4000 Holes

Financing Football the Waggott Way

Sunday, 4 July 2021
By  
Ian Herbert

THE SCENE IS THE ROVERS BOARDROOM. ROVERS CHIEF EXECUTIVE STEVE WAGGOTT IS WAITING IN THE OAK PANELLED ROOM, SAT AT AN ADMITTEDLY IMPRESSIVE TABLE, PLAQUES OF ALL THE OTHER FOOTBALL LEAGUE CLUBS ARE ON THE WALLS.

ALONGSIDE HIM, SURROUNDED BY PRINTOUTS OF CASH FLOW PROJECTIONS & A COPY OF “POWERPOINT FOR DUMMIES” IS TRUSTY FINANCE DIRECTOR, MIKE CHESTON.

*Knock on the door*

SW: “Come in….”

Assistant: “Your 10:30 appointment is here to see you Mr Waggott…”

SW: “Ah yes…show him in…”

Assistant: “This way Mr Vader…”

DV: (breathing heavily, places light sabre on adjacent chair. Two stormtroopers take up positions either side of the main door): “Why thank you…”

Assistant: “Would you like some refreshments Mr Vader…tea…coffee…water…?”

DV: “Why, a coffee would be lovely thank you…”

Assistant: “How do you take it Mr Vader ?”

DV: “Strong & black…like my armour eh..? Hahaha…” (breathes heavily, chokes a little at his own joke…stormtroopers look on impassively)

Assistant: (nervously) “Haha…yes…indeed…” (scurries away)

DV: “Oh…and could I please have a straw, it’s not easy to drink through this…well y’know…a straw helps…”

Assistant: “I’ll see what I can do…be right back..”

SW: “Darth…come in, lovely to see you, take a seat…always keen to discuss mutually beneficial opportunities with local businesses…”

DV: “Well, I’m not EXACTLY local…”

SW: “Oh…you’re not from Burnley are you? I mean we’re pretty tolerant of almost anything here so long as it brings in cold, hard cash, but there are boundaries, even for us (chuckles under breath, Cheston looks on surprised by the turn of events).

But Burnley…well I’m not sure that even I could make that one fly if I’m being scrupulously honest…unless they were outstanding…”

(Cheston shuffles nervously in his seat)

DV: “Well it’s true that I am from the Dark Side…but not the Longside (laughs a little, pauses, then realises that the joke has fallen flat). No, I am from a Galaxy Far, Far Away…”

SW: “Oh…Preston then ? Well that shouldn’t be a problem…ah…here’s your coffee…”

Assistant: “Here you go Mr Vader…and your straw…Hob Nob?”

DV: “No, it’s just a handkerchief in my pocket…oh I see…yes please, that would be (adopts Mr Burns voice) Excellent…” (laughs at his own impression…the Stormtroopers wisely join in, albeit briefly).

SW: “Now Mr Vader…may I call you Darth ?”

DV: “Yes, that’s fine…I don’t like to stand on ceremony, except for…no, let’s not discuss that here…”

SW: “Darth…we at Blackburn Rovers like to spare no effort in seeking out the next business partner to service our own plans for global expansion. Regrettably, these days we are somewhat restricted by regulations as to what we can advertise (looks wistfully at a framed photo of Alan Shearer in a Rovers ‘McEwans Lager’ shirt and sighs…), but we are working hard in the local community to explore options to grow our portfolio of wholly-appropriate, wholesome, family-friendly, youth-centric sponsorship partners and frankly your new business venture, with its aim to control the Galaxy, by any means fair or foul, at whatever cost seems to fit right in with our philosophy. We see a lot of potential for synergies here…”

(Mike Cheston opens up Excel spreadsheet with relish)

DV: “It’s that my…shall we say… ‘unique’ approach to corporate governance has not always found favour. But my new PR people have said that I need to reinvent myself and create a more positive media profile before I launch ‘VaderdeathCorp’ and so they suggested sponsoring a football team…

I’m more of a rugby league man myself…all that aggression & violence out in the open, no diving, feigning injury…it’s much more my kind of thing, but I am told that football is the business to be in and so here I am…”

SW: “Football is indeed the growth sector isn’t it Mike ?”

(Cheston pulls out a ninety-four page Powerpoint deck, full colour, double-sided print, spiral bound and passes copies to Waggott & Vader)

SW: “We can go through the numbers if you like but perhaps first, tell us a little more about your KPIs ?”

DV: “Total and utter subjugation of any planet, its satellites, its peoples, all life forms actually…at pain of death and destruction…whether that is small or large scale…shirt sponsorship therefore seems a logical first step towards this ambition.

I did consider other avenues…in fact it was suggested by my PR agency that I might consider buying an actual football club…”

SW: “I see…have you passed the EFL’s Fit & Proper Persons Test ?”

DV: (laughs uproariously) “But of course…”

*All laugh…Mike Cheston minimises Excel, Vader picks up a Hob Nob menacingly and crushes it into dust onto the boardroom table* 


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