MARTIN DOWEY’S COLUMN - Big boys get away with murder

0716102j sport'Boro v Leigh at the MCcain Stadium...Boros Manager walks away in sadness...
0716102j sport'Boro v Leigh at the MCcain Stadium...Boros Manager walks away in sadness...

IT baffles me how this administration malarkey in the upper levels of football works.

Later this year it will be five years ago that Scarborough FC went under because they owed money in the region of £2.2million.

But if you scan the upper echelons of British football, teams carry on regardless despite owing figures of cash that makes Scarborough’s debt look like a drop in the ocean.

Rangers and Portsmouth are the latest of the crisis clubs that have dipped into administration, but there just seems no threat of them being wound up.

Judge Stephen Greenwood made an example of Scarborough in June 2007 when he wound the club up in a Leeds courtroom, an example that just hasn’t been followed.

I doubt clubs in the Championship, Scottish Premier League or whichever division will care what happened to our local team, especially as it seems that you can get away with anything you want and carry on plying your trade.

Unfortunately for Scarborough FC, they couldn’t.

So what is the difference apart from the fact that Rangers, Portsmouth et al haul in a few more fans through their gates and sell a few more shirts and bobble hats in their club shops?

Back in 2007, there may have possibly been a distant chance that Scarborough could have paid off their debt, either with a rich benefactor pulling up at the Athletic Ground or the much talked-about move to a site on the outskirts of town actually paying off.

We’ll never know though because the club’s stay of execution ran out.

So, in contrast, how long will it be before this executioner’s axe falls on the clubs further up the ladder?

There is no way on God’s green earth that Rangers will be able to pay off their debt of £70million, or whatever it is. Even if they flog every one of their players they probably won’t get within the £2.2million that put Scarborough out of business.

And to make matters even worse, just a few days before the club went into administration they made a bid, obviously quite a hefty one, to try and temp Norwich to sell their skipper Grant Holt.

I recall when Scarborough were in administration, during the days of the Conference North, they were forced to blood youngsters like Ryan Blott, Jimmy Beadle and the 16-year-old pairing of Ged Dalton and Dominic Amos because of a transfer embargo. It even came to a point where the retired duo of manager Mark Patterson and Darren Foreman were forced to offer their services.

Portsmouth meanwhile, manage to nip neatly in and out of administration, having been run under supervision twice in the past two years, but they also continue to dabble in the transfer market.

Pompey have had the odd embargo placed upon them, but, despite their financial ineptitude, it hasn’t stopped them snapping up the likes of Benjani, Dave Kitson and Tal Ben Haim, who have all arrived in the past few years.

The latter was brought in on reported wages of £30,000 a week, which makes great sense if you are struggling financially.

When researching this column on the BBC Sport website you only have to look at the financial headlines that have been attached to the club in recent years.

They run from “Portsmouth reported over Muntari deal”, through “Portsmouth face Campbell lawsuit”, to the current one “Portsmouth’s problems are ‘ugly’ says administrator Trevor Birch.”

Their problems might be ugly, but Mr Birch is still confident that Portsmouth will survive a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs, even though they owe a grand total of either £135million or £112million - depending on who you believe.

I’m not saying that I want either club to go under, I know how hard it has been for football in our local community. But it smacks horribly of double standards.

The example that Judge Greenwood made of Scarborough almost five years ago should have been a marker.

If Portsmouth went under and Rangers went under, would it not provide the football world with a much-needed shock.

It won’t happen though because, it seems, the bigger you are, the less likely you are to fall.