H. Pedersen wrote:
hmmm... but by that standard you'd have to conclude that every chairman of a club that gets relegated is incompetent - either because they stuck with a manager who wasn't up to the job - OR because they sacked the manager and brought in someone who wasn't up to the job....
Not exactly . . . as I mentioned both Blackburn and Bolton had been in the league for more than 10 years. Both were top 10 not that long ago. A team like Derby comes up, doesn't have the talent or the money to stay up, OK I get it. But something has gone seriously wrong to bring down a team like Bolton or Blackburn.
You're not taking it in context though. Derby are a similar sized, similar type, and similarly resourced club to ourselves.
When Gartside took over as chairman we were 6th bottom in the championship having spent 2 seasons in the top flight in the last 20 years (on both occasions we'd been relegated immediately). And just over 10 years before had been playing our football in what then was called division 4 and is now referred to as league 2. We had at the time Gartside came in, debts to banks over £40M. As a championship club. We were having to sell players simply to pay the interest on the loans and the manager walked out over this. We didn't own the ground or facilities fully. Simply we were weeks away from going into administration and given the time, nobody knew what that would have meant (there wasn't a precedent back then).
Frankly at the time we had more chance of receeding back to the bottom division than we did of achieving what we did. Gartside brought in Alan Duckworth to sort the finances out. He brought in Sam to work on a much smaller budget that we were previously. We lost in the play off semi finals that year. Then basically half the team was sold to balance the books. The year after we got promotion. Then stayed in the top division back to back for the first time in 20 odd years......
At which point Gartside brought Eddie Davies in to invest in the club, to a greater extent than anyone ever had in the past.
We now owe £10M to banks and have had more than £100M invested from Eddie Davies. We've had our longest spell in the top flight in over half a century, qualified for Europe twice and achieved over a consistent period far more than the history of our club, and clubs of similar sizes would suggest possible. We own the ground, the academy, and some land around the middlebrook. We have seen some fantastic players and have been on an incredible journey.
Do I think we should have gone down this season? No. But we WERE going to go down one season, whether it be the next one, the one after, one in 5 years time.....it was inevitable. Clubs of our size and much bigger will. The top flight has not had very many consistent clubs and those it has are far more resourced than we are.
This season has been a failure. Does it mean that Gartside (who lets remember is chairman, not owner, nor manager) is incompetent and overall has failed?
Absolutely not. The history of this club shows he's been a massive success overall.
I guarantee that we'll miss him (even the ones who make hilariously funny jokes around his name) when he packs it in.