The news of Crystal Palace entering administration may not have come as a major shock for Palace fans but there is no doubt that upon hearing the announcement their heart, like mine, would have sank.
The Eagles have been unable to pay players their wages on four occasions this season and have also been handed two transfer embargos. The first came towards the end of the summer transfer window last August for unpaid wages and bonuses to ex-players while the second was handed to the south east London club at the end of September for transfer fees owed to Ipswich for striker Alan Lee.
Cash-strapped Palace were also reported to the Football League last week by rivals Charlton Athletic who were ‘furious’ they had not received £100,000 has part of the transfer for defender Paddy McCarthy in 2008 – sending the Addicks into financial difficulty themselves – something many Palace fans wouldn’t have felt too ashamed of.
Chairman Simon Jordan complained that the poor attendances at Selhurst Park was also contributing to the club’s economic demise and compared the crowd numbers to the likes of League One sides Norwich City and Charlton Athletic.
He said: “People need to look at the reality. Charlton, Norwich, Leeds, Leicester and Southampton have all been relegated in recent seasons with enormous attendances – if we’d had as many fans coming as Norwich did last season we’d probably get an extra £5million or £6m a season.”
So while the news of administration was somewhat expected the impact it may have – if not sorted soon – could be huge. The main danger surrounding the club at the minute is the potential deduction of 10 points which will send the cash-strapped club currently sitting just two points away from the plays offs to hanging scarcely above the relegation zone in 20th position.
Another threat is the possibility of losing players especially highly rated youngster Victor Moses who looks destined to leave. With a host of top English and foreign clubs queuing up to sign the England under-19 International, who picked up the December Championship player of the month award, it now seems that the teenager may be snatched from the grasp of Palace at a knock off price.
The club snubbed Manchester City’s £2million bid for Moses on Friday and having previously valued the player at £5million the Eagles could now find themselves being forced into significantly lowering his price tag. If former Palace midfielder Ben Watson was judged to be worth £2million by Wigan, a club reportedly interested in Moses, this time last year then the departure of the Nigerian born winger for less than £2million would be considered more as a crime than a eligible transfer.
One thing is for certain with whoever ends up with Moses, who signed his professional contract for Palace in 2008 after playing his way up through the youth academy, is that they are sure to have bagged themselves a great bargain that even David Dickinson would be proud of.
But Eagles’ fans needn’t despair too much as the 10 point deduction – although looking inevitable – is not completely confirmed after the club and the administrators have yet to fully inform the Football League.
The club was saved from administration back in 2000 by Simon Jordan but this time the Chairman and lifelong fan, who declared he wanted to sell the club in 2008, was unable to rescue the Selhurst Park outfit. Although earlier this year on January 4th he reportedly hauled the club from the brink of administration after securing a new agreement with London based firm Agilo who they owed £4.5million.
Jordan said: “It is not true that we are on the verge of administration. I am close to signing a new agreement with Agilo so we are not going into administration tomorrow (January 5)”.
But with the club set to go to court tomorrow (January 27) with a tax bill over £1.2million the signs looked ominous for Palace fans. And the news announced today saddened many and sent the message boards into overload with not just Palace fans contributing but football fans across the country offering their condolences.
Finishing on a positive note there is one fan, as I’m sure there are many more, in the form of holmesdale.net editor Gordon Law who took a positive approach to the news and announced a statement that many fans will hope to turn out true.
He said: “You’re always going to have more chance of a buyer coming along and picking up the club for a knockdown price while it’s in administration than in normal circumstances where there are significant debts.
“In some ways it might be a good thing as the debts will be gone and we might get someone who will be able to take us forward. Precedent is a good thing and there are plenty of clubs who have come through this stronger.”
Written By Sam Ross