It’s real purpose wasn’t to raise morale though, it was a living gas detector. Canaries are more sensitive to atmospheric changes and gases, especially carbon monoxide. If the canary stopped singing, struggled to breathe or worse, died – it indicated to the miners that they were in imminent danger and should put on respirators or evacuate to a safer part of the mine.
The phrase is overused today but is still useful when appropriately deployed. What’s happened to three sports clubs and venues this week couldn’t be more canary-like than if Sylvester the cat was stood outside licking his lips.
Usually they’re among the most resistant and resolute companies in the face of economic slowdowns but the recent travails of Bury and Bolton Wanderers have shown that this time may be different.
Macclesfield Town, already facing a winding-up order on October 23rd, have failed to pay their staff and players who have taken the unusual step to appeal directly to the EFL for assistance. Scottish Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle have called an EGM this week to raise additional funds or will go into administration despite having no outstanding debt.
The biggest story is in horse racing and the news that Towcester racecourse (pronounced Toaster fact fans) in Northamptonshire is the first British track to close its doors permanently since 2012.
The 91-year-old track where Sir AP McCoy rode his 4000th winner went into administration in August 2018 when it was bought by Fermor Land LLP. No fixtures have been staged since and all remaining National Hunt fixtures due to be staged at the venue have been sold and moved to other tracks.
Sir Anthony said: “It’s sad for racing when something like this happens and you have to worry about the whole business model of the sport when a track like Towcester is closed.”
Individually, these are all regular stories of struggling companies and natural business failure. Taken together, they become a trend.
It’s getting darker, there’s a chill in the wind and not just because it’s October.
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