Monday, June 29, 2009

29 June 2009: McGoldrick

A week is a long time in politics. In the life of a Saints fan, it seems like everything - and nothing - can happen in a week.

As of this morning, we're still awaiting someone to buy the club, and Pinnacle are still hopeful of making it happen, but it hasn't happened yet. That's the bottom line. There are other groups interested - mainly one from Switzerland - but again nothing confirmed.

Meantime the club's employees were not paid last week when they were due to be paid, and that includes the playing staff. League contract rules state that if players go unpaid for two weeks, they are automatically released from their contracts, meaning they're worth nothing to Saints as they'll all be Bosman-style free agents.

So this morning 'star' striker David McGoldrick was sold to Nottingham Forest for "an undisclosed seven-figure sum" (no word on how they're being creative with decimal points or leading zeros), which should alleviate the immediate need to close a takeover deal in order to pay the staff. But - it implies that perhaps the takeover is still not as immediate as the Administrator would hope: Pinnacle (Matt Le Tiss in particular) are hoping for closure today or tomorrow, and the Swiss are rumoured to be poised to close at any moment. But if that's the case... why sell now?

Further rumours state that Drew Surman, the second of the three 'young stars' (ie saleable assets) at Saints will follow soon (actually the rumour is he has already put pen to paper for Wolves, with the explicit reason being to pay the wages at Saints), probably for a figure well below market value. The third, Adam Lallana, would be next.

Still, if nothing happens by the end of the week, the Administrator (one Mark Fry) stated that he "meet with the Directors of the Football Club to discuss options". In other words, begin winding the club up and liquidating its assets. There will be no more 'exclusivity' periods, said Fry, the paperwork is there and must be signed.

The most positive note is that Le Tiss has been saying that Pinnacle are now, for the first time, willing to sign the Football League's blackmail note saying they waive the right to appeal. The rumour is that they plan to take the League to court later, once ownership is established, to challenge the legality of the League's approach, since blackmail continues to be illegal - or at least unlawful - in the UK. But again - if it's so close to completion, why sell McGoldrick and Surman now to pay wages? At the very least, it betrays Fry's lack of faith in Pinnacle.

So, nothing much happening on the surface, but underneath things continuing like crazy.

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