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Wilde: Administration was ‘almost inevitable’
1:53pm Thursday 7th May 2009 in Sport
THE man who started the game of boardroom musical chairs at St Mary’s admits administration was “almost inevitable” the moment Saints were relegated from the Premiership in 2005.
Michael Wilde is not surprised that Saints, Charlton and Norwich have been demoted to League One this season.
For Saints and Norwich, it was their second relegation in five seasons having both relinquished their grip on the Premiership millions in 2004/05.
Charlton’s demise has been even quicker – they have gone down twice in three seasons and in 2008/09 went down despite being in possession of a £7m parachute payment.
Norwich’s majority shareholder, TV chef Delia Smith, hit out at “how football has sold itself to money” following her side’s relegation on Sunday.
Inevitable And Wilde told the Daily Echo: “Where we are (in administration) is almost an inevitable consequence of relegation from the Premier League and that’s where it all stems from.
“It is interesting to note that the three going down from the Championship this year were all recently Premiership clubs because they are the clubs most hit.
“There is a great deal of difficulty for these clubs in getting their infrastructure in line to cope with a dramatic loss of revenue.
“That’s the nature of the business we’re in.
“It isn’t about individuals, it’s about loss of revenue and how to deal with that.”
Wilde has a point, to an extent.
Saints, Norwich and Charlton are not the only former Premiership clubs to have gone down twice in recent years.
The likes of Nottingham Forest (2005), Leeds (2007) and Leicester (2008) have also spiralled down into the third tier.
Other clubs such as Sunderland, West Ham, West Bromwich Albion, Wolves and Birmingham have gone back up, though, rather than getting relegated again.
Keith Harris, chairman of investment company Seymour Pierce, had been tasked to find investment for the Canaries.
That is exactly the job he has been trying to do for Saints as well following Wilde’s arrival in the corridors of power back in the summer of 2006.
At least Norwich welcomed two wealthy people on their board in 2007 in Andrew and Sharon Turner, whose Central Trust business had been valued at £275m.
Peter Cullum, the UK’s 40th richest man, got involved in talks with Norwich in 2008.
He said he was prepared to put up to £20m into the club for player purchases, but not without control.
Norwich said at least £56m would be needed to buy the club.
Desperate search That was made up of £20m for new players, £16m to buy up shares, £16m to pay off the club’s bank debt which would be called in if a takeover went through and £4m to repay directors’ loans Mr and Mrs Turner have since quit the board, leaving £2.5m of interest free loans and a black hole because of £1.5m they had said they would invest.
It appears all three clubs relegated from the Championship this season are desperately trying to bring in new investment.
“We've been speaking to the Charlton directors who are in the same position,” said Smith. “We’re all trying everything we can.”
Asked if there was any sign of new investors, Smith’s husband, Michael Wynn Jones, said: “We’re still trying to find them. We’re still talking to them.”