Monday, March 8, 2010

Ashley the Geordie Abramovich

After leaking similar stories without putting his name to them a fortnight ago, Derek Llambias has been putting his face about on TV & radio for the past week and repeated a lot of the same nonsense in his program notes...

£25.5 + £5 + £5.5 = £36m

Portsmouth entered administration last week after racking up debts of just £60-£70m and they're a Premier League club.

If we've racked up an additional £36m of debt in the space of a few months, it sounds like we're a lot worse off than they are. How can he claim Mike Ashley is anything but an unmitigated disaster? Just because the losses are out of his own pocket? It doesn't negate the suggestion from Llambias that we're currently losing money at a higher rate than at any time in our history.

They would argue that he came into a club in debt and losing £30m a year. This is not quite true. The club did lose £33m once in the year before Ashley arrived, but the average loss in the 4 years before the buyout was a more manageable £12.5m.

If Ashley's claims of £36m this season, in addition to the £120m last season are to be believed, that means the club now has £156m of debt (£86m on top of Shepherd's outstanding £70m). More than twice what it was when he arrived and more than two and a half times Portsmouth's catastrophic debt. The average loss for the club has been £29m per season in the 3 years since he took over. A club that was able to stand on it's own two feet is now insolvent.

Ashley signed the contract of every player at the club. Ashley increased the wage bill at the club from £62m to over £70m. Ashley sacked 2 managers that required multi-million payouts. Ashley paid an odious runt like Dennis Wise £2m a season to source talent like £5m Xisco. After wasting all that cash, Ashley sold for short term gain rather than retaining players that could keep us up and ensure tens of millions more income. Ashley went through four managers in one season. Ashley got us relegated.

Thank God he can afford to piss money up the wall, because he wouldn't have a clue how to run a football club.

I'll give Ashley some credit if he follows the examples set at Chelsea and Man City. If he cancels the loans and converts them into equity in the club. Because until he does, he's made a bigger hash of running this club than anyone could have imagined.