Saturday, February 21, 2009

Things Could Always Be Worse, Gunners.

I realize today was crushing for the sizable Arsenal contingent hanging around UF, but even in these uncertain times, we must look to the lower leagues to get some perspective. After all, you could always be Weymouth.

Why Weymouth? Well, because they're a club that's been around 119 years, and today might well be the end of the road for the "Terras" from Dorset (think Kansas, but with beaches), as their team is falling apart.

The club has been struggling since the beginning of the year. I'll let an anonymous fan on BBC's livetext fill in the blanks:

"Stevo, please spare a thought for Weymouth today, playing what could be their last ever game. All our senior players left the club yesterday because the club couldn't afford to pay them in 2009! We have our under-18 team playing today, and despite lots of hard work by the fans, it looks like the end of the road for us today. Our 119-year history could be coming to an end at 5pm..."
And what happened today?

Their young'uns got pistol-whipped to the tune of 9-0 by visiting Rushden & Diamonds.

They lost their manager, who is stepping down, their chief executive is leaving because he doesn't have the 150,000 pounds needed to right the ship, and they no longer have a team (if you overlook, of course, the poor schoolboys currently subbing in). Management has tried to revive their finances by offering shares for 50 cents to supporters, and yet their future hangs in the balance.

So next time our team draws 0-0 or fucks up at home to some lesser side, remember the plight of the poor Terras.


Spectator said...

Poor Weymouth. Sounds like a job for Supporters Direct.... Exeter were on the verge of going under a few seasons ago, and now they're toward the top of League Two.

Precious Roy said...

How much can we pool in the next 24 hours?

Andrew said...

I've $1.37 American, and that's just from my couch.

Spectator said...

It's a start! But seriously, with the economy going down the tubes, this is going to become a common story across Europe.

Andrew said...

The recession should reign in the excessive spending so prevalent the past few transfer windows. May help stabilize/reduce the actual price of players. But, as long as there is a Citeh - and there is a Citeh - prices will continue to balloon.

Spectator said...

Top of the EPL will be fine because they're subsidized by billionaire owners and TV revenue. It's the Weymouths and Valencias of the world that are in trouble -- overspent on wages and don't have enough money coming in the till to cover their expenses. I might be pessimistic, but I wouldn't be shocked if there are dozens of European clubs that go under in the next couple years.

Andrew said...

Has there ever been an economic hit in the football world before? I'd guess the Great Depression "foreclosed" more than a few clubs, but anything recently?

On a different not, I'm watching SportsCenter and the bottom ticker is showing the scores from the Prem, La Liga, and Serie A. This isn't news, sure, but there's something about seeing a Wigan-'Boro score line on the screen with UNC-Maryland highlights playing above that puts a smile on my face.

Spectator said...

No idea about the 1930s, but liquidation does happen, albeit fairly infrequently in the lower leagues. Essentially, if the club can't find someone to come in and save the day, it simply ceases to exist like any other failed business (although supporters often set up a brand new club and start off at the very bottom of the leagues). Best examples I can think of are Aldershot in the early 1990s and Gretna last season.

Other thing that can happen is the club goes into receivership (called "administration" in the UK) and is taken over by the banks. When this happens, the FA docks the team points. Examples are Luton and Rotherham this season.

The problem as I see it is that more clubs are going to struggle with their bottom lines as sponsorships dry up and supporters stay home. Wage bills are the easiest things to dump, but that assumes you can find buyers for your players -- not to mention that if you start selling off players, the team will suffer and no one will want to see you play. At the same time, banks are going to be less likely to want to administer clubs because they've got problems of their own.

And then you have crazy situations such as in Spain, where Barca and Real negotiate their own TV rights and the rest of La Liga is left to their own devices. This is why Valencia are in deep, deep trouble.

Granted I read way too much Paul Krugman, but to me this is all a microcosm of what's coming down the pipe!

Mike Georger said...

Before I goto bed, I'd just like to predict that when I wake up there will be a 'Benitez in shock quit threat!' headline on soccernet.