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How Lucky We Are!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 27/11/2003

DIRECTORS of football clubs are not noted for their financial prowess. No matter how well they run their own companies, they seem to lose their business skills once they join the board of a football club by allowing their respective clubs to get into debt in the search for glory.

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Barnsley, York City, Notts County, Oldham, Leicester and many more have been on the brink of financial collapse and, in some cases, have only been saved by their supporters trusts or administration.

The latest one to hit the headlines is Leeds United with a debt of 81 million and looking likely to have to sell off their best players, and in even greater danger of sliding into the Football League. A situation that may well send the club into oblivion!

This news should serve as a warning to all clubs that ignore the financial implications of their bid for success and glory.

As fans and supporters it sometimes irks us to hear, that a player has spurned advances from Grimsby Town and accepted an offer from another club who are offering more money. It is difficult for a club with a salary cap of 50,000 to attract the players it wants.

But if you look at the whole picture, the fact is, the club only exists through the 'penny pinching' it has imposed over the last 3 years.

The club made a decision not to spend any of the TV money until it actually arrived at the bank and, in doing so, became one of the only clubs that was not caught out after the ITV Digital collapse. Certainly the loss of that income had a devastating effect on the club's finances, but they were not left owing 1.8million to creditors, which some clubs, who spent the money in advance, were.

Another decision the club made was to ensure that player's contracts ran only until the time the TV contract ended. The ITV Digital collapse meant that the Mariners had to find the cash to fulfil the contracts for another 12 months but there were no long term contracts apart from Jevons and Coyne that were likely to cause financial hardship.

Had that not been the case, relegation to the second division could have seen the end of Grimsby Town Football Club.

So today we have a club that is in the second division just managing to keep its head above water, struggling to regain first division status and unable to add to its small squad.

How lucky we are!

Grimsby Town may not have achieved much glory or success over the last couple of years but if we have gained anything, it is a place in the survival stakes, and in that regard, we are the envy of many other clubs.

Some supporters are already demanding that more money should be allocated to Paul Groves to acquire another striker and complaining that the board are being tight with the money.

But it is that 'tightness' that has brought survival and for that I am truly grateful! This is not the time for the club to lose its head and plunge us further into debt.

We will have to manage with what we have got if we are to continue playing the survival game and that is one game we must win!

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