Buried in the choreography of Southampton’s breakthrough on a 10% salary deferral for the players, there were clues to the desperate struggle that was going on beneath the surface in Premier League clubs.
Southampton’s management team is preparing to lay off non-player staff on Wednesday evening, risking the reputation of the post since Liverpool overturned public relations seven days ago.
It is this perspective that has extracted a compromise of all kinds from Southampton players.
Southampton deal on salary deferral hints at clubs’ desperate fight
It is a deferral of wages, not a reduction – the loss of £ 6,000 per week for the average player, refundable across the board. The Premier League had asked for a collective reduction of 10%, and 20% more deferred. This arrangement is much less than that.
There are positive points in there, if you are going to search.
Here is some evidence that compassion can extend through a club, those above the stairs – the players – incurring temporary financial loss to pay the wages of those below.
Manchester United chief Ed Woodward has started negotiations with the players on the cuts
Here is a message to teams from top to bottom across the country that there is a way to bypass a professional football association that believes clubs must prove they are not trying to shoot fast by asking players to suffer a little bit financially. .
It will be the same PFA who appointed Nick de Marco QC – one of the top British lawyers in sports litigation – at great cost to fight their wedge in wage negotiations. This appointment speaks volumes about the union’s approach to this crisis. It’s contradictory.
Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal can all follow Southampton’s route. Yet these are pitifully weak skylights at the end of a very long tunnel.
The most extraordinary statement came from Brighton, the epitome of a well-run, community-oriented club.
Brighton CEO Paul Barber has issued a harsh warning about the club’s financial future
CEO Paul Barber revealed that many non-playing staff – tea ladies, ground keepers, equipment staff, administrative staff – showed up without prompting, with offers to cut back wages to keep the club afloat while negotiations with players continued.
Barber chose his words with care and diplomacy. He thanked Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray for leading “positive and constructive” discussions. He said to the PFA “I understand” and “I respect you” in his warnings.
But the message to the PFA was clear from an individual who is currently punishing wages, which means that those who run out in Brighton colors these days are financially lifelong. “For the love of God, help us here.
A clue to the reasons for the statement was revealed in a report from Enders Research last month, which showed that only four Premier League clubs had more assets that could be quickly converted into cash than monthly expenses – “current assets positive net ”.
These are Arsenal, Bournemouth, Burnley and Southampton.
Arsenal is one of four clubs to record positive net current assets
Many clubs have a very negative asset value – they are in debt to the hilt, in other words – with Brighton most distressed of all by a considerable distance.
Their negative asset value is £ 223,072, which means the club will only survive as long as owner Tony Bloom can put his hand in his pocket. He has already invested £ 300 million in the club and is currently finding his leisure businesses hard hit by the crisis.
Struggling for alternative breakthroughs over the huge payroll burden that sees the average Premier League player being rewarded with £ 60,000 a week, other clubs are looking for different ways to find their way.
West Ham wants to raise £ 30 million from a private rights offering offering additional shares to existing investors, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
Even staff who don’t play in seemingly untouchable clubs are worried.
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderosn led efforts to form #PlayersTogether initiative
Although Liverpool has emerged from a public relations nightmare by reversing the decision to lay off non-player staff on Monday, Anfield said that many of these employees are more anxious now.
Some feel a heavier burden than they would have if their wages had been subsidized. They have no work and wonder if their positions are safe.
Even before the crisis started, the club did not expect to match last year’s £ 42 million profit. Without lower player wages, finances are more complex than PR.
Frankly, economic analysts are surprised that so few players are able to appreciate the financially fragile buildings that Premier League clubs have suddenly become.
“Clubs just don’t have the financial leeway,” said James Barford of Enders. “I do not know many companies that can continue to exist for a long time if the turnover is zero and without activity. Clubs are not wealthy in how wealthy people are.
It has been a month since Atletico Madrid defeated Liverpool in farewell to elite football
As of Friday, we will have traveled precisely one month after the Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid Champions League game that tore down the curtain on elite football and, as of Thursday evening, only Southampton had officially announced a breakthrough in player wages.
“There does not seem to be any appreciation that the party is here,” said a senior club adviser. “Many clubs are closing. Where’s the emergency? There are a lot of people sleeping in it. “
No one could have anticipated this crisis. And no one could have predicted the answer.