Given the current state of the global economic scenery and the impending Eurozone crisis it would be foolish to consider football, almost the archetypal boom and bust business, to be immune to such exterior influences.
You only need witness Sky Sports News’ desperation for something, anything, to happen in this January’s transfer window, if only to validate Bryan Swanson’s existence, to realise that football club expenditure has been capped across the board. Sir Alex Ferguson is continuing his frantic quest for value in the transfer market, Arsene Wenger’s fretting over which 16-year old Frenchman he can afford and even Roberto Mancini has been forced to admit he has to sell before he can buy.
On a much smaller scale Crawley Town, the so-called Manchester City of League Two, is seemingly scaling down its extravagant spending following the admittance that the club’s paltry attendances are causing budgetary constraints. Steve Evans, be it through either misguided jealousy or promotion-chasing pressures, deemed it necessary to cast his own aspersions as to Southend United’s spending claiming that Paul Sturrock was throwing money as if it were confetti.
The only problem being that it simply isn’t true. The club’s financial plight is hardly a secret and no matter what Evans may think, confetti stocks are comparatively low. The club continues to lose money on a monthly basis and the development of Fossetts Farm could not come soon enough.
This factor, even if it does seem to elude Steve Evans, only contributes towards Paul Sturrock’s activity in the transfer market. The squad has been strengthened significantly this month without spending exorbitantly, perhaps best demonstrated by the most recent acquisition of Pat Baldwin. An experienced centre-half with great lower-league pedigree has arrived on a free transfer to shore up a defence that has looked unusually fragile as of late.
Sturrock’s ability in the transfer market is almost fabled. Noted as a manager that consistently overachieves what his budget might dictate in the book ‘Why England Lose’, Sturrock was also hailed in a recent article in the Financial Times that considered managerial success in correlation to expenditure. Former manager Steve Tilson also featured, highlighting the successful string of managers the club has had of late.
Given Southend’s parlous financial state and the current economic climate, Sturrock has proven himself to be a highly adept manager of clubs in particular predicaments. Promotion this year would surely be the jewel in his crown.
By Liam Stoker