Football Shorts – Part III

In his latest piece, Paul deals with cash flow, its importance and how some clubs will resort to borrowings. Some are going to find it much more difficult than Spurs

Paul The Esk 05/06/2020 51comments  |  Jump to last

Michael Dell set up the Dell Computer Corporation the day after Everton featured in a 4th round FA Cup replay at Prestfield Stadium, drawing 0-0 on a bitterly cold night in the winter of 1984. I mention him because he gave one of the best descriptions of the importance of cash flow I’ve ever come across.

When discussing how his board ran his company he said the following: “We were always focused on our profit and loss statement. But cash flow was not a regularly discussed topic. It was as if we were driving along, watching only the speedometer, when in fact we were running out of gas.

That’s precisely how Uefa, the Premier League and the English Football League regulate football. Financial Fair Play and profit & sustainability rules regulate club’s finances by measuring the Profit and Loss (P&L) statement (the speedometer).

The assumption was if you regulate the P&L then there’s always enough gas in the tank (cash in the bank) – the name of the rule 'profit & sustainability' more than indicates this. Why did they make this assumption? Because they assumed that the sources of income would never dry up. This, despite the crisis that beset the Football League and its members with the collapse of ITV Digital in 2002. The collapse of the deal created an almighty cash-flow crisis – clubs were committed to spending more cash than they were about to receive.

A quick lesson in cash-flow statements

Cash flow is calculated by looking at 3 principal areas, operating cash flow, from investing activities and finally from financing activities.

So in football, cash from operations takes net income (matchday, commercial and broadcasting) minus operating expenses (wages, other operating costs), tax and net interest paid. If we wanted to create a cash-flow statement, we would add back in the amortisation and depreciation charges as they reflect cash already spent (at the time of the purchase of the asset).

Cash from investing activities in football arises from the trading of players and occasionally the selling or buying of fixed assets such as land and stadia. As I have spoken about before, player trading has been a critical part of club’s financial activities for many years. The purchase and sale of players (and the underlying payment or receivable terms) are hugely important to club’s cash-flow management.

Finally there is the impact of financing activities. Raising capital through a share issue or arranging finance through bonds or debt obviously benefits the cash-flow statement (as can the aforementioned payment terms on player transfers which in theory is another form of debt). There is a couple of issues in football however. The regulations link expenditure to income. One of the impacts of that is that, in a sustained loss-making situation as a result of falling revenues, it can be difficult to fund these losses from capital contributions or increased debt. Something which will cause several clubs (including Everton) problems unless regulations are relaxed.

Raising debt can be difficult because of the football creditors rule (more later).

The information, series of charts and ultimate conclusion are going to look at the change in cash flow, not cash flow itself. They will show the degree by which financial circumstances may change due to Covid-19.

Impact of Covid-19 on cash flow arising from operating activities.

Matchday revenues have been impacted this season and will be considerably impacted next season. I will continue with the assumption that no matches are played in season 20-21 in front of paying spectators. Earlier in the series I estimated revenue losses as:

Lost matchday revenues

£ millions Lost matchday t/o  (2019-20) Whole season 20-21 Total
Manchester United 17.0 110.8 127.8
Tottenham Hotspur 15.8 100.0 115.8
Arsenal 12.8 96.2 109.0
Liverpool 12.5 84.2 96.7
Manchester City 12.2 55.0 67.2
Chelsea 8.1 66.6 74.7
West Ham United 6.2 27.1 33.3
Newcastle United 5.7 23.9 29.6
Brighton & Hove Albion 4.2 18.5 22.7
Southampton 3.4 17.0 20.4
Everton 3.2 14.2 17.4
Leicester City 2.8 14.7 17.5
Crystal Palace 2.1 10.9 13.0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2.0 11.5 13.5
Watford 1.9 8.0 9.9
Burnley 1.1 5.6 6.7
Bournemouth 1.1 5.0 6.1
3 promoted teams 6.5 25.9 32.4
Total 118.6 695.1 813.7

For ease I will look at the 17 clubs in the Premier League 2018-19 and 2019-20, on the assumption they each remain in the Premeir League.

Broadcasting revenues

The penalties applied to Premeir League clubs are highly dependent upon the outcome of Project Re-start.

There appears (as reported by The Athletic) to be two possible outcomes although the terms are yet to be finalised. The outcomes depend upon this Premier League season successfully re-starting on 12 June and finishing by 26 July. Failure brings in a second much more punitive penalty:

Broadcasting revenue losses Season completes 12 June-26 July When payable? Payable per club before end July 2020 Payable per club season 2021-22
Payment to domestic broadcasters 223,000 Season 2021-22 11,150
Payment to international broadcasters 107,000 End of July 2020 5,035*
Total 330,000 5,035* 11,150

The above chart assumes equal payments by each club and the agreement of BT to defer domestic rebates in the same manner as Sky.

Failure to re-start on 12 June or finish by 26 July

Season does not complete Payable per club When payable?
442,500                        22,125
319,700                        15,985
762,200                        38,110* End of July 2020

In addition to the above, it is not perhaps unreasonable to see a reduction in broadcasting revenues next season given the changed nature of the product on offer and, as said previously, the chances of all broadcasters remaining in business.

Lost commercial and sponsorship revenues

With over 300 individual deals across Premier league clubs, it is impossible to put a firm figure on potential reductions in the immediate term. However, all clubs will be suffering from a loss of merchandising, matchday entertaining, food and beverage and pitchside sponsorship. Over the summer, many of the larger clubs will miss out on lucrative post- and pre-season tours to Asia and the US.

