BLOG | BY CHAIRMAN DICK KNIGHT
In the first of three blogs from ClubView Chairman Dick Knight, we talk about how a system like ClubView could have helped during his time as Chairman at Brighton and Hove Albion.
How would having a system like ClubView have helped?
When I took over at Brighton, the situation was about as bad as it could get because of the actions of the previous owner. Basically, better financial due diligence by the Football League – which is what the ClubView real-time reporting system offers – would have revealed to the League the issues much earlier.
It would have provided indications of what was happening sooner, but none of that existed, therefore the situation had got out of hand – as was the situation with Bury in 2019. Nothing had changed from when I took over at Brighton in 1997 to 2019, when Bury went under due to the actions of previous owners, with the League only acting when it was too late.
Did you find financial issues at Brighton that had not been divulged or discovered until your due diligence?
Yes – and the League only became aware of them at that point as well.
I believe that Leagues should play a major role in the due diligence of club takeovers – the ClubView data compiled for each club would give valuable information to prospective buyers, and also provide an independent validation for club sellers – it is to their advantage as well.
As a prospective owner, did you feel that you received enough central information from the League?
Through the months of negotiation in attempting to remove the previous owner, I received no assistance from the League due to the lack of relevant information despite the issues that were becoming evident.
I’m certain that if a ClubView type financial intelligence system was in place, then the League would be able to play a more proactive role in the takeover of clubs.
As a club owner, would you have been concerned with providing more financial transparency to the League?
No, because with the right security measures in place, and knowing all clubs were participating in what should be in my view a mandatory part of League membership, I would not have been concerned about providing this information through a system like ClubView, which operates the tightest security procedures.
In this pandemic-ravaged economic state of the game, it’s become essential for Leagues to better govern their clubs financially in order to ensure long-term sustainability of the clubs. All clubs should participate – the League leads for the benefit of its clubs.
After you took over the club, how would additional information have been useful day-to-day?
As an owner, I know the ClubView system would have been hugely beneficial, because it gives you a complete up-to-date overview of your club’s finances. To be able to compare in real-time our financial performance with that of other clubs across a range of financial operations like sponsorship, hospitality, merchandising and ticketing would have been invaluable.
ClubView gives you all that insight, with the other clubs anonymised of course, providing benchmarks for each category allowing you to set achievable targets across a range of revenue streams.
All-in-all, ClubView lets a club make better informed-financial decisions, faster.
In two further blogs, Dick will talk more about why Leagues should embrace the ClubView system, and why he is personally involved in ClubView.