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Orc no.2; Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge, CBE

We continue our series looking at the Premier League Orcs who are dissing the Fan-Led Review. And yes there were female Orcs – we checked it out, as we try to do with every assertion on this site

What did the Baroness say?

She used a column in The Sun to turn the hypocrisy amp. levels up to 11. Don’t worry, Football 365 has picked out all the ‘pearls’ so you don’t have to click on a Sun article. Football 365 started with her bizarre suggestion that the FA is already regulating her and her fellow EPL club owners.

‘…what on earth this means for the FA, which many of us were led to believe was the authority that already regulated our game’ (it is surprising to find out that she apparently doesn’t know that the FA ceded financial regulation of clubs to the leagues themselves several years ago).

Our female Orc then went on to show she can out-do young Angus in using tasteless comparisions  with dictatorships:

‘Crikey, a Government forcing a commercial business to give away its cash and telling them how much and who to give it to? The last time I looked we did not live in Russia, China or North Korea’.

Building on the patronising  assertion of Millwall wannabe-fan Rod Liddle that “Supporters are not financial experts“ (he may not be, but then is he a supporter?), she came out with this hostage to fortune:

‘We should not be forced to damage club finances at the point of an unelected regulator’s pen’,

We are going to have so much fun with that one….

Why is the Baroness wrong?

The Baroness thinks we’ve all forgotten about the Olympic Stadium deal. The Baroness assumes the Olympic Stadium Coalition has faded away (not surprising when her lawyers asserted to the Information Tribunal that it was all run by a friend of Barry Hearn🤣) .

The Baroness is talking the traditional Tory talk of commercial businesses and “free markets“. Of course she glosses over the fact that not only did we, the taxpayers, fund West Ham’s new stadium, but we continue to subsidise their tenancy year after year.

The final cost, just to convert the stadium for West Ham’s use (and largely to West Ham’s spec.) was £323mil. West Ham contributed just £15m to that sum, while keeping the proceeds of the sale of the Boleyn Ground (exact amount shrouded in mystery but estimated to be around £70m). That was bad enough and most fans know about this, even though they might want to remind themselves now. Less well-known is what came next, once the full contract had finally been exposed to public view, thanks to the Olympic Stadium Coalition‘s campaign.

In order to bring some kind of atmosphere to a stadium which needed to provide the Olympic legacy with the retention of the  running track, West Ham insisted on “retractable“ seats, which would cover the track and bring fans a bit closer to the action. Unfortunately the “technical“ solution chosen for these retractable seats – and we are not making this up – is to remove them by hand and store them somewhere. The first summer in which this high-tech solution was deployed, the cost was £4m. This is the biggest (but not the only) reason why the cost of keeping West Ham as tenants is forecast to be £140 million over the fist 10 years of the tenancy; and these losses would continue in perpetuity, unless West Ham were obliged to considerably increase the rental they pay. All this is documented in the Inquiry commissioned by Mayor Sadiq Khan and conducted by Moore Stevens, summarised here with a link to the full report.

West Ham is effectively a business free of overheads, so you would imagine that with this subsidy from the taxpayer not enjoyed by the likes of Arsenal or Spurs, and with such a business genius as the Baroness at the helm, it would be a “commercial” business, turning a decent profit. Here is the reality.

That graphic is lifted from Kieran Maguire’s analysis of West Ham financials which is exemplary and revealing, as always. West Ham is one of the many EPL clubs that still manage to lose money despite being in receipt of ever more TV revenue – but on top of that, it receives a taxpayer subsidy. And the Baroness has the neck to describe Tracey Crouch, her fellow Conservative party member, as having “fallen into a do-gooder trap“….

The Baroness‘ career profile

Unlike young Angus, the Baroness is not shy of having a public profile…

Nor is she shy of ensuring that she is richly rewarded for running a loss-making football club in de-facto receipt of an annual taxpayer subsidy

As The Price of Football analysis above shows, the Baroness trousered £1,136,000 in 2019. And no, this did not include a profit-related bonus. Because there were no profits in the previous two years…

How did she get here?

She did not go to University (had she done so, she might not have made the North Korea comparison, but then again, young Angus went to LSE…) but joined ad agency Saatchi& Saatchi at age 18. After a couple of years she left to join LBC Radio to sell ad space. Our headhunter colleague (who specialised in the advertising/marketing world) sees this move as the equivalent of a Charlton academy kid who is told he’s not going to make it, and joins Welling.

Nevertheless, she clearly has a silver tongue, and famously impressed David Sullivan when she convinced the Daily Sport owner to run ads on LBC. From then on, she became his hired hand. Yes of course there is The Apprentice and all that, but her work for Gold and Sullivan at Birmingham and then West Ham gave her the platform to develop the public profile that led to such appearances.

One thing that seems particularly „off“ to us is her appointment in 2013 by David Cameron as the Government’s “Small Business Advisor“. Let’s put it like this: you might expect that such an advisor has set up and run their own small business from scratch; has experienced the pressure of waking up in the morning knowing that only your efforts will put food on the table; not just your table but those of your few employees who have put their trust in you. Baroness Brady has never experienced such pressure. She has never set up and run her own small business.

Many people ask also, how she „qualified“ for the House of Lords. It’s a question how anyone „qualifies“ for that institution. However this is as good a place as anywhere to mention David Sullivan’s contributions to Tory Party coffers. The reliable and well sourced Peter Geoghan and Jenna Corderoy of Open Democracy reported that Sullivan donated £75,000 ahead of the December 2019 election. This dwarfs the £12,500 contribution he made in 2016, which even the Telegraph suggested raised questions over the Olympic Stadium deal, driven through of course by then Mayor, Boris Johnson…