McKenzie Positive For Future

Last updated : 22 July 2003 By Kevin Markey
However, in an interview in today's Sunday Times, he says he does not intend to quit the debt-ridden Premiership club and is optimistic about a turnaround.

This is what the professor had to say: “One of the reasons I was probably criticised for the way the Kewell deal was handled was that we were the first club to talk about the mechanics of a transfer openly,” he said. “We disclosed to the City what the agent was paid. No one has done that before. I won’t go so far as to say people were concealing it, but they certainly weren’t drawing people’s attention to it.

“The football world was probably more comfortable with these things kept hidden. I suppose we have opened a Pandora’s box.

“In a sense I don’t need the job,” he said. “The Kewell deal was a bad week and my wife and family wanted me to walk away and let someone else do it.

“I don’t like the profile but I have committed myself to something and I have to see it through. I never thought of resigning because it’s too premature. I have to give things a fair crack of the whip.

“I actually feel quite passionate about the situation. Our huge fan base has been let down. I don’t expect to be given accolades, in fact I expect the opposite. But it’s difficult to turn your back on.

“I cannot say for sure that there are not groups out there looking at us,” he admitted. “But the club is not for sale and there’s no one talking to us about a takeover.

“We are now in a turnaround situation and most people involved here have lost a large amount of money. I have lost a fair amount of money and I have now written off my shares.

“We are not contemplating administration. The turnaround of the business is exactly on time. I am feeling very positive about the future of the club.

“If people want luxuries they now pay for them,” he said. “If directors want to take their wives on trips they have to pay for them. I have fresh flowers in my office which I pay for and a Mercedes which is my own.

“I like Peter Ridsdale. But he risked too much to achieve the ultimate fan goal. He didn’t turn off the pathway as soon as he should have and he has made things extremely difficult for us.

“We are now burdened with a huge debt and a salary bill that is 65% of turnover and a staffing structure that was quite inappropriate for the size of the business. The club took their foot off the brake.

“This is a fresh start and I feel very positive about the future,” he concluded. “The club under Peter Ridsdale had become indulgent of itself on and off the pitch.

“The team didn’t seem to worry if it was winning or losing. We are no longer an indulgent club and I think supporters will see that next season.”