He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!
20 August, 2010 23:27
Craig Bellamy is a player, who has courted as much bad publicity as Genghis Khan, but is he the Messiah, or is he just a very naughty boy?
Tomorrow is a big day in the life of any Cardiff City fan. For me, this week has been a week of celebration and floating on cloud nine. On Sunday, rumours were circulating that Bellamy was a done deal, and would be signing within 48 hours. There had been rumblings that he was looking to come to us since just before the play off semi finals, and his presence at the CCS for the game against Leicester, and again at Wembley for the final, seemed to add some credence to this. So, when he eventually signed, it was one of the most euphoric footballing experiences of my extensive career as a City fan. We had signed one of the most talented footballers in the Premier League, and he is still at his peak! If I thought that was good, the A level results for my daughter added an even bigger spring into my step! (But that’s not for here!)
Having announced our coup, City were suddenly the target of vented anger from the Chairman of Motherwell over an unpaid debt. I watched the live Sky Sports News interview, and eventually began to chuckle to myself. This was something out of a Carry on film! The more he talked the angrier he got, the angrier he got, the redder he got, the redder he got, the funnier he was. He was venting his spleen over an unpaid debt of £175,000 for the transfer of Paul Quinn, and threatening all sorts of action to get his money. It was his outlandish ideas to get his money that had me laughing most though. He was going to send the bailiffs to the CCS on a match day to recover cash. Now, bearing in mind we have cashless turnstiles, and bearing in mind the catering and bars are franchised so none of that cash is Cardiff’s, I was at a loss to work out what cash these bailiffs were actually going to seize. That and the fact that they’d have 20,000 Cardiff City supporters to get through before they even saw the inside of the stadium really did make me chuckle! Then, I heard something that made me angry. John Boyle, the chairman of Motherwell was at the helm of Zoom Airlines when they went bust leaving thousands of holiday makers stranded or out of pocket. In 2008 he jetted off to Bermuda with 150 guests for his wedding, which cost £250,000. This was just 6 years after he presided over Motherwell going into administration owing creditors £8 million. Yes, his companies had owed hundreds of people millions of pounds, and he is shouting on national television about the fact that we owe him a few hundred thousand pounds. Granted, Cardiff City should have paid the debt, but in the greater scheme of things, it wasn’t that much when compared with £8 Million, was it Mr Boyle? It didn’t stop there though, the Chairman of the Football League then got publicly involved, saying that they wouldn’t register Bellamy until we had given certain assurances. Well, there was no transfer embargo, so why were they publicly announcing that they weren’t happy with our signing? This was obviously pressure from other chairmen who suddenly realised that Cardiff City Football Club is serious about kicking on from last years near miss in joining the elite of the Premier League. Whether it was right or wrong for the FL to get involved, it was certainly wrong for the chairman of the league to go public with his concerns before speaking in confidence to CCFC. In the end, they’d wasted their time, because after we gave the assurances the league required, they went ahead and registered Bellamy in time for him to be included in the squad for Saturday.
After Boyle’s outburst, there was a clamour of journalists and football clubs jumping on his band wagon. One newspaper’s headlines asked how a club that had received 4 winding up orders could afford to sign a £90K a week player. I’ve seen message boards with fans saying it can’t be right that a team who owes Motherwell £2 million (yes, a little exaggeration I think!) and can’t pay the tax man is signing a player like Craig Bellamy. The furore has ensured that Cardiff City has been on every back page; every sky sports report and even on National news for the whole of the week. There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and I’ve no doubt that there’ll be a microscopic examination of Bellamy’s first game in the championship, leading to a bit more publicity in the week to come. Plenty of coverage of the mighty bluebirds on national television will please our sponsors, which in turn will lead to more sponsors wanting to be involved with us.
So, before we all fall into the trap of believing what the papers say, let’s examine the FACTS!
Firstly, Cardiff City has not been the subject of 4 winding up orders. The simple truth is that Cardiff City has successfully defended 4 court hearings to see why they shouldn’t be wound up. In other words, a totally independent judge in a court of law has seen on 4 occasions that Cardiff City is PAYING OFF its debts. It hasn’t gone down the route of administration like many clubs have, leaving local businesses out of pocket, leading to local workers losing their jobs, and ruining the lives of hundreds of ordinary hard working people. Instead, they are attempting to take their responsibilities on the chin, standing up and being counted, and ensuring that in this time of austerity, the club that is Cardiff City is paying its way. Is it easy for clubs to go into administration, pay their creditors a penny in the pound, and then sign a top class international for the season without anyone taking a blind bit of notice? Ask Crystal Palace, they’ve just done it!
Then there’s the tax man. Well, he’s been paid, and paid on time as well, the latest payment made just this week, while the league were haranguing us over our finances.
Motherwell have now been paid half of their outstanding debt, with the remainder promised by the middle of next week. So they get all their money, not just a penny in the pound, which would have meant them getting £1,750 instead of the full amount.
That leaves the argument that we can’t afford to sign a player of Bellamy’s stature, especially on £90K a week. So, how can we afford it? Well, the loan agreement is between Manchester City, Cardiff City and Craig Bellamy. But, its now become apparent that his signing for us has generated a massive injection of cash from supporters buying Bellamy merchandise in the shed load. Conservative estimates say that the extra season tickets and walk up ticket sales will pay our share of his salary, with the rest paid by his parent club. So his salary gets paid AND our income increases through merchandising. An entirely sensible business deal that seems to have upset Motherwell and everyone else in the league, apart from our remaining creditors.
Craig Bellamy it seems is the Messiah!