The Directors of the Brisbane Racing Club are the Harvey Norman shoppers of the corporate club world, the type of folk who just can’t walk past a sale sign without grabbing something off the shelves and whacking it on what oldies like me used to call hire purchase but the young folk of today know as Buy Now, Pay Later.
Spend, Spend, Spend! That’s the motto of the ungood folk in charge of the BRC member’s money – what’s left of it anyway, which is 2/3rd’s of sweet f*ck all – and don’t worry about the ruinous debt you’re stacking up on the credit card ‘cos by the time someone has to pay it and realise that they can’t your term on the board will be long over and you’ll be on a gold-class cruise in the Caribbean paid for by the various commissions, slices, slings and shaves you’ve made as you’ve sold the Farm along the way.
I know I’m starting to sound like a bit of a broken record, and I feel very much like that fella being dragged out to sea in a rip and signalling for help who everyone thinks is waving rather than drowning, but the financial position of the Brisbane Racing Club is dire – DIRE – and the debt that these capricious clowns in charge of the sport are racking up faster than the Melbourne Storm score tries is pulling racing so far down into the huge black hole that selling a racecourse is the only possible way that they are going to be able to get out.
Let me spell it out for you loud and clear.
The Brisbane Racing Club is $75 million in debt.
No ifs, no buts, that is how much the club owes the bankers and bookies.
$75 000 000.00
Fifty million dollars was declared in the annual accounts released last month, and all of it is payable within the next five years.
I will tell you a lot more about this debt over the course of the coming week, but for now what you need to know is that the club has gone even deeper into the hole for a further $24 million that is tucked away at the back of the Annual Report as an after balance date event”, which means that the loan that the BRC has entered into for this dough didn’t happen until after the 2016/17 ledgers were finalised.
Now I personally find this very hard to believe because Chairman Nifty Nev Bell waxed lyrical about them in his smooth real estate spiv’s spruik at the start of the BRC Annual Report without spelling out to members that this dough wasn’t part of the $50 million already owed, but is on top.
That’s an argument for another day. The simple fact is that the club owes its bankers, ‘joint venture partners’, and financiers $75 million bucks and its London to a Brick on that this amount is on the light side because it doesn’t include the costs of buying a footy club with a bunch of pokies on the other side of town.
The other thing that’s important to know is that of the whole $75 million plus, repayments of principal and interest are being made on only $12 million of the money, or will be when the BRC makes the first payment on the debt sometime toward the end of this financial year.
The other $63 million worth of loans have been struck on deferred payment terms that are stacking up compound interest faster than Winx can run a final 400 metres, and what the numbers are going to look like at the other end is anyone’s guess, but it’s more certain than the champion mare winning horse of the year that they will be HUGE.’
On the other side of the account books the Brisbane Racing Club’s financial disguise of propping up of the books through asset sales and loan draw downs for the last 5 years is melting under the glare of the Butterfly blowtorch, and the true financial position is becoming clear, and the picture is ugly.
The BRC’s burning money faster than Winx can scorch over a final furlong.
Last year the club recorded a trading loss of over $800 000, and this is in a year in which it didn’t pay a single cent back on any of its $75 million in debts. This year is has to make repayments of at least $1.5 million against forward leases and one of its loans, and when the costs of acquiring the Souths Sports Club finally become clear (or are revealed on this site) the figure the club has to stump is highly likely to be upward of $2 million.
Don’t believe any of the bullsh*t hype and hoopla coming out of BRC headquarters, and don’t be distracted by Nifty Nev and Whimpey Dave’s smoke and lies and mirrors. Remember one of these blokes jacks up foreign race sponsorships that the club can’t afford and which don’t bring a cent of revenue back to BrisVegas in return, just so that he can take first class trips to Singapore to watch his own horse race; and the other loves horse racing so much that he prefers to go for a swim at Burleigh rather than do his job and combine it with the greatest of pleasures by being at Doomben to watch the world’s best horse win her third Cox Plate.
The facts are these.
The BRC is losing $800 000 a year as a result of incompetent leadership and management and a whole bunch of assorted blackguards on the take.
Thanks to corruption, incompetence and failed quick fixes the club doesn’t have its principal track at Eagle Farm to race on, and will no doubt incur a huge increase in the maintenance and materials spend to bring it back.
This means that the clubs expenditure is going to rise over the coming year.
Due to the never ending Ascot balls up the number of race meetings the club will hold this year will fall, and once the Directors stop lying about the Farm being ready for the Winter Carnival and admit the truth the number of meetings will even further below the current projections.
This means that the club’s income is going to drop over the coming year.
