There have been rumours surrounding Albion’s transfer budget on social media in recent weeks with some fans venting their frustration. However supporters should not be concerned.
The Coronavirus has had a detrimental effect on near enough everyone and everything, and football is no exception.
With packed stadiums not expected until 2021 at the earliest, clubs cannot rely on match-day revenue meaning that various teams around the country have struggled financially — and this is expected to continue for quite some time.
Staff need to be paid in full and clubs need to be kept afloat; transfer business comes after all of this for every club, including Albion. This is why we will not overspend.
When the retirement of long-serving CEO Mark Jenkins was announced on the 3rd August, Albion fans seemed to be concerned and worried as to why his departure has come now, with some believing it was linked to lack of funds, although this is not the case.
Jenkins informed the board of his departure before the lockdown began, meaning that he was set to leave no matter what.
The budget would be the same if Jenkins was still at the club. As a matter of fact, the way he guided the club through such a challenging period allows us to focus our worries on transfers and not the future of the club.
Ask any Bolton fan and I’d put money on them telling you that if they could go back in time, they would turn down all the big money signings if it meant their club had a safe and sustainable future, as opposed to being in League Two.
In a different world where we would have prioritised transfers, Albion may have had to furlough staff and cut jobs. Anyone with the best interests of the club in mind wouldn’t want that.
Public image and reputation is critical to a club such as Albion, where every source of funding provides a great financial boost.
If we were to make negative headlines for treatment of staff this could effect future brand and sponsorship deals and, as a result, the club’s finances in the future. This is a big reason as to why transfer funds aren’t put first.
The excitement of Albion returning to the Premier League is felt amongst all of us, but when complaining about our transfer plans or not being able to afford certain players, I believe we should all consider the position we could have been in if we hadn’t achieved promotion.
Jenkins stated in a recent interview that the wage bill would’ve been halved and selling players would’ve been our focus. Who knows where we could’ve ended up in the Championship? Even more worryingly, Jenkins claimed that “I literally do not know how some Championship clubs, without owner support, will survive.”
Yes we would all love to sign the best players, but if you take a step back from the desire to succeed, we can all come together and realise that the future is what matters and ours is secure.
Albion will have a small transfer budget, there is no way around it, and we will have to hope we can make the same smart signings as last summer.
Why not put a positive spin on things? Albion are in their best financial position since relegation from the Premier League in 2018; we are debt-free with the overdraft that was taken out now being paid off; we have a low wage budget — for Premier League standards — and a first class academy which is providing valuable assets for the present and very much for the future.
Even the compensation that will be received for Nathan Ferguson is likely to cover the annual costs of running the academy.
The broadcasting rights paid to Premier League clubs will be vital to Albion as reportedly 80% of a Premier League club’s revenue comes from broadcasting rights, as opposed to match-day revenue.
And, of course, we have a squad and a manager willing to put their all in for the club.
Remember, our future is secure and we still have a team to support despite these dreadful times. Enjoy the ride and let’s see where it takes us.
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