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With six days left to go in the window and still no major departures the time for Birmingham City to raise some much-needed finance is ever decreasing. There has been talk amongst some of the nationals that Blues have started to waver over their prices for players and one has gone far enough to suggest that Marlon King may be allowed to leave for nothing to save on wages. With player departures bound to cause more anger amongst fans, the question has to be asked – is it worth it?
In his interview prior to leaving these shores, Mr Pannu indicated that sales of players was necessary to ensure that the club had the cashflow to see out the season. This was backed up by comments in the accounts that to ensure the club remained an ongoing concern money was needed from transfers. Therefore it’s reasonable to assume that the club could well head into administration if not enough money comes in, with the attendant problems that would cause.
However, I must profess that I’m starting to wonder if selling off three or four players to keep the wolves from the door is worth it. Selling players isn’t solving the financial problems Blues have – it’s merely putting them off for a little longer. Whilst there are no less than 19 players out of contract by the end of the season which would undoubtedly help the removal of some of the larger amounts from the wage bill Blues also have an £8million drop in turnover to factor in as the parachute payment halves next season – which equates to a wage reduction of £160,000 a week or so alone. This would surely cause problems with bringing in new players and with most saleable assets gone the ways for the club to bring in lump sums of cash would continue to dwindle.
I will confess that administration scares me. It should never be more than a last resort as it takes the business decisions out of the hands of the people running the club and puts them into a professional bean-counter. Judging by what I’ve seen elsewhere administrators tend to be pretty merciless in the way they cut costs and because of the way the football creditor rules work the people who would suffer wouldn’t be the players but the hardworking office staff – not to mention the local companies who would lose out on any debts owed by the club.
That being said I think we’re in last resort territory. The current owners have had 18 months to deal with what to do with the club whilst Carson has had his assets frozen, and have had plenty of time to sell the club properly via a company which specialises in this sort of deal such as Seymour Pierce. It seems evident that it’s just not happened – whilst the only publicly known bid was fronted by Paladini I’ve heard whispers of four or five potential bidders who have been put off from buying the club due to the excessive asking price asked for it, amongst other things.
So the question is – rather than selling off the family silver for brass pennies, why not hold on to what we’ve got and try to utilise them to keep us in this division? If we sell many more players it doesn’t matter if we don’t suffer a 10 point deduction, we will not have a squad capable of staying in the Championship. Is the pain of administration worth it to ensure that the club does get sold without being stripped of playing staff much further? I will confess I believe that it may just be.