Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lessons from the Premier League

Ed Balls fetched the chancellor of the exchequer back to the House of Commons yesterday to make a statement on the economic situation. The excuse was that one of the credit rating agencies, Moody, had downgraded the UK by one notch from its top rating. Since all sides seemed to agree that this was not very significant and the markets had taken the decision in their stride, the whole occasion seemed rather synthetic. However, it was enlivened (if one could use such a word in connection with the lugubrious Mr Davies) by the following exchange:

Geraint Davies (Swansea West) (Lab/Co-op): May I congratulate Swansea City on its triple A rating after winning the league cup? At the same time, the Chancellor is fouling up the economy and has caused a penalty that has lost us the triple A rating. He should be focusing on a growth strategy and should not be cutting the poorest hardest, given that they spend the most.

Mr Osborne: Of course, I congratulate Swansea on its victory in the Capital One cup.
We have to take difficult decisions on things like welfare, but we are helping people have incentives to be in work, helping people who are in work and supporting people by, for example, increasing the personal allowance and taking the lowest-paid out of tax altogether. I would hope that the hon. Gentleman supports that.

If Mr Osborne had been more clued up on Premier League football, he could have pointed out the parallels with a once-proud organisation which had crashed following an unsustainable spending binge and been restored by sound financial governance. As the Indy reported in its sport section yesterday:

Not a penny of debt, a wage bill of £34 million and a new stadium built in a journey back from the brink of oblivion that began almost exactly 11 years ago. Added to the balance sheet at Wembley yesterday was the first major honour of Swansea City's 101-year history – and you simply cannot put a figure on that.

If their Capital One Cup victory over Bradford City was every bit the stroll that you might expect for a Premier League side playing a team 70 places and three divisions below them, then best to consider just how far Swansea have travelled to reach this point. 

They are, quite simply, a shining example of how to run a British club in the 21st century.

But perhaps a Tory politician could not be expected to endorse a co-operative effort.

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