THIS is something we Premier League clubs have talked about for years and there hasn’t been the appetite. But in the last couple of years there has been a shift of views – probably prompted by the Portsmouth situation, which shook everybody – and now fortunately we’ve agreed to put in some protocols that I think will ensure another Portsmouth doesn’t happen and football remains healthy.
I’m a hawk, you might say; I would have liked the measures to go further, but I think they are a good start. I think the £105m threshold for allowable losses over three years is too high, but it’s a starting point that nobody is really uncomfortable with. In due course maybe we can revisit the numbers and bring in new governance for years to come.
The important thing is getting everyone in agreement. If you want to go forward in full agreement, you make compromises. It’s all well and good having huge incomes but we need prudence and good governance.
Some have argued that restricting clubs’ losses will protect the status quo. I say big teams are big teams, and they will remain so whatever you do. There is no perfect solution – we’re in competition with each other – but if there was one thing we couldn’t afford to do, it was nothing.
I hope it doesn’t mean the end of rich individuals building up clubs, because that’s exciting. But those people fall into two types: a wealthy person who buys a club, and then romantic ones like Dave Whelan at Wigan. Dave would never have invested what he has in another club across the road, but he does it for the love of his club. I think he will still be able to that.
In a way it sifts out the gamblers and encourages the romantics. Say a boy goes out, does good, comes back and gives cash to his club, he’s not looking to double his money – I don’t think what we agreed yesterday impinges on that and I certainly wouldn’t vote for something that I believed did.
I think it’s good news for clubs big and small, and most of all for fans. From their perspective, if there’s more money in clubs, maybe it could be a precursor to freezing ticket prices across the league. That’s something I’d love to see and something we could consider in the not too distant future.
David Gold is chairman and co-owner of West Ham United.