Wednesday 30 January 2013

"A Powerful Reputation For Accuracy"

It is of little wonder that the media cannot grasp the complexities of our membership of the EU when they fail to even try to grasp the basics of a Football Club's boardroom politics, particularly when it involves poker games between rich men, one of whom happens to be the founder of a gambling site called Betfair.

I will spare my readers of most of the details, just give a quick summary. First we come to the, very well funded, BBC who breathlessly reports this on 17th January:
Swindon Town has been put up for sale in order to avoid administration, with debts thought to be around £13m....Around £9m is set to be wiped from the deficit if Swindon enter administration for a third time in their history, but they may then face a points deduction.
Strangely enough there's not one quote in the BBC piece that backs its assertions up and seems instead to be based on this:
When asked if he could guarantee the club could avoid administration, Patey responded: "Not a single chairman in the country could do that." 
Still, it feeds into the lazy narrative that Swindon has had a long and dubious history of financial problems. Yet since a successful takeover in 2008 it doesn't owe a penny to creditors who are knocking on the door, doesn't have an overdraft, doesn't owe the taxman.

The main creditor is Swindon’s owner Andrew Black and it exists in the form of soft debt of his own money. Swindon’s current situation is that Mr Black, the main shareholder, for personal reasons has decided to sell, and it’s been that position for many months.

But the BBC, in their wisdom, ran with Swindon financial 'crisis' story, picking up on a quote which was taken out of context. As a result it has lead to constant accusations from other media outlets that are of a very untrue nature. No wonder Swindon Town received an apology and damages from the Football League Paper, for blatant libel. And now today the Daily Mail has this:

Paolo Di Canio is facing an increasingly uncertain future at Swindon, amid claims the financially stricken League One club will go into administration in the next 24 hours. 
A desperate search for new investment to help offset debts of around £13m appears to have failed and left club bosses fearing they may have little alternative but to call in the administrators. 
As a consequence, Swindon’s entire first-team squad would be put up for sale, in a move that would leave Di Canio agonising over his next move.
But...oh dear...
A DEAL has been reached which will see Swindon Town taken over by a consortium led by Jed McCrory subject to Football League approval, the Advertiser understands.
It is believed that the new owners and the current board, led by Andrew Black, will hold joint responsibility in the running of the club until the deal is ratified by the authorities.
Still, "a powerful reputation for accuracy" is what the media has, despite that you get a far more accurate picture of what's going on from a humble internet forum.

Update: Just simply marvellous:
Today's report in the Daily Mail which suggested Swindon Town's players were all up for sale and that the club was about to be plunged into administration appears to have been the result of an erroneous email.
The Advertiser has learnt that an agent issued the missive, which intimated that every member of the Town squad was available for transfer, last night.
The Adver has also been told that several agents have been claiming to represent players who are not their clients.

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