I will assume 20% reductions in all commercial revenues for the last three months of the season which equates to 5% of annual revenues. For season 2020-21, on the basis of no paying spectators I will assume 20% of annual revenues. Using 2018-19 as a base, this would produce the following reductions in revenues:

Reduction in commercial/sponsorship revenues
£000’s 2019-20 2020-21
Manchester United – 13,750 – 55,000
Tottenham Hotspur – 6,750 – 27,000
Arsenal – 5,550 – 22,200
Liverpool – 9,400 – 37,600
Manchester City – 11,350 – 45,400
Chelsea – 9,000 – 36,000
West Ham United – 1,800 – 7,200
Newcastle United – 1,420 – 5,680
Brighton Hove Albion – 550 – 2,200
Southampton – 1,000 – 4,000
Everton – 2,050 – 8,200
Leicester City – 1,800 – 7,200
Crystal Palace – 800 – 3,200
Wolverhampton Wanderers – 1,400 – 5,600
Watford – 700 – 2,800
Burnley – 800 – 3,200
Bournemouth – 500 – 2,000
Total – 67,750 – 271,000

Impact of Covid on cash arising from investing activities

I have often talked about player trading profits being an important part of football finances. However, trading profits are not to be confused with the movement of cash arising from player purchases and sales as shown in most clubs’ cash-flow statements.

It is widely expected that trading volumes will fall and that, as a result of that and a reduction in player values (arising out of expected revenue reductions), the overall cash movements will reduce significantly.

It is therefore possible to estimate the impact reduced activity and reduced player prices would have on clubs' cash flows.

I’ve assumed (i) a 25% reduction in trading volume, and (ii) a 25% reduction in transfer values. Below is a chart using data from clubs’ cash-flow statements to estimate the impact of that on clubs’ cash flows:

Club 2018-19 net purchases 2020-21 net purchases Net improve-ment in cash flow
Manchester United 135 75.9 59.1
Tottenham Hotspur 3 1.7 1.3
Arsenal 62 34.9 27.1
Liverpool 59 33.2 25.8
Manchester City 77 43.3 33.7
Chelsea 162 91.1 70.9
West Ham United 49 27.6 21.4
Newcastle United 16 9.0 7.0
Brighton Hove Albion 72 40.5 31.5
Southampton 10 5.6 4.4
Everton 68 38.3 29.8
Leicester City 40 22.5 17.5
Crystal Palace 41 23.1 17.9
Wolverhampton Wanderers 66 37.1 28.9
Watford 38 21.4 16.6
Burnley 13 7.3 5.7
Bournemouth 36 20.3 15.8
Total 947.0 532.7 414.3

Whilst a reduction in trading volume and prices would impact the P&L accounts of each club, in cash-flow terms it can be seen as a large positive. The positive impact would be a reduction in cash used to fund transfers. Whilst advantageous in the short-term, longer-term reduced volume and value would damage the profitability of clubs and produce even greater pressure on future cost reductions. It would be a significant deflationary factor.

Financing activities

I am going to talk about the cash from financing activities after we’ve worked out the range of cash-flow shortfalls for each club.

Aggregate picture:

Let’s look at the aggregate picture for this financial year (2019-20) in terms of reduction in cash flow (i) in the event the season completes before 26 July and (ii) it fails to complete:

(i) Season completes by 26 July 2020 – equal penalty applied to all clubs, reduction in cash flow from operating activities

Reduction in cash flow £000’s  Matchday Broadcast Commercial Total
Manchester United 17,000  5,035 13,750 35,785
Tottenham Hotspur 15,800 5,035 6,750 27,585
Arsenal 12,800 5,035 5,500 23,335
Liverpool 12,500 5,035 9,400 26,935
Manchester City 12,200 5,035 11,350 28,585
Chelsea 8,100 5,035 9,000 22,135
West Ham United 6,200 5,035 1,800 13,035
Newcastle United 5,700 5,035 1,420 12,155
Brighton Hove Albion 4,200 5,035 550 9,785
Southampton 3,400 5,035 1,000 9,435
Everton 3,200 5,035 2,050 10,285
Leicester City 2,800 5,035 1,800 9,635
Crystal Palace 2,100 5,035 800 7,935
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2,000 5,035 1,400 8,435
Watford 1,900 5,035 700 7,635
Burnley 1,100 5,035 800 6,935
Bournemouth 1,100 5,035 500 6,635
Total 112,100  85,595 68,570 266,265

(ii) Season fails to complete by 26 July 2020 – equal penalty applied to all clubs, reduction in cash flow from operating activities

Reduction in cash flow £000’s Matchday Broadcast Commercial Total
Manchester United 17,000 38,110 13,750 68,860
Tottenham Hotspur 15,800 38,110 6,750 60,660
Arsenal 12,800 38,110 5,500 56,410
Liverpool 12,500 38,110 9,400 60,010
Manchester City 12,200 38,110 11,350 61,660
Chelsea 8,100 38,110 9,000 55,210
West Ham United 6,200 38,110 1,800 46,110
Newcastle United 5,700 38,110 1,420 45,230
Brighton Hove Albion 4,200 38,110 550 42,860
Southampton 3,400 38,110 1,000 42,510
Everton 3,200 38,110 2,050 43,360
Leicester City 2,800 38,110 1,800 42,710
Crystal Palace   2,100 38,110 800 41,010
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2,000 38,110  1,400 41,510
Watford 1,900 38,110 700 40,710
Burnley 1,100 38,110 800 40,010
Bournemouth 1,100 38,110 500 39,710
Total 112,100 647,870 68,570 828,540

Now we need to look at the impact of Covid-19 on season 2020-21. The assumptions here are no paying spectators, 20% reduction in commercial income and a 10% reduction in broadcasting revenues (either because there’s a renegotiation due to empty stadiums or some smaller broadcasters fail to pay). There’s a positive cash flow contribution from the assumed reduction in player trading.

