As the World Cup entered the knockout stages in style yesterday, it was the time for Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani to shine, stamping the return flights home for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In two weeks time the tournament will be over. Possibly, hopefully with elation and an extended celebration for us all but whatever the end result it also means our brief distraction will be over too. All eyes will switch back to all things Villa.
Granted, if you’re like me you’re checking up on news every day regardless of what plans you have or where you are but the World Cup has provided some form of focus to deflect negative thoughts from the recent damning headlines.
Steve Bruce’s men will also mark the end of their time away as they return for pre-season training this coming week. This in itself is one of many unknowns for the players, staff and us as supporters.
Reports this week across numerous outlets and platforms have suggested that chairman Dr Tony Xia is listening to serious offers for the club. Some reports have also claimed that firstly a European consortium was rebuffed and now two American parties are interested with one being shown around Villa Park last week.
The Companies House website has become a new destination for many supporters trying to decipher the meaning behind documents made available. Fresh investment? The creation of new shares? Re-capitalisation of existing debts? I could go on.
Amongst all the turmoil and confusion, there are some things we can’t avoid. Monthly bills again need to be paid. Players wages continue to be pumped out (some of which to players who are all too absent). Loaned players are all returning and will all require paying. Time ticks on.
The all to ‘tweet-happy’ Doctor has gone very quiet. Our very own Alex wrote earlier in the week about how Xia must communicate through the bad times too. As fans we don’t expect intricate details regarding potential takeover deals etc. as the rules and practices surrounding these are delicate to say the least. However, what we don’t appreciate is the fence-sitting, cryptic nonsense that quite frankly is embarrassing. We all know that we are at the most precarious of positions in our history as money haemorrhages out and uncertainty continues to cloud over us and our future.
The worst of all situations would be administration and whatever you believe, think or feel, if no one steps forward and money continues to become an issue to move across from China, the mounting bills and problems will still be there and they will still be growing.
Administration is obviously not a term to be taken lightly and hopefully it isn’t the case. I have seen numerous comments along the lines of “Sell Grealish and we’re back to normal.” Pretty simple isn’t it? If only it was that easy.
Having delved into the numerous documents available on Companies House, the actual figures due to creditors within a year of the 31st May 2017 is pretty frightening. The wage bill is also incredibly high despite cuts. It was a lot more than I had even contemplated.
There have also been many saying, “It won’t happen to Aston Villa …” and have gone on to mention the size of the club, assets etc.
I have previously mentioned in past articles about Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and the likes and how alarmingly similar our current situation is.
Since 1992, just over 45% of clubs in football have seen insolvency procedures brought against them. Some of which on numerous occasions.
The Football Creditors Rule simply put, means that all creditors deemed as directly linked to the football are paid in full. HMRC and other groups deemed as unsecured creditors which could include paramedic fees, schools and other small supporting companies and businesses only receive a small amount compared to what they are actually owed.
Again, remember the figure due to creditors that I mentioned earlier? A nine-figure sum, within that a high eight-figure sum being the wage bill with other outgoings and the continued struggle to pump cash in.
The reality is that it could happen despite our wishes and hopes. It would also mean a 12 point deduction for what it’s worth.
I’m certain we will see some developments this week as another set of monthly bills have come and gone and further clues such as an Instagram post from Rongtian He which has possibly hinted at leaving Birmingham as a city. Again, it translated as being pretty cryptic but it’s the first from himself which appeared to mark a possible change.
The next fortnight could and should be the key to what happens next as any longer than that and we start pre-season fixtures with a more than likely depleted squad and very little time to act for ourselves to be competitive. Other teams are working wonders in the transfer market such as Nottingham Forest along with the newly relegated teams armed with parachute payments.
The answer is needed soon. Time is ticking.