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Middlesbrough news and transfers LIVE: Q&A with Anthony Vickers & Woodgate’s Rockliffe priorities

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Why? Do you know of a gaggle of potential buyers for a loss making concern with a limited fan-base and £100m of debt?

It is natural (if ungrateful) when fans hear about Boro’s need to balance the books for some to to say “well move over then and let someone with serious dosh take over” but it isn’t as easy as that.

Financial Fair Play means that anyone who comes in, no matter how rich, will have to operate under the same restrictions, with the same costs and broadly the same revenues. There is a limit on how much anyone can put it.

But beyond that, there is no ‘right’ way of getting promoted and throwing money at it is far from a guarantee of success. If it was then big clubs with huge potential wouldn’t still be languishing in this league for years on end.

Derby have had big US owners and a local lad made good and have chucked £200m at it over the last six years and tried almost every approach and are still grinding away no closer to the Promised Land. Ditto Nottingham Forest.

Then there are a string of foreign billionaires – often ‘mysterious’ – who have bought Championship clubs and realised it is not an instant recipe for Premier League success. There are far more failures than triumphs.

Reading and Sheffield Wednesday are owned by squillionaires for example – but the rules mean they are limited in what they can spend. Wednesday broke those rules and ended up with an embargo. Blackburn are just recovering from the early chaos of the Venkys.

And, remember, ‘investors’ by definition are people looking for ways to profit from the club and take money out. Whatever criticism you have of Steve Gibson you can’t accuse him of that. He has ploughed cash in.

Then there are wider questiosn about the nature of a club, what it should represent and how it sits in the community. Call me a naive idealist if you like but for me there is a moral dimension.

I don’t want to hawk the soul of the club to a foreign ‘investor.’ I don’t want Boro to be in the hands of a blood soaked despotic regime or a zillionaire grown rich through virtual slavery in some far flung corner of the world.

I don’t want Boro to be a vehicle for money laundering or sports-washing or profile building back home. I don’t want it to be the plaything of someone who will change the badge or colours as an indulgence.

If you are talking about a managed transition to a community and fan owned club at some point then I’d be interested – but that only usually happens after a cataclysmic crisis so I’ll pass for now.

Personally, I am, if not happy, then willing to accept we are where we are as part of the cyclical nature of football and battle away to rebuild slowly. Boro will bounce back. We always do.



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