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Argyle on the brink


The Plymouth Herald has reproduced the letter from Plymouth Argyle's Japan-based directors promising regular tranches of money to keep the financially troubled club afloat.   The money, of course, has not turned up.  The club will survive tomorrow's court hearing as player sales have provided enough money to settle tax debts.

The Herald exhaustively reviews the options facing the club, as well as looking at the historical parallel of what happened to Accrington Stanley which re-emerged as a non-league club and battled its way back to League 2, although it has faced some financial challenges there.

Administration is one option for the club.  It needs £200,000 a month just to keep afloat and the Plymouth-based directors have dug deep into their pockets.   The encouraging news is that there are three potential investors in the offing.   The downside is that one can get a club at a knockdown price if it goes into administration.

Certainly, Plymouth is a good prospect for someone.   It is located in a city of a substantial size with a good hinterland.   A prudent strategy would allow the club to recover and then build it up again.  Following relegation, the average crowd is 8,183, down from 13,000 in 2007-8. The Green Army do not deserve what they have been through, but it's an all too familiar story of directors not delivering on promises.

Yasuaki Kagami who holds a 38 per cent stake in the club, up from an initial 20 per cent, has never been to Plymouth.  His main company, Maruka Corporation, is a large business with interests in food and drink distribution, so he is presumably not short of a few yen.   His mouthpiece, George Synan, is an American based in Tokyo who ran coffee shop companies.

The club own the freehold to Home Park and were selected as a host city for England's ill-fated World Cup bid.   Grand visions were put forward of a 43,000-seater stadium as the centrepiece of a leisure, hotel and retail complex.

Peter Ridsdale, brought in as an adviser, commented on the strategy that has been followed: 'From what I've seen there's been far too much attention paid on potential property development and the potential World Cup bid rather than running Plymouth Argyle Football Club.  They've spent the cash on ventures that might in the long term have borne success but in the short term they have just eaten away the cash.'