Date: 20th June 2019 at 6:00am
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With West Bromwich Albion fans seeing their spirits rise of late following the appointment of new head coach Slaven Bilic to our hot seat and the arrival of two new backroom boys in the shape of Dean Racunica and Danilo Butrovic, I guess it wouldn’t be The Hawthorns if there wasn’t some bad news on the horizon, and yes, it concerns our often speculated financial position.

The E&S reported this week that rarely seen owner Guochuan Lai has informed the club that he couldn’t settle a £4.1million debt he owes because of Chinese government restrictions on taking money out of the country.

It shouldn’t have taken fans long to draw serious and concerning parallels with what happened at Aston Villa 12 months ago where they were close to defaulting on HMRC payments, were prepared for a fire sale and still weren’t sure if they could keep the lights on even then, however, those concerns, for now, seem unfounded.

The E&S claimed that Chief Executive Mark Jenkins had formally asked for the sum to be repaid owing to a historic loan he inherited from former owner Jeremy Pearce, and whilst acknowledging the debt, he couldn’t do so at this moment but it hasn’t led to any friction though and we continue naturally with our plans for 2019/20.

The E&S do play down the severity of this issue stating that ‘repayment is not desperate’ as it hasn’t been called in yet, however, it’s far from ideal with Parachute Payments now reducing and known issues already for all clubs that drop from the top flight.

We’ll have to hope, and no doubt those fans with a better grip on finances in the game are better placed to say, that this won’t become an issue. From reading the comments on the Tweets below, as well as the article, it seems this isn’t an immediate issue, but it could become one in the summer and there are natural implications for spending full stop, as the easiest way around all the financial problems is promotion – but ala Darren Moore, we can’t demand nothing but automatic promotion from the Boardroom, if the gaffer is having to fill gaps and provide competition from free agent deals and calling in favours from others in the game.

In Bilic, we have to trust.

Last article by PW