was referring to the period prior to this and the shocking era of mismanagement we are currently suffering under. He is only human you know, not a deity, he can make mistakes – shock horror.
    We can’t keep living in the past of this reflected glory in an attempt to justify the current incompetent regime of G.S. and co. He who lives in the past has no future.
    I don’t accept the premis that the Robson era was a time of unqualified success and greatness. There were some good times and some awful incidents of embarrising failure because he headed a regime that was often shown to be akin to that of a Sunday morning pub side.
    Our first major Cup Final should have seen Brian Robson making history as being the first Boro manager to win us a major trophy. Instead his woeful mismanagement of a superior team on the day, cost us dearly.
    I was of course delighted with the financial backing that Steve Gibson provided at that time, my point then as is now was that it was futile because the people given the responsibility to realise the return on such expensive outlays were utterly and totally unqualified and incapable of delivering. Where are they now?
    In other words, throwing money at trying to build a football team and thinking everything would just fall into place as if by magic, would end in tears, and I was proved right.
    Quote at that time from the Corriello Del Sport on the situation at the Boro: “Middlesbrough are like a builder constructing a house by starting at the roof. ” They were right, no solid foundations or long term strategy.
    I was not the only critic of course; some time later Ravenelli blamed Robbo directly for the loss of that Final. Also some time later the woeful Viv Anderson claimed the man marking of Juninho cost us the Cup. Funny that one, I could have sworn we were 1 – 0 up with 1 minute of extra time left; and as they say, the rest is history.
    Viv Anderson was not always that funny, most of the time I could of cried.

  24. Back onto the Championship roller coaster with six matches in 21 days. The first five in 17 days brings us to the mythical ten game test.
    There is little time between games for fine tuning so it will be a test of our mettle against six teams who, pre season, could argue they will be thereabouts for at least play off places.
    The first of those against struggling Ipswich will tell us a lot about the the teams character. Typical Boro would happily gift them a kick start to their season.
    A victory would see us amongst the pace setters, defeat would drop us into the pack. A draw would be little better than a defeat as it would show a lack of bottle.
    We have been talking a good game and the results have been good, City apart. It is time to kick on or lose touch. Bringing in a non striking striker will do little to generate more points, St Ledger might help us save a few. What we have will have to get us around the top of the table by Xmas.
    I suspect a nervy 2-1 win with the spectre of the weak willed Typical Boro in the background.

  25. Ok we have now heard from several people at the club that the money invested in the club was not by Steve Gibson but by banks with Gibson as a guarantor. This money has to be paid back and is not a gift from the Steve Gibson, never has been. This has just been the untruth not corrected since the begining!
    Lamb has basically stated this in his interview.’We started with nothing and are 30 million in debt but we have a squad and a stadium…blah’ SO CAN PEOPLE STOP STATING THAT STEVE GIBSON HAS BANK ROLLED THE CLUB…THIS IS NOT THE TRUTH……………….Please read the interviews over the last few weeks and understand….he has merely ..acted as a guarantor for the debt! The banks have been the people bank rolling the club as with most clubs !!

  26. I am hoping to see a decent squad out today with not to much TINKERING from Gareth.
    Vaughan from Everton is what we need on loan.
    Up the BORO

  27. Tosh talking more, well tosh
    “I thought he had learned his lesson when appointing somebody of more substance in the guise of Steve Mclaren”
    So a coach/no.2, with no managerial experience is somebody of substance? I’m sure you were saying that after his first game Tosh. It’s amazing how Italy’s premier sports paper, the white feather and good old Viv have also endorsed your unique view.
    PS if you could just let me know next weeks Euro millions numbers, i promise to buy Gibbo out and install Martin O’Neil 🙂

  28. Well said Chris, a proper mythbuster. It is so obvious that we are a major victim of the “credit crunch” that we , like many more did not see coming.
    If the club had appointed somebody into the key role as manager that had the experience, intelligence and ability to handle such a difficult period of belt tightening our position would not have become so dire.
    The arrival of the “credit crunch” was compounded by the fact we entrusted the key role of manager to someone who was not up to the task; again!

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