Nottingham Forest - Technically Skint
Nottingham Forest Finance Director John Pelling, was interviewed on the clubs` official site yesterday, where he outlined the current financial state of the club. He also went on to explain the effects that the new Financial Fair Play rules would have on the club and why NFFC had brought in fewer players than the manager and supporters alike were expecting.
The overriding message that Pelling was attempting to put across, was that FFP was going to have a big impact on every club within the Football League in the coming years. Although the ruling has yet to be accepted by the clubs, Pelling stated that there was widespread support for it and was accepted by the majority of Chairman, as a means to make clubs`more financially stable at a Football League meeting last year. Any penalties imposed on clubs` failing to comply with the new rulings, will not come into effect until the 2013/14 season. Despite this, he said NFFC were trying to get one step ahead of the game by preparing for it now.
Pelling spelled out the bleak facts about the finances at NFFC, saying that whilst the club had revenues of £15m last year, it made a loss of £12m. The shortfall was made up by Nigel Doughty, who pumped the money in to balance the books. Pelling went on to say that the club was expecting to reduce that loss to £11m this season and to fall into line with the new FFP rules when they eventually come into place, the club were hoping to reduce those costs further to £10m next season. Pelling said that the club had already this season effectively run out of money and that Nigel Doughty is writing monthly cheques to keep the club afloat and pay the bills.
There`s no doubting that the financial status of most football clubs` is dire and something has to be done to make them more financially responsible and stable. I think the majority of fans would see the need for this and would accept that every club has to live within their means. The idea behind FFP is a good one and on the face of it should be welcomed and applauded. The problem, as is always the case, is which clubs` will flaunt the rules and find a way round the sanctions in place stopping them from spending money they don`t have. In defence of NFFC`s eagerness to comply with the ruling, Pelling warned that big spending clubs` such as Leicester City and West Ham United, will "have very bad news coming their way unless they go up this season.'
Now I`ve long been a critic of Nigel Doughty and feel justified in being so. The reason for the criticism, which in my opinion climaxed during the January transfer window of 2010, is NFFC`s continued policy of chasing unrealistic targets, pulling the wool over the eyes of their supporters and pretending to be one of the division`s big hitters when it comes to signing players. The last major signing the club made (again in my opinion), was that of Robert Earnshaw back in 2008, when we paid Derby £2.65m. Many people will rightly or wrongly argue that in 2009 the club spent in excess of £5m on new talent, but that in the words of then manager Billy Davies, was "playing catchup" with the rest of the teams in the Championship. The squad was so lacking in terms of ability at that time, that a failure to make additions, would have meant another relegation battle, just to stay where we were.
I welcome the explanation from John Pelling about the state of our finances and the openness with which he spoke. I also welcome the fact that he acknowledges our failings in the transfer market and that we have not strengthened in the way both the manager and supporters were led to believe we would. The big problem that NFFC now face, is whether this strategy is what new manager Steve McClaren signed up to and whether it`s what he was promised when he joined. He has already gone on record saying he is unsatisfied with the way things have gone, after being given assurances that he would be allowed to spend money on strengthening the squad. It`s apparent from Pelling`s interview that no such strengthening will be carried out and that the £1.8m spent to date, will be our lot for this year. The financial future for Nottingham Forest is one of prudence and further cost cutting. That is not the strategy of a club aiming to regain its place in the top flight, it is however the strategy of a club hoping to retain its status in the division it`s currently in. NFFC could now stand for No Financial F****** Clout. If it turns out how the hierarchy at the club are hoping, it may turn out to stand for Not Financially F****** Clueless afterall.