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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Close season blues at the Theatre of Speculation!

This close season has in lots of ways been very similar to recent ones.  Lots of rumours of players who are "definitely" going to sign for Leeds and then it  turns out they sign for someone else like Accrington Stanley and more robust rumours of any Leeds player with an ounce of quality disappearing to some other lesser club with a bit more money or Norwich City.  So I'm not surprised that the only new player who has put pen to paper to play for Leeds is Jason Pearce whilst other targets have drifted off into transfer oblivion.

The difference this year is the tantalising talk of a possible takeover of the club, substantiated by a curt announcement on the club website.  Speculation in cyberspace is rife as to the identity of the club's suitors.  Do they hail from the Windy city in Illinois?  Maybe we will have Q8 as a sponsor on our shirts next season..............or maybe the moment will pass and we will kick off the campaign with Capt Birdseye still in charge of the mighty whites?  The cynic in me favours the latter which would give Harvey and Bates the perfect excuse for lack of transfer activity over the summer........................."So called investors with no money wasted our time over the summer with false bids for the club blah, blah, the time we sussed them out all the decent players had been snapped up blah, blah, blah.....................the offers for Snodgrass and Ross Mac were too good to refuse and they didn't want to stop at the club anyway blah, blah blah"  There you are.  An exclusive preview of Mr Bates first programme notes of the 2012/13 season.

One thing is for sure and that is the club desperately needs some significant investment if we are to realistically compete in the championship and beyond.  Figures from the recent Deloitte report into football finances clearly show how a combination of astronomical wage bills, a reliance on mega-rich benefactors and a need for strong revenues from commercial and TV have created an environment in the Premier League where spending the vast majority of your income on players wages is the only way to have a chance of success.  The Premier League's ratio of spending on wages to revenue is now over 70% with Chelsea's wage bill the highest at a staggering £191m for the season 10/11.  To put that into context Leeds Utd's total turnover for that period was £32m.

Manchester United attracted the largest revenues in the Premier League at an astronomical £331m, all but 10 times that of Leeds.  Their split between Matchday, Commercial and Broadcast revenues was around a third each.  Interestingly their spend on wages in relation to their revenue was one of the lowest at 46% whilst their noisy neighbours across the city spent 114% of their revenue on wages. The sobering fact is that as our friends from Salford have found this season even if you do generate the largest revenues in the league if you don't spend more of it on wages attracting the best players to the club you will win bugger all!

So where does that leave Leeds? Well in practice they will be competing against an ever increasing number of teams who have benefited from dalliances with the Premier League, and a few who have not (Portsmouth for one), to get promotion to the top tier of English football. Yes we have one of the best supports outside the top league but even with Capt Birdseye squeezing every last drop of revenue from that source we will not be able to compete financially with at least 6 of the current championship contenders for this coming season including our near rivals the Tesco bags. It is clear Ken Bates hasn't got or doesn't want to invest any money in Leeds United so without other investment the best we can hope for is that Mr Warnock can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and get us into the play off's.  More likely we will find the task of challenging the likes of Wolves, Bolton, Blackburn, Brum, Blackpool, Boro, Tesco Bags, Cardiff, Forest, Hull City, Leicester City and Sheff Wed for the promotion places just a step too far and at best sink into mid table frustration.

Still as ever with Leeds hope will spring eternal once the fixtures come out and the first game approaches.  By then our national team will have failed gloriously at the Euro quarter finals stage and the Olympics will have contributed to an exciting summer and of course we could have new owners?  Got to be better than Capt Birdseye haven't they?  Do they understand anything about soccer in Chicago?  Whatever the answer one thing for sure.................
Can't wait!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Says it like most fans think it, I would imagine. Good blog as usual.

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