There have been some pretty badly-run operations down the years – British Leyland during the 70s, the South Sea Company in 1720, the Light Brigade in the Crimea... Following the great bubble burst of 2008, there are many on the brink at the moment - but nobody is drinking deeper and more fulsomely in the last chance saloon than the 'business' that is English football.
The national sport has had it very good for quite a while – luxuriating in buckets of telly cash, despite costs going through the roof. But it’s all turning very nasty now. The American wise-guys who bought Manchester United and Liverpool on the never-never have become hate figures among their customers – the fans - and are feeling the pinch when it comes to refinancing. Further down the feeding trough are the runts unable to get their snouts into the swill. No fewer than three UK clubs were in court yesterday - Portsmouth, Cardiff and Southend - trying to escape the inevitable, as those to whom they owe money seek winding-up orders.
Take my own club West Ham, recently acquired from the feckless Icelanders by a couple of porn barons, Gold and Sullivan. The Hammers are truly in the stuck: they've got debts of £110 million, and they're performing like the band from The Muppets on the pitch. It’d be LOL if it weren’t ETMYW (Enough To Make You Weep). [CLICK HERE TO READ MORE AND COMMENT]
In today's bulletin:
BT's giant pension deficit will take 17 years to plug
Diageo sales flat as drinkers shun premium brands
Thomas Cook cashes in on dodgy Redknapp advert
Browne: CEOs need better work/ life balance
Editor's blog: The not-so-beautiful game