Commercial Broadcast Reduced Player trading cash flow Total
Manchester United 111,000 55,000 24,100 59,100.0 131,000
Tottenham Hotspur 100,000 27,000 24,400 1,300.0 150,100
Arsenal 96,000 22,000 18,300 27,100.0 109,200
Liverpool 84,000 37,600 26,100 25,800.0 121,900
Manchester City 55,000 45,400 25,300 33,700.0 92,000
Chelsea 67,000 36,000 20,000 70,900.0 52,100
West Ham United 27,000 7,200 12,700 21,400.0 25,500
Newcastle United 25,000 5,680 12,400 7,000.0 36,080
Brighton Hove Albion 19,000 2,200 11,300 31,500.0 1,000
Southampton 17,000 4,000 11,300 4,400.0 27,900
Everton 14,200 8,200 13,300 29,800.0 5,900
Leicester City 15,000 7,200 12,800 17,500.0 17,500
Crystal Palace 15,000 3,200 12,400 17,900.0 12,700
Wolverhampton Wanderers 12,000 5,600 13,300 28,900.0 2,000
Watford 9,000 2,800 12,400 166,00.0 7,600
Burnley 6,000 3,200 11,300 5,700.0 14,800
Bournemouth 5,000 2,000 11,600 15,800.0 2,800
Total 677,200 274,280 273,000 414,300.0 810,080

To get a complete picture of the cash flow implications from March 2020 through to 30 June 2021, we must add this season’s potential impact with that projected for next season. Given we do not know for sure whether this season completes or not I will provide for both scenarios (i) completion (ii) non-completion:

PLEASE REMEMBER: these are not predictions of actual cash flow. They are showing the change in cash flow relative to the situation at the time the Premier league was halted. They show the degree by which cash flow could deteriorate with reasonable assumptions about the impact Covid-19 will have on football.

Cash flow impact March 2020 – June 2021 £’000s Completed 2019-20 season *Incomplete 2019-20 season
Manchester United 166,785 199,860
Tottenham Hotspur 177,685 210,760
Arsenal 132,535 165,610
Liverpool 148,835 181,910
Manchester City 120,585 153,660
Chelsea 74,235 107,310
West Ham United 38,535 71,610
Newcastle United 48,235 81,310
Brighton Hove Albion 10,785 43,860
Southampton 37,335 70,410
Everton 16,185 49,260
Leicester City 27,135 60,210
Crystal Palace 20,635 53,710
Wolverhampton Wanderers 10,435 43,510
Watford 15,235 48,310
Burnley 21,735 54,810
Bournemouth 9,435 42,510
Total 1,076,345 1,638,620

Okay, so how to fund this?

I ask this because the magnitude of deterioration in cash flow is so huge, with the possible exception of Arsenal, there is not a single club who can ride such a reduction in cash (assuming no further changes to expenditure such as wage reductions or deferrals) without (i) raising equity or (ii) raising debt.

Let me give you two examples – Manchester United informed the NYSE it has a £140 million debt facility to draw upon, and secondly Tottenham Hotspur.

There’s a temptation from some to think the models shown are unrealistic. It will never be as bad as I am portraying.

Tottenham Hotspur, the best run club in financial terms and with the most financially astute board of directors, has arranged a £150 million credit facility with the Bank of England under the Government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility. Under the terms of the deal, Tottenham can draw down up to £150 million at 0.5% interest. The credit line is unsecured.

The reason Tottenham Hotspur have arranged this line of credit is that their own assessment is that their cash flow will be impacted by Covid-19 by up to £200 million (my model, calculated before their deal entered the public domain, suggests a range of £177 – 210 million).

Not all clubs will have access to the debt markets in the way Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur can. Both clubs are highly creditworthy, have profitable businesses in normal times, and are professionally run by people credible in the finance markets.

In the final piece, I will offer some thoughts as to the impact of the change in cash flows and how each club and their owners might finance their cash short-falls.

To go back to Michael Dell, a number of clubs were running fine with gas in the tank and plenty of refueling opportunities, others were or are not. A hole in the tank is the last thing that they require and, for some, the needle is already on red with the warning light flickering.

Thanks for reading!

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Reader Comments (51)

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Eric Myles
1 Posted 05/06/2020 at 01:13:25
Wouldn't it be fairer that those clubs that have received the most money from the broadcasting deal pay proportionately the most in penalties?

By 'penalties' are you really talking about Liquidated Damages?

Eric Myles
2 Posted 05/06/2020 at 06:56:37
As overseas broadcast rights are distributed evenly, then equal 'penalty' should be applied to all clubs, but as the Sky Top Six receive more domestic payments than most, they should contribute more proportionately to the 'penalty'.
Michael Kenrick
3 Posted 05/06/2020 at 09:30:28
So when we say "It's all about money"... guess what? It really is all about money.

This phrase has been thrown around by many on here as a condemnation of the clubs and the leagues... for doing what exactly?

For restarting while people are still dying?

Or for doing what they need to do to survive as businesses?

You choose your poison. I just find the continued judgmental virtue posturing offered by so many totally incongruous considering the existence of these clubs and of the professional game itself is presumably something we are actually interested in?

