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City board speaks out.

John Wardle and David Makin used the MEN yesterday to 'send a message' to City fans to 'stick with them and help the club march forward'.

Reading the interview, it doesn't come across as all doom and gloom but there isn't a great deal of optimism to take with us over the summer into next season.

I've picked out some of the more pertinent comments from the pair and added a little analysis of my own:

"This is the longest spell we have had in the Premier League...although by the managers own standards the season just gone wasn't a particularly good one. I think a lot of lessons have been learned and we hope next season those lessons will come to fruition".

There was a lot of negativity around the fan base towards the end of last season about where the club is at, but it is a valid point that the club now has a degree of stability and hasn't yo-yo'd between divisions as evidenced in recent times. It would be interesting to know what lessons have been learned (and by whom). If he is referring to Pearce (and the management team) what will happen if the lessons don't come to fruition as invariably it would mean we would be struggling at the wrong end of the table.

"This football club is moving on and on".

I don't think too many fans would concur with this as last season appeared to be a big step back after the positive finish to the 04/05 season and there appears less and less money to bring in players of quality than there was under Kevin Keegan.

"Stuart has got a little bit of money available and he is looking in his market place - at Bosmans, loans and small fees...he is speaking to all kinds of people about bringing the right players in."

Pretty conclusive that there will be not much cash available to bring in players of real quality but more the likes of the players we saw arrive over last summer and those linked so far this offseason. Judging by comments I've seen on message boards, this won't excite too many fans.

"Some of the Wright-Phillips money was spent before we got it because we were running behind. People forget that a couple of seasons ago we made a £15 million loss".

At the time of the Wright-Phillips sale, the noises coming out of the club were that we didn't have to sell him and that it was his Wright-Phillips decision to leave. Maybe Wright-Phillips did instigate the move but it appears as though the board may not have exactly fought tooth and nail to keep him. And if they had have done, would there have been any guarantee he wouldn't have had to have been sold this summer? And is there any guarantee more players won't have to depart?
The £15 million loss - who was responsible for that? We were in the Premier League (and had been for a couple of years) so decent money from TV and sponsorship must have been coming in so clearly there were some 'budgeting' issues that the board are ultimately responsibile for, so whilst it is feasible we had to sell Shaun Wright-Phillips perhaps the board should have been more honest about the financial position.

" a certain extent, paid for missing out on the early days of the Premiership. While we were yo-yo'ing around the divisions we were essentially in the wrong place at the wrong time".

"The first important thing is stability. If any investment comes forward it has to be substantial because for a relatively small amount somebody could destabilise the club again".

There is no doubt that we missed out on the big boom of the Sky TV money, but looking at the last five years and especially under Keegan we may have tried too hard to play catch up and there is no doubt that Keegan was given too much leeway in the transfer market and not only that, wasted a lot of that money. Yet, looking at the levels of debt would a few extra seasons have wiped that out (considering the parachute payments that must have been received whilst we were out of the Premiership).

It also seems the club are still pursuing the 'sugar daddy' figure that Alastair Mackintosh has been chasing the past couple of seasons despite the false hopes of Sheikhs, Russians, Norwegians and god knows who else. It is a long shot that we would attract and Abramovich type figure and if small investment is not being encouraged (I guess that rules out Ricky Hatton then) then the financial state of the club is not going to change too much.

The tone of the piece was clearly meant to be a an answer to the critics of the board, but the article didn't really provide too many answers to the questions that have been posed over the last season. To give them some credit though at least they have come and put something out in the open - despite it not being exactly what most wanted to hear.