Writer: Mikey Delap
Date:Monday September 7 2009
Blackburn chairman John Williams has stepped into the breach to make a statement with regards to this summers transfer activity. Rovers fans are always asking what happens to the excess cash and vent their fury at where the extra money goes - well here is the answer.
Almost half of this summer's transfer fees had to be used to balance the books at Ewood Park instead of being used to refresh the squad.
Despite the likes of Roque Santa Cruz, Matt Derbyshire and Stephen Warnock being sold and generating about £26million, manager Sam Allardyce had £13.5 million to spend in return.
That has led to much groaning and ramblings amongst fans but Williams has conceded that whilst annoying - it was unavoidable as Rovers needed to cover financial deficencies.
As well as the usual expenditure, the sacking of one manager and the hiring of a new one plus all the backroom staff added further pressure to the Rovers business model, not to mention the fewer numbers of Rovers games on TV.
Williams, speaking in a club official statement said - 'That is the gap that had to be plugged from the Santa Cruz deal,'
'For years we have stretched ourselves budgeting a league finish above that suggested by the wage bill.
'This year we took a more pragmatic approach to our mantra of break-even; a 13th-place finish would support circa £41million annual wage bill.
'Therefore we needed to get £5million off the wages. We have failed to do this.'
To plug that gap - Rovers spent £2 million of the £7 million Stephen Warnock fee on a replacement, Pascal Chimbonda, and put the rest to cover the wages deficit.
Williams continued - 'Not surprisingly wages are running very similar year on year,'
'So we have filled the resulting £5million hole with the difference in transfer fees between Stephen and Pascal.
'I'm not entirely comfortable about funding wages from transfer fees but developing players, buying low and selling high has, by necessity, become part of our business.
'I suppose the most sobering thing about this is that even if we stretch ourselves to achieve break-even at operating level that still leaves nothing for player acquisition. So trading is the name of the game.'
Nevertheless, Williams in confident Rovers can mix it with the rest on the pitch.
'I do get depressed at times when I see the spending power of the clubs with big fan bases and/or wealthy owners putting in money,' Williams clarified.
'But they're not better than us, they don't work any harder, they just have more money.
'Many of them I know look with envy at our achievements on and off the field over recent years.
'And they certainly don't have a greater ambition than us.
'My greatest fear is not that we haven't stretched ourselves enough, it's that we have stretched ourselves too far - but lack of finance is nothing to be ashamed of.
'We should in fact be proud to be supporting a big club in a small town.
'We deserve to be in this league, it's no fluke.'
Hopefully this puts to rest all the wondering about what happens to the transfer cash - and BIG props to JW for coming out and facing the mob with this statement. The best chairman in the league by a mile continues his good work.
Date:Monday September 7 2009
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