Tuesday 19 February ~
Since the start of the 21st century roughly half of the 92 League clubs have gone into administration. Recently that man Richard Scudamore spoke of increasing competition in the Premier League by means of that great and ever-ominous euphemism “widening the market”. Yet every year a number of new candidates for financial crisis, points deduction and possible dissolution appear in the lower divisions. Luton have already entered administration this season, Bournemouth followed earlier this month and in the last 24 hours Rotherham have announced they are back in further trouble.
League One Bournemouth went into administration on February 7, 2008 and the subsequent points deduction has left them even deeper entrenched in the bottom four, now 11 points shy of Millwall in 20th place. The club is up for sale, with current Dorchester Town owner and Sandbanks property developer Eddie Mitchell strongly rumoured to be holding an interest. This has since been played down by Mitchell himself.
After narrowly avoiding dissolution in 2006, Rotherham are once again facing administration. Though currently in the League Two play-off places, a further ten point deduction would ruin any promotion hopes. There was a meeting of the Rotherham supporters trust, RUST, yesterday but little concrete information has come to light about future ownership of the club. Message board debate also seems confused but relatively positive.
In the Daily Mail, Paul Hayward examined the current wealth gap and pictured a future league of 44 clubs, with 48 more, such as Bournemouth and Rotherham, “cast adrift on a sea of greed”. Indeed, in this age of global football richlists dominated by English clubs it is vital for the long term health and integrity of our game that attention is paid to “widening” our own market before we start to covet those of others.