The Jonathan Jackson Column

Friday 24 May, 2002

Was I Wrong To Trust The Big Man?

I like many of us at VP have had my moments and mood swings with Mr Richmond.

I work for a company based in Scarborough, and after the way he walked away from Scarborough FC (and his ill fated launch of Scarborough Pirates RL) you won't find many people over there that using glowing words to describe him. I have even heard him called a crook on more than one occasion by some of the fair folk in that neck of the woods, although I must stress that I have only heard him called it and never actually spoken to anyone who could remotely prove it.

I suppose my big lows with him were when he sacked Kammy, replaced him with Jagger and then sold Eddie Youds at the end of 1997/98.

At this point I nominated him as villain of the season in the City Gent.

Since then he has repaired my faith in him and recently at least I haven't had time for anyone who has a word to say against him, as he systematically developed VP, put a Premier League team in it and performed the biggest miracle of all in keeping us there.

But now I am sat here wondering why I have allowed my blind faith in the man to cloud my vision so much.

Not that I am laying the blame of the current situation all at his door. I honestly believe that such contentious points as the dividends and the overspend have probably got just as much (if not more) to do with his silent partner at VP. It worries me that the Rhodes family have not either wanted to or been made to take some account or responsibility for this mess.

What worries me more is that with my 20/20 hindsight, it appears now that the panic button at VP has been pushed far too early and potentially with devastating consequences.

The 3 big questions I find myself asking are:

  1. Why did we go into Administration so early. Ok the club has debts of £13million and is losing money at a steady rate, but money is due in August, £2m in unpaid transfer fees and the last parachute payment. Surely the Inland Revenue would have waited until then for promise of full payment.
  2. Why hasn't some of the £1.5million plus that the club has taken in season ticket sales since the end of March been used to pay the Inland Revenue.
  3. Has the full extent of the problem been known for an awful lot longer than we are being told (ie were we on the verge of this BEFORE the loss of Monkey Digital), and was the 25 Year Season Ticket scheme a last ditch attempt to stave it off?

It seems to me that things have come to a head because the Directors of the club, or should I say the possibly one of the Directors who has guarantees at the bank (and this could be Rhodes or Richmond) has woken up to the fact that they simply can't or (more likely) won't extend their potential loss any further. Accept the fact they are set to lose £6.5m and walk away.

Today's development is worrying. I now have serious concerns that this club won't rise from the ashes (and on a selfish point I am about to lose £2000 paid for my season ticket).

I go abroad tomorrow, and I pray that I have a football club to back to. If I don't then I will never forgive the man I trusted so much.

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