Rant over.

Martin Nicholls
4 Posted 05/06/2020 at 10:10:35
Michael #3 – we've briefly discussed Project Restart on another thread. I, and I suspect most others, agree that the rush to restart is about money – my objection (amongst others) is that it is claimed by Premier League etc that it is all about raising morale, integrity etc.

If they were as open about it as you are and said "Project Restart is about TV money and the fact that clubs need it to survive" then that would be integrity! A bit of honesty from them would go a long way.

Steve Carse
5 Posted 05/06/2020 at 10:11:17
Michael (3), couldn't agree more. And that's before even considering the use and abuse (or plain misunderstanding) of the key statistics that have shaped the debate on the merits or otherwise of the lockdown and related policies.
Eric Myles
7 Posted 05/06/2020 at 16:00:47
Martin #4, nail on the head, although given the amount of profits the Premier League reported (from what I read on this website) I doubt they care about the clubs.
Bobby Mallon
8 Posted 05/06/2020 at 18:26:19
Eh Micheal @3,

If these clubs had put all their professional footballers on furlough for the whole time we have been in lockdown, then we wouldn't be in this position where we need to put lives at risk. It's a shit show really... greedy bastards, the lot of them.

Paul the Esk — why the fuck didn't they put their stars on furlough?

Kevin Prytherch
9 Posted 05/06/2020 at 19:10:52
Bobby 8 - it’s my understanding that both employer and employee have to agree to furlough (although this hasn’t always been the case in practice). In the real world, the choice is furlough or redundancy as there is no work. In the world of football - there are fixed term contracts the prevent this. The lawyers would have a field day, there would be claims for loss of earnings and players would walk on a free for breach of contract.
Bobby Mallon
10 Posted 05/06/2020 at 19:29:07
Cheers Kevin, thanks for that.
Eric Myles
11 Posted 06/06/2020 at 15:31:31
Paul, it seems that there's not so much interest in the maths of the game but I'd still appreciate an answer to my question about liquidated damages since penalties are not enforceable in a contract, and especially not 'punitive' penalties as you state are applicable.
Jerome Shields
12 Posted 06/06/2020 at 16:43:47
The Premier League really needs Project Restart, going by these figures. The loss in cash flow and penalties is huge and will take a while to work out of the system. Some clubs may never make it.

To a certain extent, they just thought that the money was going to keep flowing and did not think that it may not; the Media Companies followed normal business practice and did.

Quite frankly, I thought that next season was going to be difficult, as it will be, and therefore thought that it would have been better to concentrate on it. But, looking at these figures, most clubs are looking for any harbour in a storm and need Project Restart to get them through the next few months.

I can see little happening at Everton transfer-wise this Summer, and Everton then trying to make do with what they have got.

Thanks for the information, Paul the Esk. Hopefully Ancelotti with his new Management team can keep it all together and get performances out of the squad that previously have been below par.

Ancelotti was a lone voice at the start of this crisis, who correctly forecast the implications, so he will have been thinking and planning how to deal with it.

Lucky Everton have an experienced manager at the helm, but we still have some duff managers in other parts of the Everton operations, who care or know little about the importance of cash-flow.

Paul [The Esk]
13 Posted 06/06/2020 at 22:45:19
Eric, I am aware that penalties are not enforceable in a contract. It was loose language on my part. Equally, the use of the word 'punitive' should not be viewed in the legal sense; I could have used 'severe', 'harsh', 'stiff' etc.
Eric Myles
14 Posted 07/06/2020 at 01:11:27
So Paul, if you're really talking about Liquidated Damages, then they are mitigated by the Force Majeure Event that has prevented the contract being completed.

As FME will have a time-limit leading to termination of the contract, it seems that the FA are in a rush to get games played so that the contract cannot be terminated.

Whether they are doing that in the financial interests of the clubs, or the FA itself, is an interesting question.

In any case, I don't see that the clubs would have to pay damages either for games completed, as you stated in a previous article, or games that are going to be completed in order to fulfill the contract.

If you have a source outlining the terms of the contract, I'd be interested in reading it.

Eric Myles
15 Posted 07/06/2020 at 07:49:22
I note "The Athletic" uses the term "rebate" and would be interested how this is worded contractually if it is neither a penalty nor damages.
Jerome Shields
16 Posted 07/06/2020 at 10:55:44
Eric #14,

There is more to this rush to finishing the season than meets the eye, as you have raised in your posts. Our neighbours have put six players up for sale to raise £120 million. They also objected to media companies getting enhanced access in the coming matches, because they had got enough of a payback.

John Zapa
17 Posted 08/06/2020 at 08:34:16
Very good series of articles, Paul. It would be great if the next article focuses on the potential impact it could have for Everton.

Looking at the situation, I feel the club is possibly in the worst situation of all Premier League clubs for the following reasons:

1: already an extremely high and unsustainable wage bill relative to income.

2: The club as already running a huge loss prior to the virus, and the year before that, with this year also projected to be a loss. That's losses 3 years running, which would make it very difficult for the club to get any loans or financial assistance the way Tottenham or Manchester United are doing.

3: Heavy reliance on the owners to keep funneling money into the club, even with very dubious schemes such as selling the rights to the naming rights among them. It's very possible that the virus will have impacted their other sources of income heavily and suddenly subsidising a luxury like Everton will not be a priority for them.

4: Poor overall management and leadership at the club on many levels. It's clear that the people in place and their ability to drastically improve the situation is not up to the level needed; this is shown in the year-on-year poor performance on and off the field.