Decreased income + Increased expenditure = Bigger Loss
Bigger loss + $2 million debt repayment = What The F*ck Are We Going To Do?
What The F*ck Are We Going To Do + Let Dip Into The Cash Reserves To Pay The Bills = A Big Fact Zero.
Why does it equal a big fat zero?
Because there is no cash.
The club has spent it all, blown the bloody lot.
$4 million that used to be in a short-term deposit just a year ago has vanished into the ether, disappeared without trace.
Where did it go and what was is spent on? Who knows. Ask Whimpey Dave or Nifty Nev, although you might need a passport or a surfboard to find them.
All that is left in the club’s piggy bank is a million dollars or so, and that is the residue from the $10 million grant Racing Queensland deposited into the BRC’s bank account a couple of years ago for the track redevelopment, and the million has to and will be spent.
“But Archie! The club’s Annual Report shows that it has almost three and a half million bucks in cash. What the hell are you on about homeboy?” I hear you cry.
The answer to that one is simple. And scary.
The extra $2.35 million the club is showing you in the cash accounts ain’t theirs, it is money they have borrowed from the pawnbroker – in this case the ANZ bank – by hocking the newly built childcare centre.
It’s a horror movie isn’t it sportsfans?
An absolute bloody train wreck.
Past Chairmen of the Brisbane race clubs like Byrne Hart, Douglas Wadley, Edward Williams, Clive Uhr, Allen Oxlade and Dr John Power must be turning in their graves as they’ve watched on from above as this disaster has unfolded and the two-course club structure is slaughtered cut by crooked cut.
I actually reckon that any outfit that can’t pay its debts but nevertheless keeps on incurring more, and has to borrow just to pay its daily bills, is insolvent.
This is a theme I will explore and examine more closely as the week goes on, but right now I reckon it’s plainly obvious for all to see that the club’s cash position is absolutely wretched and getting worse by the day.
Any other company in the world would be calling emergency board meetings to pore over the budget with a red pen and find every penny it could in savings to try to get the accounts back in order and in the black.
But not our boys at the BRC.
What do they do?
Go and splash $50 000 commissioning a bronze statue of a horse named Buffering to whack under the biggest and most little-used TV in the Southern Hemisphere in the infield of Eagle Farm, a once vibrant track turned ghost town that’s been visited by people only a handful of times over the past 3 years and won’t be for at least another year until they race again, if they ever do at all.
Just imagine it. You’re busted arse broke with only moths in your wallet, and you’re borrowing from Cash Converters just to pay the wages and the electricity bill, and you go out and splurge 50 grand on a statue of a horse that no-one is going to see for a year. If you did this at home using the credit card you’d get locked up wouldn’t you?
There is dead set something wrong with these clowns running what can only be described at the moment as racing’s circus. These Directors and Senior Executives are blind drunk on other people’s dough and on a never ending spree that will never stop, until the money runs and the credit cards are maxed and then it does.
By then though they’ll all be on that Caribbean cruise and the mess will be somebody else’s to sort out, some poor sucker who’s been left holding the huge baf of sh*t and debt that you’ve left them and will have only one path out of the debt and mire, and we all know what that is don’t we sportsfans.
Selling a racecourse.
So it was written, and so it shall end, and all that will be left behind to remind future generations of the marauding vandals that raped and pillaged the sport of racing, the club and the land will be a broken down big screen and a bronze statue of a horse who only ever won 4 races on the track, three of them of them on wet tracks, two in restricted age company, and only one a Group class event but in the second grade.
One day an 8 year old boy will walk through the gates with his grandpa just like Archie had so many years before, and they will walk over to the bronze statue of the horse, and the little boy will turn and say to the old man “Grandpa, did they make Buffering our of bronze because it could never beat Black Caviar and Hay List and always ran third?”
“No boy” the old man will softly reply. “The horse is just a symbol, a reminder to all about the folly of the men who made it. Buffering was a ripper of a racehorse, an absolute warrior, a gun of a pony who had the guts of Albert Jacka, It’s a tragedy that his image has been used for their own purposes by men named Nifty Nev and Little Dickie and and Whimpey Dave, bad men who stole away the past of the people of racing and put it in their pockets for profit and personal pleasure”.
“But why did they make the statue in Bronze grandad? Why did they make it of a horse that was the third best sprinter of its generation? Why grandad, why?”
The old man clasps the boys hand fondly in his own, turns and spits scornfully on the once hallowed turf turned to thistle and weeds. He has tears in his eyes and a head full of memories as he leads his grandson from what was once the entrance to the infield, and as they walk slowly away without looking back he tells the boy
“The answer is simple son. It’s because they created the statue in their own image”.