Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWas this the week the administration threat was realised? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Was this the week the administration threat was realised? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Was this the week the administration threat was realised?

Familiarity with a dangerous situation helps to breed a certain amount of confidence in dealing with aforementioned situation, a confidence that can border on the complacent.

Spending hour after hour taming a wild animal allows you to learn how that creature operates and to recognise the danger signs that it may just be about to rip your face off. However, over-familiarity has a habit of breeding complacency and that’s bad.

You may wonder where I’m going with this but here’s the point where the comparison will become clear, hopefully. Arguably, the attitude of all those involved in football (from FA HQ to the boardrooms and changing rooms to the terraces) towards the situation of football clubs in administration has become that of the complacent lion tamer. Quite simply, an understandable point of view has developed where it would appear that football clubs in the Premier or Football leagues, much like the banks back in 2008, are just too big to fail.

It’s easy to see why this has happened and I know I’ve been guilty of this on many an occasion. Just take a look at the extensive list of clubs in the last decade to fall into administration. It’s been a semi-regular occurrence in recent years that you open your newspaper or switch on Sky Sports News and see that yet another club has gone into administration, resulting in that ten point penalty.

After a while, one starts to see a pattern that the vast majority of these clubs stay in business and life pretty much goes on as before. It’s a pattern recognised in other sports, with Nigel Hilliard, chairman of Essex County Cricket Club and a director of the ECB, arguing that it’s not too bad for cricket clubs to accumulate debt as the threat of administration is perceived as negligible due to the fact very few football clubs have gone under after being in administration.

The conclusion to draw from this is that a club falling into administration will result in the same outcome every time; clubs debt is reduced (partly with thanks to the well meaning but fundamentally misguided Football Creditors Rule), a new owner is brought in and life goes on as usual given a little time, apart from an usual drop down a division.

However, as I have alluded to before on this site, the threat a club is in when it finds itself in administration is a very real one that should not be underestimated, no matter how the pattern of clubs in administration in the past has gone. Administration in other businesses often leads to companies folding.

Three news stories from last week will hopefully help jolt the football community back into recognising the threat financial mismanagement (and even the unsustainable situation of football finances at most levels right now) can bring.

First of all, we have Port Vale going cap in hand to Stoke-on-Trent city council in a bid to get a £300,000 cash injection to keep the club ticking over to the end of the season, with the threat of administration looming over Vale Park, the inevitable millions owed to HMRC resulting in a winding up order being served.

Secondly, we have the ongoing situation at Rangers with the news that redundancies at the club may well extend to the playing staff; an example of how large a debt has accrued at that particular club. With many other clubs in Scotland feeling the knock-on effects (a case of if one of the Old Firm clubs sneezes, the SPL catches a cold), there could be yet more administrators getting business north of the border. More news comes out every day from Ibrox about redundancies, Craig Whyte and the millions the club owes.

And thirdly, the worsening crisis at Portsmouth where, in addition to players manning the ticket office and the club not being able to afford to have players injuries scanned and assessed, the administrator has expressed doubt over the club’s ability to fulfil its fixtures this season. The fact that on the BBC Sport page for Portsmouth, there is currently news stories regarding their three previous owners says a lot of all of the various interests that are still in place as that club battles to survive.

All of this is without even mentioning the ongoing threat posed to Darlington and the remarkable and heart-warming story of the fans trying to keep that particular club going.

For the good of football, hopefully this week can prove to be a tipping point in the fallacy that the current financial model of football is sustainable. However an institution as historic as Portsmouth going out of business is surely too big a price to pay.

Dan Whiteway @Dan_Whiteway

For more Football Blogs and opinion from football fans around the world