Well Happy New Year folks! I haven’t done a footie posting for a while and despite feeling crap from the flu, it’s great to look forward today to the most intriguing stage in the whole of the FA Cup – the 3rd round. This is the day that footballing legends and history get made. All my teams are at home and facing finger-licking ties; Man Utd take on the oldest enemy (tomorrow) in dirty damned Leeds Utd whilst Blackpool host Ipswich with crazy Keano, Boro take on the new Princes of Excess, Mecca City, and humble Millwall must fancy a tiny bit of giant-killing against Derby County. Can’t wait.
But there was one bit of football news yesterday that had me smiling even more. That was the news that Chelsea had lost just £44.4m in the financial year 2008-9. So the losses are reducing as Kenyon promised (at this rate they’ll be breaking even, easily in time for the next Millenium). But the interesting news was that the club’s income was significantly down in a season when they finished just one place off the Premiership title, reached the Champions League semi-finals and won the FA Cup. Umm. But to shroud this little bit of cold-cheer, the club also announced that the owner Red Roman has converted £340m of loans into equity in the club, thus wiping out their massive debts at a stroke. And don’t the words ‘debt clearance’ look a whole lot better than ‘massive continuing losses’ in a press release? Now I’m not a financial expert but if you already own the club outright, how can you take a bigger stake in it? Could it be, as Arsene Wenger astutely remarked, that there is a whiff of magical creative accounting going on here? Maybe I’m an old cynic about today’s top-flight football but don’t you suspect that Abramovitch is probably getting a little bored with his toy – especially if the new kids on the block up in East Manchester have more pocket money to play with – and he’s decided that a debt-free asset may just be a more attractive option for those crazy Chinese plutocrats should he decide to sell up and take his yacht to warmer climes? I predict he’ll be offski if chubby Carlo doesn’t deliver the Cahmpions league trophy this year. Now that would be a great day for football.
ps Well that was a less than magical set of results for my ‘teams’; Blackpool lost 2 players and the match to Ipswich whilst Boro lost to Mecca City in a less-than-half-full Riverside. Does anybody else think they’ve gone backwards under Strachan? Millwall did at least draw against Derby but you’d expect the Rams to beat the Lions at home in the replay. But worst of all of course was the only significant giant-killing of the 3rd round as dirty Leeds beat Man Utd at Old Trafford. I thought MU didn’t do defeats at home in the 3rd round….Ah well it’s only a game eh. I can’t wait for the Champions League now though I’ve a horrible feeling that not replacing Ronaldo and Tevez is going to hurt MU hard this year. An even worse feeling is that the Glazers are going to ruin the club with their debt burden. The sooner we get rid of these mysterious overseas owners the better football will be.