The Yid wrote:Moving to Northampton is a fucking stupid plan, but still not nearly as stupid as letting the council rape us for every penny. They have called the councils bluff (albeit at the expense of alienating their fanbase). IMO they won't be a new stadium, and the club will be back at Ricoh as owners within 2 seasons. ACL have done a sterling job distressing themselves, and in the process devaluing their own property.
They have called the councils bluff, and not got what they want.
You can tell they didn't have a plan when last season they had to set up a short term deal to use the Ricoh to finish the fixtures 24 hours before a game was due to be played. The fact that most of our home fixtures clash with Northampton's because it was done pretty much on the hoof and they had to have somewhere/anywhere to play. Why they brought a farcical judicial review against the council.
Now, you can get away with that, just, in those situations. Planning and building somewhere new you can't. There's far too many rules and regulations to just do things on the fly.
The way forward was not to just act like a spoilt brat. Short term the problem was the cash needed to pay the rent, with the longer term problem to get hold of the extra revenues to increase competitiveness. So you deal with them in order, firstly by stating the need for a lower rent (which they did), then by paying a reduced rent in order to enable negotiating a contractually binding cheaper rent (as it's unlikely anyone, including ACL, would move on that issue first without being given a push as it reduces their own income) to be less onerous on cash reserves but with a clear desire for this eventually to lead to ownership. Relationships remain amicable, making a deal more likely, while the problems are dealt with incrementally.
Had that happened I reckon we'd be a lot closer to a resolution and achieving that ultimate goal. It was achievable. Lower rent was offered. Take that short term and then start on negotiating to buy outright. Costs lowered short term, revenues largely unaffected, fanbase still by and large with you, better chance of a quick purchase.
Instead they just stopped paying completely, rejected lower rent and took steps clearly designed to attempt to financially distress ACL, blatantly trying to bully people. And you don't expect the people you do that to to be distrusting and unwilling to do business with you? All it's done is lead to a massively entrenched, pretty much irreconcilable, argument costing both sides huge amounts of money both in lost revenue and legal fees, and essentially leading to a race to the bottom to see who dies first. No-one wins. It is and was a ridiculous strategy, and bound to be a financial and PR disaster.
Now the Ricoh, as real estate, will retain its value as an asset long term much better that the football club. Many developers have stockpiled lands that are currently economically inactive because long term it's more worthwhile keeping the land and doing nothing with it than to sell.
The football club is continually going to hemorrhage money and reduce in value. While I've been pleasantly surprised with the way we've played and got ourselves back in contention quickly, we do still have quite a small, young squad, especially defensively, and we are still more involved in ensuring safety at this stage. A few injuries. especially to key players, could cause problems on the field and fatigue later on could see us fall away. There is still a very real chance we could be in L2 next year. If that happened would Sixfields still be affordable? Would they have to renege on that agreement as well and look for somewhere else again?
There does appear to have been a softening on the stance with SISU amongst fans somewhat, but that is largely down to the performances on the pitch IMO. They fall away and the animosity towards the owners returns. It is a highly risky, highly expensive strategy that even long term leaves you at a disadvantage as you've massively reduced your customer base.