Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v Atherstone Town Saturday 29th January 2011. We won 3-0 in front of 208. Since the article was written it seems that Windsor and Eton FC have sadly folded.
Just like so many football clubs, Windsor and Eton’s future is in doubt thanks to money it owes to the taxman. With small crowds and little income, paying players and bonus they couldn’t afford and no rent from any homeless tenants, they have managed to saddle themselves with a staggering debt of £243,000.
However the reward for their financial mismanagement last season was promotion and many in the game question whether clubs gaining advantage by splashing out the cash that they haven’t got is fair. The other side of the coin are clubs like Atherstone Town who are pulling out of the Southern League at the end of this season. They told the league “Unfortunately, current economic circumstances mean that we are unable to continue with the level of costs required to maintain a football club at this level. We are in the same position that many clubs find themselves. Ironically, in terms of non-debt, we are in a comfortable position, but our capacity to raise income is very limited.” Obviously a very sensible financial decision looking at the long term interests of the club, but how would Slough supporters have reacted to news of voluntary relegation when we were in a right two and eight?
Some supporters are calling Windsor thieves for their unpaid tax bills but I’m sorry. I just can’t get upset about a £50,000 unpaid tax bill when our biggest corporations and businessman use every loophole and scheme at their disposal to get away with not paying tax.
Now tax is a funny thing. None of us like to pay it, but we love the NHS. Our schools to open. Bins collected. Street lights to work. Unfortunately you can’t have one without the other.
For the self employed, this Monday is the deadline for the return their self-assessment forms with fines waiting for those who miss it. But whilst people rush to get them in on time, rich corporations and individuals are getting away with avoiding £25 billion of tax every year by employing armies of lawyers and accountants to exploit legal loopholes and dodge what they owe. The government reckons that we’re all in this financial mess together. But while councils across the country are slashing budgets one of the biggest tax dodgers is the owner of Top Shop, Miss Selfridge, British Home Stores etc. Greedy Fatso Philip Green. This is also the man who is advising the government on how to make cuts. Come again? Yes, the same Philip Greedo who awarded himself £1.2 billion, the biggest paycheck in British corporate history, but who channeled it through a network of offshore accounts, via tax havens in Jersey and eventually to his wife’s Monaco bank account. The dodge saved Green, and cost the tax payer, close to £300 million. Which would pay the salaries of twenty thousand nurses.
So I’ve got a radical idea of how to make savings and it starts with Green paying is tax bill.
So what about Windsor. Is points deductions enough? Demotion? Insolvency and reforming at the bottom of the pyramid pile? It’s hard for the fans but sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Demanding success; not questioning that dodgy looking chairman who promises the earth, or at least a place in the football league. Windsor’s projected income this season is £73,000 yet their expenditure is £180,000 and the playing budget alone is £2,500 per week!
Just like the big Premiership clubs who threaten a European Super League everytime the FA don’t lay out the red carpet for them, the top bankers and tax dodgers threaten to grab their coats and go if we try to level the playing field. I’ll be more than happy to shut the door behind the lot of them.