JAMES SHIELD: Gambles that don’t pay off

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PLYMOUTH Argyle are the latest club to discover that romance and finance can be a dangerous combination when it comes to football.

Less than a year after unveiling plans for a brand-new state-of-the-art stadium, the Devonians are now potless and seemingly destined for League Two after being deducted 10 points for serving a notice of intent with regards with administration.

Forget Brazil, Spain and Australia.

Bradford, Stevenage and Accrington Stanley looks the best Home Park’s faithful can hope for.

Assuming, of course, they survive their latest off-the-pitch crisis.

Intriguingly, Brendan Guilfoyle, who as part of the P&A Partnership has been charged with steering Argyle through the whole sorry episode, recently used his personal blog to call for the abolition of the football creditors rule in a bid to put the brakes on the game’s profligate spending.

Directors, players and supporters will nod their heads sagely at Plymouth’s plight.

But they won’t be the last side to find themselves on the edge of a precipice.


Because the temptation to splash the cash is too great.

Fans are not to blame for the situation.

But, together with sections of the media, we can and frequently do make it a whole lot worse by viewing teams in isolation rather than considering the picture as a whole.

Remember how even Arsene Wenger was recently chastised for refusing to spend huge sums in the transfer market?

Clubs are always implored to ‘gamble’ but to gamble, first you must have money to buy some chips.

Setting the roulette wheel in motion without having the wherewithal to cover your wager could have disastrous consequences should the right number fail to come up.

Yet this is still, effectively, what owners are constantly urged to do.

And, without wishing to feel sorry for folk who enjoy bloated bank balances, often in particularly unsavoury terms.

Unless we decide to adopt an American-type model, where everyone is forced to operate on similar amounts and struggling franchises are given helping hands in subsequent drafts, then only a more sensible dialogue between football’s stakeholders will prevent others going to the wall.

In a such a selfish and avaricious marketplace, persuading those with the luxury of a billionaire on the board to consider the greater good could be difficult.

But surely not impossible?