English Football league chairman, Rick Parry, spoke to the BBC yesterday and continued his tirade against unsustainable finances among EFL clubs.
“Why can we not have community owned, sustainable clubs? That goes for all the structural issues that I have been telling anybody who will listen, and most people who won’t listen, for the past x number of months, from the select committee onwards.
“The Championship is a financial nonsense. We’ve got clubs spending 107% of their income on wages, we’ve got the major distortion of parachute payments, we’ve got £400m of owner-funding required – £16m per Championship club. There are owners gambling on getting into the Premier League, it’s unsustainable.
“We need to make our clubs sustainable – we shouldn’t be relying on random foreign owners.”
These concerns surfaced after Wigan’s Hong Kong-based owners put the club into administration last week, a move that took place without delayed payments to HMRC and other creditors that usually proceeds administration.
Parry is at the forefront of this issue. His concern peaked because Wigan’s owners were able to flush the club into administration without concern for personal consequences. Even the inevitable hit to their shareholder value did not seem to register. Where Wigan’s owners went, others could feel permitted to follow.
£16m is a lot of money for each of their Championship’s 24 clubs to find and that’s only dealing with existing liabilities, not those clubs are contracted to for years to come. The Championship’s only options are to find investors with appetite to splurge lots of spare cash on them, convince the Premiership to unilaterally do likewise, or see the travails of Wigan play out across the division.
If Parry’s increasingly shrill alarms are anything to do by, the English football bubble may finally be close to bursting. Sleeping so close to an elephant has been a drag on Celtic in particular and Scottish football in general. We have waited on what Brian Quinn referred to as the ‘pack ice’ to break up for decades. The time may finally have come.