5: Bramley-Moore Dock. This could be like a noose around the club's neck at this time. It's impossible to know how the future regarding game attendance will be; if many people keep staying away from the games, even in 2/3 years time, such a stadium will become a huge loss-maker. Stopping the project now and writing off all the expenses is also a huge loss. It's a very difficult situation and tough decisions will need to be made.

6: The situation of the squad. The poor player trading over a number of years has resulted in a squad with many substandard players; there are very few bankable assets among them, and the ones we would like to sell are nearly impossible to shift due to their high wages. This isn't something that can be fixed in 1 or 2 transfer windows.

Overall, I'm very pessimistic about the future of the club in the next year or two. The survival of the club depends on the ability of the owners to keep funding a loss-making business, that will need even greater subsidies due to reduced commercial, matchday and broadcasting revenues.

Eric Myles
18 Posted 08/06/2020 at 10:18:02
John #17, regarding Bramley-Moore Dock, we could well go in for short-termism and worry about attendances in 2-3 years time when this virus could all be forgotten about by this time next year. Plus, it would take a couple of years to build the stadium anyway.

Or, we could go full steam ahead. I expect the government and / or local councils would (should!) be keen to give grants or subsidies to capital infrastructure projects that will grow the economy quickly.

In the worst-case scenario, we could see the redevelopment of Goodison being on the drawing board (as happened over the park) but I suspect we are too far down the road to Bramley-Moore Dock for that to happen.

John Zapa
19 Posted 08/06/2020 at 13:33:49

It's a huge risk to spend £500M over the next 2 or 3 years building a stadium that might not be used. It's impossible to predict how this virus will unfold over the coming years, mutating into something more deadly that could still keep large gatherings impossible.

Regardless of whether a vaccine will be found in the coming years, which I doubt since it takes on average 10 to 15 years for a successful vaccine to be developed for viruses, people's habits may permanently change. Many of the high risk or vulnerable will stay away from games.

Even before the virus, I couldn't see a solid business case for Bramley-Moore Dock. With the virus, it's absolutely not viable.

Paul [The Esk]
20 Posted 08/06/2020 at 13:58:42

I am very much in agreement with your points about the club and also your view on the stadium. The case was marginal at best even with low borrowing costs.

I will be writing a more Everton-centric piece for sure.

Ryan Holroyd
21 Posted 08/06/2020 at 16:29:48
Let's just stay at a ramshackle Goodison Park then, John Zapa. This virus is dying out and things are getting back to normal.
John Zapa
22 Posted 09/06/2020 at 03:08:52
Ryan, I think it's far better to play in a 70% capacity Goodison Park without additional financial obligations than a 50% capacity Bramley-Moore Dock with loan repayments that are beyond a currently loss-making club to sustain.

We can all wish the virus to go away, but unfortunately it seems to be part of our lives for the coming years. Our older and vulnerable fans will mostly stay away and it just will not be possible to fill a stadium like the good old days.

Eric Myles
23 Posted 09/06/2020 at 08:33:42
John # 19, again short-termism, what is going to happen in the future??? You are being shortsighted.

I guarantee you that this virus will have been forgotten about when Bramley-Moore Dock is opened in 2 - 3 years time.

John Zapa
24 Posted 09/06/2020 at 09:31:07
Eric, things could get better as you feel, we all hope that; however, the current situation could be the new normal. It could also get much worse in future, not only the virus, but the world economic situation and the club owner's personal finances could be severely impacted. It's very risky to place a £500m bet now on the future looking rosy when all indicators lead to worsening and more difficult years ahead.
Eric Myles
25 Posted 09/06/2020 at 10:14:23
John, you're being overly pessimistic, as I said before, this virus will be forgotten about next year.

Ryan Holroyd
26 Posted 09/06/2020 at 15:18:30
As you say, Eric, the virus will be gone soon enough and things will get back to normal-ish.

We may as well just fold without the new stadium. Goodison is a dump now and embarrassing for a club that has been in the top division for years and years.

Terry White
27 Posted 10/06/2020 at 04:10:21
Eric (#25), you are living in a dream world if you think the virus will be "forgotten about next year". In that "dream world", does Everton win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the next year or two? And do we forget about the 400,000+ people that have died as a result of the virus and counting?

John's view (#24) is much more realistic and not in the least "overly pessimistic" for you to dismiss it out of hand.

Each to their own. I suppose you are a member of the Johnson & Trump fan club? Each to their own, as I say.

Eric Myles
28 Posted 10/06/2020 at 05:41:17
Terry #27, we forget about a lot more than that who die every year, unless we know them personally.

I actually admire Johnson and Trump, two people that have risen to the top armed only with bluff and bluster. I fully expect Trump to be re-elected, Johnson probably not as the Brits are not so easily fooled a second time.

Eric Myles
29 Posted 10/06/2020 at 05:53:34
Paul, sorry to keep bugging you about the contractual references, in the article about wage referrals our CEO talks about "the possibility of having to refund the television broadcast companies for lost revenue on their part should the 2019-20 season need to be curtailed"

This to me says that the clubs have already received money for matches that have not been played, so in this case I agree with you that there will need to be a payback, rebate, whatever you want to call it.

But not a penalty, or a return of monies paid for games played.

Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 10/06/2020 at 08:47:03
Eric @28, I could probably write 100 different things about your admiration of both Johnson and Trump, but then I think about humanity, how America and Britain toppled the Sadam Hussain regime and actually made the situation worse, because they never had any contingency plans, whilst I pray for this virus to just go away.
Terry White
31 Posted 10/06/2020 at 16:14:44
Living in the US, Eric (#28), and actually in a pro-Republican state, I just have to hope that you are wrong about Trump's re-election. There are many things I could write in response to your "admiration" of Trump but I will hold back. You are entitled to your opinion.
Jay Harris
32 Posted 10/06/2020 at 16:53:16
Terry and Eric,

I live in a pro-Republican state and suffered business issues due to the Democrats and Obama and especially Obamacare which virtually put a lot of small and medium-sized businesses out of business and made some crazy policy decisions (IMO) regarding the likes of Iran.

Personally, I admire Trump for the way he has dealt with the economy in particular and is the first person to challenge China for what has been raping the Western economy for decades. In fact, the US economy and unemployment levels have been the best in 50 years under Trump.

Having said that, Trump and to a degree Johnson both make me cringe and the tweets are just insane. On a human level, the man is an egotist and very dictatorial and that is not good.

I am very anti-Democrat – especially against the likes of Pelosi, Schumer and Nadler and the IMO racist Stacy Abrams and Kamala Harris but I cannot see any possibility of Trump being re-elected.

Sorry for stealing a football debate – just wanted to put my tuppence ha'penny out there.

Mike Gaynes
33 Posted 10/06/2020 at 17:27:18
Jay #32, maybe you can sell that malarkey to our UK friends, but don't try to put it past folks who know better.

Obamacare didn't put "small and medium sized businesses out of business" in any way, shape or form – when Obama left office, small business was doing better in America than it ever had before. I know, I own one, and most of my friends are small business owners. 2016 was an awesome time to own a small business in this country.

As for the way Trump has "dealt with the economy", maybe you haven't checked the numbers recently. Bleach Boy inherited a thriving economy from Obama. But he promptly exploded the deficit with his tax giveaway to his big-biz friends, plus his economic growth numbers and job growth numbers were never quite up to Obama's, and now of course he has trashed everything with his head-in-the-sand-and-lie handling of the virus crisis. 40 million newly unemployed and hundreds of thousands of businesses lost – which could have been largely avoided (along with a massive loss of life) if he had reacted like other nations did.

As Terry says of Eric, you're entitled to your own opinion but, in the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, you're not entitled to your own facts.

Jay Harris
34 Posted 10/06/2020 at 19:32:53

I am sorry to disagree with you as we agree on so many other matters but, as someone with over 300 employees at the time of Obamacare, we had to cut back to less than 50 equivalent full-time employees as Obamacare for all employees was simply unaffordable. So he may have helped your business but he certainly did not help mine.

You mention facts not fiction and it is a fact that, just before Covid-19, the US economy and unemployment levels were the best they had been for over 50 years.

Personally, I don't like Trump and I think he is an embarrassment as President of one of the world's leading countries and I do not want or think he will be re-elected but you have to acknowledge some of the things he has improved. And correspondingly, nice guy though he was, you have to acknowledge there were 2 economic slumps under Obama and a lot of wrong policy decisions.

That is not 'malarkey' – that is fact as I have seen it – and I've been here since 2004. I suppose we all have our prejudices and sentiments but that is my objective view.

Eric Myles
35 Posted 11/06/2020 at 07:35:00
Mike, my US friends on whom I gauge Trump all think as Jay does. Now it's a small demographic and they may be particularly biased, but based on their views, I think he'll win again.

Yes he's an egotist and dictator, that's probably because he's a businessman, not a politician, and is trying to run the country as a business. So he lacks the diplomatic skills of politicians but doesn't give a fcuk 'cos what he says goes.

Peter Gorman
36 Posted 11/06/2020 at 08:21:39
Hasn't the virus already been forgotten about as throngs of the easily manipulated gather in cities to set fire to stuff that isn't theirs?
Michael Kenrick
37 Posted 11/06/2020 at 13:36:40
It is going to be fascinating come November – assuming Trump doesn't terminate the election process and declare himself Life President.

Trying to get your head around American demographics is a daunting task, especially as an outsider. There are linkages which generally defy Western European comprehension but much of US politics has been taken over by the right-wing Christians, who incredibly voted for Trump in their swarms – despite his despicable morals. There is no reason to suppose they won't come out again in full support all across Middle America – the so-called red states that hold disproportionate sway in the anachronistic and hugely undemocratic Electoral College.

The Democrats have Joe Bidden. Hardly the kind of charismatic leader needed to oust Donald the Tyrant. I don't think he stands a chance unless there is a huge backlash against Trump. No sign of that but, if they can get their voters to actually turn out and vote, then they have a chance. They did it with Obama, who you'd think would have been universally popular as an articulate intelligent and well-meaning do-gooder after the fashion of earlier more iconic presidents.

What astounded me while living there was the absolute guttural hatred a substantial number of Republican voters I knew had for him. It rarely reached the public arena but was strongly expressed in private. When you listened to this, you couldn't help feeling there was definitely a racist overtone to the tirades.

What is still hard for me to understand is how religious the American people are. A vast number of them got to church every week. The number of churches is just astounding, and the so-called mega-churches that have congregations in their 10s of thousands each week, simply unbelievable.

And the religion they provide is hard-nosed, such a contrast to the European humanism that has taken over (softened?) our traditional religions. In the US, they use their distorted right-wing religion to totally justify things like completely trashing the earth and its resources, ignoring climate change because (a) god has given 'us', his disciples, all this to make the most of, and (b) the Second Coming is imminent and so there's no need to preserve the world for all the heathen lefties who'll be consumed by Armeggdon after The Passion whisks away the righteous ones. Yes, people really believe this stuff...

