David Parkin on football’s renaissance and waves bye bye to Briggo

IS football undergoing a renaissance?

That’s probably too much to hope for.

But in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen promotion to the Premier League for Hull City, owned by local businessman Assem

Allam, while Doncaster Rovers, whose board boasts a collection of wealthy South Yorkshire entrepreneurs, led by cosmetic surgery tycoon John Ryan, have regained their place in the Championship.

Good times are back at Bradford City – owned by local businessman Mark Lawn – the club is in the League Two play-off final tomorrow and finalists in this year’s Capital One Cup at Wembley.

Unfortunately in this new age of foreign ownership of English clubs, they appear the exception rather than the rule.

While some recent foreign investments in English clubs such as QPR and Blackburn have been shambolic and will make future case studies on how not to run a football club, it still seems like most clubs are very distant from the supporter base.

Of course, when these clubs win silverware on a regular basis like Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City, nobody worries about who they are owned by.

Football is a fickle game and success only buys breathing space from fans’ frustration and media criticism. What you hope is that if a club is owned by people who are supporters, or at least who have a connection with the town or city, then they have a better idea of what is needed in the long-term.

Good luck to our locally run clubs in the region.


TODAY TheBusinessDesk.com waves a fond farewell to Editor Ian Briggs. Ian was the second member of the team to join us when we launched five-and-a-half years ago.

In fact, his commitment was such that his first day at work after following me from the Yorkshire Post, was Christmas Eve.

The photo here was taken on a snowy day after he arrived, when the two of us posed in a taxi bearing TheBusinessDesk.com branding.

One reader said we looked liked Del and Rodney. I do keep saying to him: “Next year we’ll be millionaires.”

After five years of 7am starts he now fancies a new challenge and is joining public relations firm Finn Communications, a neighbour of ours at the Round Foundry Media Centre in Leeds.

Those of us left on the more lowly paid side of the fence always refer to journalists taking up PR as “going to the dark side”.

But that is just our bitter cynicism coming out.

Ian reminded me the other day that we’ve worked together for the last eight-and-a-half years.

There’s marriages that don’t last that long. And, unlike most marriages, we have never had an argument. But that is mainly due to me inviting him everytime I went on a long lunch – then there was nobody to moan at me when I finally returned to the office.

Ian is a top class journalist and I’m sure will be excellent at PR.

While nobody is irreplaceable, he will leave a gap that will take some filling. We have recruited a new assistant editor, Ellie Newton-Syms and a further announcement on a new member of the team is imminent. In the meantime, I’m dusting off my notebook and requesting a reserved sign to be put on table 3 at La Grillade.

Briggo, we’ll miss you. It’s been a pleasure and you’ve been an integral part of TheBusinessDesk.com’s success, which I am very grateful for and I hope you are justly proud of.

Good luck, and if it is too dark over there, there is always a place for you back in the light.

And on table 3 at La Grillade.