In amid all the noise and comment that has followed Norwich City's descent into League One, much derision and scorn has been directed at the club's finances.
Most of the many 'experts' now doing the rounds would, you suspect, be in the 'Couldn't run a corner shop…' camp when it came to the lengthy charge sheet that has been laid at the door of those misfortunate enough to find themselves running a Championship football club in 2009.
It is a very interesting debate – one in which most tend to assume that running a Championship football club is a business like any other. That the same logic applies.
And that anyone who leads a Championship football club into administration – or, indeed, to the brink of – is some deluded half-wit who you wouldn't put in charge of a corner shop.
A charge you could level at not only Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones, Michael Foulger and Co, but also David Sheepshanks, Peter Ridsdale, Rupert Lowe, Sir Jack Hayward, Simon Jordan, Milan Mandaric, etc, etc…
People, in short, who have all run successful businesses in their 'outside' life only to be completely flummoxed when it comes to making the numbers behind a Championship football club stack.
Whether it was Jordan at Palace or Dave Whelan at Wigan who first coined the gag escapes me now, but it has never been more true that the quickest way to lose ?30 million “is to invest ?10 million in a Championship football club…”.
The irony, of course, comes in the fact that the joke was on them; they have both kissed good-bye to such fortunes in their pursuit of a place in the Premiership.
Of course, you can now add Reading's Sir John Madejski to that list as well as the Royals, too, slumped back to whence they came this week; no automatic ticket back to the good time for them. There's another fortune that lines the pockets of Leroy Lita's agent.
And these people aren't idiots.
Wynn Jones' publishing empire might not have been in the same order of magnitude of Madejski's AutoTrader operation, but both men know one end of a balance sheet from another. As does Jordan when it comes to the mobile phone business; Sheepshanks when it comes to mayo.
But still they pour more and more money down the toilet that is Championship football; all in the hope that they will – come the end of the season – be one of the lucky three with a ticket to the big time.
Which is why this piece is very, very interesting.
It is an interview with the chairman of Burnley Football Club, Barry Kilby, as he celebrated ten years at the helm of the Lancashire club. Interviewed last December, it is the same Barry Kilby who left Madejski's Reading on the seat of their pants in that play-off semi-final.
I guess that as everyone scrabbles around to find the model of 'well-run Championship' club, it is to Turf Moor that we will all now turn. Now that they're in the play-off final; 90 minutes from the Premiership – look and learn, Delia and Co, that's how you do it… Well run, professionally managed, etc, etc…
I heartily recommend everyone reads that piece; everyone who thinks that making the sums add up in the second tier of English football is child's play.
Burnley are, in part, where they are through the fact that they haven't yet had the 'joy' of being promoted to the Premiership; that they haven't yet had to work out the kind of sums that follows that one-year adventure; they have just been quietly moving up the queue behind the likes of Norwich, Leicester, Derby, Hull, Stoke City, etc…
It's just their turn this year.
They'll probably swap places with Hull.
There is another big reason why Burnley are where they are. And his name is Owen Coyle. More on him, later.
But back to Mr Kilby. For certain lines might ring a distant bell.
'My suspicion is that he is a BFC fan and a supporter first, chairman second,' writes the author.
“My father was a fanatic, he was a massive fan. He'd lived in Clayton le Moors, a sort of halfway house between Burnley and Blackburn and one day he just happened to decide to go and see Burnley, and he was hooked. He dragged me round then from the age of nine or ten and I caught the bug…' confirms the chairman.
How did he get there? On the back of a campaign to oust the previous chairman.
“There was the campaign to get the old board out. I'd just sold a company and had some spare cash so I bought shares from directors who had left… I became chairman and put ?1 million in. Then there was a rights issue and I bought the newly created shares as did members of the public so that brought new money directly into the club…”
Sound familiar? How about these lines?
'Burnley is the heart and soul of this town. Its image and name is based on the club.
'There is no one big central employer any more that carries a torch for the town so it's the club that does that. And this club still has a great reputation in the game. The name really means something. People still respect Burnley Football Club.'
Then came the collapse of ITV Digital…
“We immediately lost a ?4m cash flow over the next two years… It hit us harder than many other clubs because that was such a high proportion of our budget.
'For bigger clubs with bigger gates and bigger income it was less of a percentage they had lost. We'd really gone for it, brought in David Johnson and Paul Gascoigne. Johnson was a success, Gascoigne was not. But they still had to be paid and the money had gone…'
Five years on and the sleepless nights continue.
'My worry is that we go bust. Our wages bill is only ?3.8 million and that puts us 21st or something like that in that particular table. Whereas Birmingham talk about reducing their wage bill to ?20 million we worry if ours goes up from just ?3.8 million. We're losing near ?30,000 a week…'
This is Burnley. Our 'well-run' Championsip club. Losing ?120,000 a month. Chasing the dream; keeping the likes of David Marshall's agent Willie McKay in racing thoroughbreds.
And where does it all lead? It can't go on forever, surely…
“A number of things can happen. We can go bust, we can sell players, we can have cup runs and TV appearances or we can find new money.
'There are two new directors joining shortly who will put half a million each in. That million will tide us through, keep the wolf from the door this season. And just one season in the Prem would solve all our problems…'
This line is straight out of D Smith, The Valley, May, 2009.
'The Championship Division is where wages are unbelievably going UP. That's because of parachute payments and clubs that play the system. Why not share gates any more? Where is the old style integrity? Clubs don't help each other any more, the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker…'
And now they are on the brink of Barry's dream; ten years and upwards of ?5 million of his own money later and he stands where Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones stood in May, 2002, as they head for Wembley and, for the winner, the richest prize in world football. A ticket with ?40 million attached.
And they got there by the appointment of O Coyle; the former St Johnstone boss who no-one had ever heard of south of the border.
But one man had. Peter Grant had. For Coyle was the first team coach that never came to Norwich in the summer of 2007.
Instead, he stayed put in Perth for another four months and became the boss of Barry Kilby's Burnley in the November.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
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