Saturday, 22 October 2011
Breaking down the walls of denial and delusion that have been put up by Franchise customers desperate to establish some legitimacy over the years has never been easy, particularly when it comes to the funding and financial status of Franchise FC. So much was kept secret and of course that came on the back of all the lies Koppel told about the club's status to try to force through the franchising to Milton Keynes. Even quoting from company accounts often doesn't penetrate the state of denial, partly because you actually have to pay for copies of these documents from Companies House, so they are not that freely available to the doubters. However, a recently linked-to website is providing certain summarised facts from company accounts, which has at least got through to a few of the customers in terms of just how bad a financial situation Franchise has always been in and, crucially, still is.
Let's start with the Franchise FC accounts:
You can see the figures there bear out everything I've ever posted on this blog. There is a reason this blog uses the word 'truth' in its title - that's what I write, the truth, based entirely on the facts.
Not surprisingly, having to face up to these appalling figures has got some of the Franchise customers in a spin, which has been countered by others basically claiming that 'we're not as bad as some clubs'. Can you believe it? I can, because I've seen these apologists use exactly the same excuse for the last nine years. For some unknown reason, they seem to think that some other club being in worse trouble than they are makes it OK that they are in trouble. Mad or what? It's like trying to reassure a terminal hospital patient by telling them the patient in the next bed is going to die first! An ugly concept, but that's exactly the spin that is being peddled to Franchise customers and it has been the case for a long while now. Franchise FC may not be on its deathbed just yet, but, crucially, it's in as bad a shape as Wimbledon FC was in 2000. If anyone wants to claim what was done to Wimbledon FC had any legitimacy whatsoever, then they should be saying exactly the same things about Franchise now - it's a struggling club, with little support from the community, that can't balance its books and that doesn't own the stadium it plays in. And bear in mind it's doing all that in a division below where Wimbledon FC were!
If you want to check out more of the complex goings on above Franchise FC in the company structure, check out the other companies Winkelman is involved with:
It's not so easy to work out exactly the status of the InterMK companies (http://companycheck.co.uk/company/03795536 and http://companycheck.co.uk/company/06297789) , but pay close attention to the current assets of the companies involved. Franchise FC itself has virtually no assets and huge liabilities, clearly showing how the football club itself is still basically insolvent, only a going concern because of the yearly guarantee of additional funds from the holding company.
We will have to wait some time for the impact of this year's player sales to register in published accounts of course, but with the Clydesdale Bank (itself with question marks over it right now) loan due for repayment in 2012, there will be more developments on this front within the next year. Have no illusions, the train of events Winkelman set in motion in 2000 with his approach to poach Wimbledon's football club is still ongoing and still far from reaching a conclusion in terms of the viability of franchising a Football League place.