A fundamental belief in the literal truth of The Bible is central to all this, giving them dominion over women, queers, and of course, slaves. Yes, The Bible is full of stuff about how keeping slaves is just fine... with Jesus not only condoning it but making a disgusting analogy between slaves and their masters, and how his subjects should be beholden to their god. Time to burn down the churches, eh? But you can't because, in the US South especially, they are the refuge of the repressed minorities.

Who was that bloke who talked about the Opiate of the Masses?

Eric Myles
38 Posted 11/06/2020 at 13:53:27
Michael #37, I believe Obama got elected because of "The Black Vote" (and Oprah!), Hillary and Biden don't have that advantage.

And don't forget the xenophobic nationalistic middle America rednecks that are the reason Trump got elected, and will be re-elected.

Those that voted for him before have no reason not to do so again.

Mike Gaynes
39 Posted 11/06/2020 at 14:33:08
Eric #38, I'm very much enjoying your wise pronouncements on US politics. I've only been involved with them for about 45 years, so thanks for making me wiser with entertaining comments like "I believe Obama got elected because of "The Black Vote" (and Oprah!)". That's a beauty.

As for "Those that voted for him before have no reason not to do so again", you might check this out:

And here are some other folks who never voted Democratic in their lives but have found reason to do so now:

Retired Marine 4-star General James Mattis, Trump's own former Defense Secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership."

Admiral Mike Mullen, another former chairman of the Joint Chiefs: "...[Trump] laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces."

4-star Admiral William McRaven, director of the Osama bin Laden raid: “President Trump has shown he doesn’t have the qualities necessary to be a good commander in chief… The country needs to move forward without him at the helm.” To Trump he said: "Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation."

Republicans all.

James Flynn
40 Posted 11/06/2020 at 14:46:25
Eric (38) – Stupidity so open and bald-faced, in its way actually impressive.
Mike Gaynes
41 Posted 11/06/2020 at 15:12:52
Jay #34, saying "just before Covid-19, the US economy etc. etc." is sorta like saying that just before it hit the tree, my car had never looked better. The economic carnage we are experiencing is not just the result of Covid. It is the result of Trump's stubborn refusal to react to Covid. Other major nations that got the virus at the same time or earlier have suffered far less economic (and human) consequences because they acted immediately. By lying and denying the crisis, Trump drove the economy he had inherited intact from Obama into the tree.

As for Obama, it was he, not Trump, who was the best economic president since Bill Clinton. The last time a clueless Republican crashed this nation's economy with a lack of response to a sudden crisis -- GW Bush in 2008 with the mortgage meltdown -- it was Obama (with Joe Biden) who repaired the damage in just over a year. We were plummeting into a recession and losing 700,000 jobs a month when he took office. Amazing how quickly he turned that around.

Also, Obama was a better job creator than Trump: (,
...and a much better wealth creator for the middle class. His GDP growth numbers year-over-year were better than Trump's. And he did it without exploding the deficit as Trump has done -- or lining his own company coffers with our tax dollars as the openly corrupt Trump has done.

As for Obama's policy mistakes, they look like punctuation errors compared to the epically bad decisions and actions Trumputin has taken against his own country's best interests.

I'm genuinely sorry your company was harmed by Obamacare, but there are always going to be winners and losers in any major policy change, and it's a simple fact that small business as a category thrived after Obamacare was implemented. And personally I think it made us a better country. Cutting the number of uninsured Americans by two-thirds and protecting us all against health insurance abuses and restrictions was a good thing for millions of people.

Eric Myles
42 Posted 11/06/2020 at 15:30:33
Mike #39, I guess we'll see in November then!!

My bet is "four more years".

Mike Gaynes
43 Posted 11/06/2020 at 16:11:05
How large a bet, Eric? I'm up for a big transatlantic wager. Have your US friends throw in too. I'll cover you all.
Jay Harris
44 Posted 11/06/2020 at 16:55:06
Mike, as a member of two Chambers of Commerce, I fundamentally disagree that I was the only poor sod growing a business that was affected badly by Obama. Your memory is also being selective as this report shows:

Q1: The economy shrank 1.8%. Initially, the BEA thought it shrank 0.7%.
Q2: The economy rebounded to 1.3% growth. The initial release said it grew 0.6%. Many people thought the Fed's rescue of Bear Stearns ended the threat to financial markets.
Q3: The economy shrank 3.7%, less than the -4.0% initial estimate.
Q4: The economy collapsed, shrinking 8.9%.44 The BEA initially said it shrank only 3.8%, which seemed bad enough.

Q1: The economy shrank 6.7%. The initial estimate said it shrank 4.9%.
Q2: The initial estimate that the economy contracted by 0.7% was unchanged.
Q3: The economy rebounded to 1.7% growth.
Q4: The positive trend continued, with the economy growing 3.8%.

This was the first 2 years of Obama.

I understand why you do not like Trump and Obama is a very likeable guy. I know who I would rather have a drink with but you cannot claim that Obama's reign wasn't littered with a poor economy and collapse of the housing market and correspondingly you cannot claim that Trump inherited a healthy economy.

I have no doubt you will get your wish in November but I also dread the political manipulation by Pelosi, Schumer and Nadler.

I rest my case.

Terry White
45 Posted 11/06/2020 at 17:59:06
Jay (#44), what happened to the housing market from 2007-2009 came about from the relaxation of the criteria for qualification to buy a house. This took place under the Bush Republican administration and it was left to Obama to sort it out.

