Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Falkirk: More Financial Woe

This evening, as Scottish football continued the season's strange trend towards self immolation, Falkirk were beating Partick Thistle at Firhill.

Not massively remarkable in itself. But a welcome break for Falkirk fans in a season of growing worry.

On the pitch there's a common belief that Steven Pressley is not the right man for the manager's job.

Again that's not remarkable. Winning over hearts and minds in Falkirk is not easy, they're an unforgiving bunch.

More worrying than Pressley's continued presence is the news that Falkirk are skint. Potless.

At a fans meeting last night assurances were given that there is not any threat of administration, that neither the bank nor the taxman were due any outstanding amounts.

But there is a cash flow problem. One, Falkirk forums are suggesting, so severe that season ticket sales for next season are the only reliable way the club have of clambering to the relative safety of summer.

At which point players can be jettisoned, the wage bill cut and belts tightened to the point of corsetry.

Which is a hand to mouth existence. An existence that depends on the continued faith of fans who have been let down by their board before.

And an existence that seems to offer those fans only survival rather than the promotion push they want.

So it's a business plan but it doesn't look like the most watertight of strategies.

Perhaps the board's apparent confidence is well placed, a readjustment to new financial constraints will prove this to be no more than a blip.

But right now Falkirk look part of the ever growing list of Scottish football clubs that can make no claim on being sustainable businesses.

When the board is unpopular, when the manager is disliked and the squad is about to be asset stripped, relying on the continued faith of the fans is precarious.

As Scottish football is dragged towards civil war we're in danger of forgetting that large chunks of our game appear to be bankrupt.

As our arguments become ever more vituperative we risk ignoring that the SPL's Neil Doncaster is the only person to have articulated a strategy for saving the game.

And, sadly, his is a plan that looks as flimsy as Falkirk's plea to keep calm and carry on.