For a number of years the mantra "a house for all" resulted in people getting loans to buy houses who had no right to do so. There was greed in every sector of a house purchase transaction, from the buyer to the seller, from the mortgage finder to the mortgage lender, to the appraiser saying the house was worth what the buyer was paying, from the agent selling the home to the title insurance company "insuring" that everything was okay.

All of them had a vested interest in making the transaction happen as they had something to gain if it went through. None of them held back as, if the deal fell through, they would get nothing. And by "transaction", I mean that most of these parties walked away after getting their piece of the pie. They were never going to see the buyer again; the buyer was left with his loan being 120% of the purchase price because it was okay to make loans greater than the actual value, loans made without the capacity to repay being properly analyzed and without supporting documentation ("no-doc loan").

And since most of these loans were made at very low "teaser" rates, once the rate adjusted, repayments went up and the borrower did not have the capacity to repay the higher amount.

Please don't blame the Obama administration for these problems that were created under Bush.

Brent Stephens
46 Posted 11/06/2020 at 18:04:11
Terry, were they the Freddie May and Johnny Mack mortgages? Toxic debt sold on and on, eventually bringing about the crash of Lehman Brothers in the US and the subsequent global financial crisis?
Brent Stephens
47 Posted 11/06/2020 at 18:14:07
Fannie and Freddie!
Mike Gaynes
48 Posted 12/06/2020 at 02:06:42
Jay #44... "this was the first two years of Obama."


Oh, man. I wish you were kidding.

I feel bad about telling you this, but Obama was elected in November 2008.

His first day on the job was January 20, 2009.

All those catastrophic 2008 numbers you just posted were compiled under the disastrous leadership of one George W. Bush. That was the mess Obama had to clean up, beginning three weeks into Q1 2009.

And as you so accurately pointed out, by Q3 2009 he had reversed the disastrous trend left behind by Bush. It was one of the most brilliant (and swift) presidential performances of our lifetime.

Thank you for resting my case.

PS... and of course Obama's point man on getting his fix-it economic policies through Congress in early 2009 was Joe Biden. It's possible there isn't a single politician in America better qualified by raw experience to repair what the Republicans have wrecked (again) than Joe Biden.

Mike Gaynes
49 Posted 12/06/2020 at 02:13:57
Brent #47, that would be Mack The Knife.
Paul Ferry
50 Posted 12/06/2020 at 02:59:16
Eric (38): 'I believe Obama got elected because of "The Black Vote" (and Oprah!), Hillary and Biden don't have that advantage'.

Sorry, with respect, you clearly have no understanding of the current American political situation. Biden does have that 'advantage'. He has high respect among the 'black vote', although one of his clumsiest statements this year was when he in effect said that he could count on it.

Trump will lose in November Eric and one of the reasons is that while Hilary did not have the 'black vote' Biden will get a clear majority of it.


The anti-Hilary hysteria in Republican ranks – and more than a few democratic circles – is nowhere near replicated in the case of Biden. Republican moderates would not vote for Hilary but they will vote for Biden. Michael gave you some elite examples of that – though you, Eric, chose to ignore them. Their voices are vital but the votes of thousands and thousands of disaffected Republicans will cross to the other side.

Michael, in my opinion, gave a somewhat one-dimensional portrait of Republicans. Of course he is right about the excesses of the hard-religious-right and blinded bigots who would vote for Trump if he killed someone on live TV ('Hey, he is the first president to have the balls to do that. He's got balls and my vote').

There are a large number of Republicans who do not associate with the hard-right-religious zealots and their disgusting unquestioned nationalism and racism. There will be many Republicans Michael who will not on, quite frankly, moral as well as political grounds, vote for the most dangerous man on earth. They are embarrassed by the tit-head twitterer as much, if not more, than their lefty neighbours.

Nor should you paint America's middle in broad brush strokes MK. I move between two of those states on a regular basis and I can tell you that it is far more complex than your binary polarity. Trump is in trouble in Illinois and, yes, Iowa. I'll make a bet with Eric that Trump will not win in Iowa for reasons set out in the previous paragraph.

In addition, Trump has not kept his promises to the rust-belt and there is no way that working-class voters there will vote for him in anywhere like the numbers from four years ago.

So, to recap Eric:

Biden will win the 'black vote'. He will get a significant number of moderate Republican votes if they vote (and that too suits Joey). Trump will not win the rust-belt. Biden will win the major cities and suburban women. He will also pick up far more of his primary opponents' votes than Hilary was able to do. It seems evident that the clear majority of young people despise Trump and if they turn out to vote the orange turd is toast.

I might suggest, Eric, that you move out of the orbit of a few friends – friends tend to gravitate together because they share things – and actually engage seriously with American politics IF you want to pronounce on what is a heated cauldron.

Where's Jamie Crowley when you need him? Best wishes, as always, to Brother Mike and Mod. Mike!

Laurie Hartley
51 Posted 17/06/2020 at 12:49:33
Michael @ 38 - “Time to burn down the churches, eh? But you can't because, in the US South especially, they are the refuge of the repressed minorities.”

What a dreadful comment.

Darren Hind
52 Posted 17/06/2020 at 14:32:09
Burn churches? Nobody would dare in Brazil.

The infection figures coming out of that country really do strike terror.

The people must be at the point of despair. If Jay Wood could see this coming three months ago, millions of others would have seen it too. How the fuck has this been allowed to happen on this scale ?

While other countries are contemplating getting back some semblance of normality, their numbers are sky-rocketing.


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