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Ed Woodward: An Assessment
Not sure about Ed being a financial genius as such – he’s obviously a practiced commercial operator, but a genius? He’s brought in some hefty sponsorship contracts, but he’d only be a genius if the value of those contracts was massive compared to the global audience for Utd’s games – that’s how the value of these things is worked out, companies pay more to splash their name over things people who might buy their stuff will see.
The fact is that Utd. have a ridiculously large global following, especially in Asia, which until the day before yesterday was the great white hope of finding newly wealthy people to sell stuff too – and so big American companies would/will pay top dollar to advertise their names in places they know those newly wealthy Asian people will be watching.
I’d expect anyone showing the nous to be in Ed’s exact position to negotiate the contracts that Ed has, when you consider United’s size and success. I have some very limited experience of this, and as I see it there’s almost no negotiation involved in actually sealing a commercial deal, it comes down to the numbers. Do the accountants say that you will earn more than what you spend because of how you spent it? Deal goes ahead. Do they not? Deal is cancelled. The negotiation is in getting to the stage where you propose the deal in the first place, after that it’s all numbers.
Ed hasn’t managed to ‘con’ anyone – do you think DHL (for example) got to be so big and rich by being able to be conned out of ridiculous money for nothing? Their analyst teams pored over that deal and ripped it apart, and concluded it was good for the company’s future finances, and so it went ahead.
If they hadn’t concluded that, there’s nothing at all Ed could have done to get it through the door except offer them the same deal for increasingly less money. Obviously Ed has his part to play in saying the right things about Utd’s future success when these deals become available, and giving the right impression (i.e. that loads of rival companies would love to pay the sponsorship) to the execs he needs to charm, but even if they really, really like him they aren’t going to sign anything that isn’t financially beneficial to their company first and foremost.
Again, I’m not saying he’s rubbish at all, far from it, I just don’t think he’s stand-out incredible. A financial genius would bring in that £75mil a year kit deal to a club that hasn’t been higher than say eighth in 15 years, whereas a competent operator would bring it to the (traditionally) biggest club in the most watched (just about) league in the world.
Woodward Is Like Ian Ayre
Vincent Hantubola in the Arvo mailbox points at Woodys achievements as commercial director to prove how good he must be at his new job as…I don’t know his title now in fairness.
But this reminds me a lot of Ian Ayre. Ian was also a brilliant commercial director for Liverpool and built up our revenues with similarly brilliant commercial deals and yet his move into this football exec role hasn’t strictly been brilliant for him either.
Under his stewardship you could argue we failed to sign (or got publicly strung along) by Diego Costa, Mo Salah and a few others but in truth I just can’t remember who right now.
I think it probably takes a very different skill set to deal with big businesses where rational intelligent people go to work everyday versus dealing with Aidy Ward who calls out a football pundit as a kn*b and insists his players wouldn’t sign for £500k a week at his current club. I don’t think success in one guarantees success in the other.
Champions League Draw Reaction
So Man City get a tough draw, Man Utd and Chelsea get easy groups, and Arsenal will finish second in their group.
‘Twas ever thus.
…What stinker Man City have been handed. So hard to improve your seedings when you get stung with draws like that every year. Ouch.
Man Utd not fortunate either in my opinion. Home to CSKA shouldn’t be too tricky, every other game looks like a banana skin though, so little chance of resting their one and only real striker. And no one likes a wintery trip to Russia.
Chelsea get the luck they deserve to winning the league, tending to progress well in the competition, and generally being a deserved top seed.
As for my own Arsenal. I’m happy with that, Geoff. Some big exciting games to test ourselves with home and away to Bayern, who we cannot meet in the first knock outs (hurrah! only 2 teams to 1000% avoid then). Then a Greek team and a former Yugoslavian nation are basically the ideal teams to draw. Any squeaky bums in the group stage will be thoroughly of our own doing. Game on!
…At least it’s not Bayern and CSKA again…
Martin Todoroski, MCFC
…I guess the good news is that when we come second in the group at least we’ll avoid Bayern Munich in the second round!
Brian, Belfast Gooner
Hey, Forget All Chelsea’s Successes
So, as of this moment, John Stones is going to remain an Everton player.
Lucky lucky boy. I’d have hated to see it turn out for him like it did for Salah, Schurrle, Cuadrado, DeBruyne, you catch my drift.
So, before any CFC supporters continue their crusade about how it would have been better for John Stones’ career to move to Chelsea, let’s take a moment and remember all the players who’s career suffered by moving to Chelsea Football Club.
TX Bill, EFC
Martinez: Double Standards
Martinez’s words to Stones led me to tears of laughter. It reminded me of that Comical Ali character during the Gulf war, you know the Iraqi press officer. With the Iraqi’s taking a hammering, Ali was proclaiming that tanks were ringing the City as he spoke and were about to drive the Great Satan from the door.
Martinez reminded me of that today. “We will support John in this difficult time” I’m sure that’ll comfort him when he watches Chelsea run out to the Champions League music knowing you were the reason he wasn’t there.
“We have great plans for John.” Really? surrounding him with who and with what last minute investment? Hang on don’t you want the window closed Roberto, is it really fair to be taking other teams players?
Finally we are a big club, with big tradition. This is code for we were once a great club but now we’re rotting. Everton are every bit as big as Chelsea (more some history stakes). But it is Chelsea who offers the opportunity to this player.
Remember opportunity Roberto, that’s the one you took when you led Wigan to relegation then jumped ship to Everton or when Wigan came knocking for you from Swansea.
Look Everton are entitled to hold Stones, they want more cash and believe that it will be available with one more good year and a bidding war with the new league money may happen. Of course life doesn’t always follow logic or straight lines and an injury or loss of form could see Stones value fall.
But the bit that I hold Martinez accountable is the double standards by which he himself built his career while he holds back Stones.
Wenger Is Just Playing Poker. He’ll Buy
I think Wenger plays a game of poker every year with the transfer window. It worked last summer and the summer before with Ozil and Alexis and I wonder if he’s doing the same this with the need for a striker.
Think about it, he’s got rid of Poldi and will be shedding Campbell and sent the most promising Akpom out on loan. This was presumably with the intention of having a good first three/four games of the season to throw the media/other clubs off the sent as Giroud and Walcott start banging the goals in. I truly believe there was interest in Benzema and there will have been quiet negotiations behind the scenes (there’s no smoke without fire etc).
The problem is he couldn’t keep it under wraps as someone (compounded by us idiot Gooners) kept the interest at the forefront of minds all summer. He’s now come out to say that he isn’t moving and Arsenal have had a shaky start displaying the need for a striker, far more than he intended. So now he is exposed as bluffing.
Wenger is now ramping up to sign a striker but is trying to keep the advantage. I do think we’ll sign someone but I just can’t think who. It is exciting times, if a little frustrating to wait for but Gooners need to chill. It’ll all be OK in the end.
The ‘Ideal’ Premier League
There are lots of teams in the lower divisions who would traditionally be considered to be ‘big clubs’, while the Premier League at the moment has a fair few who are not traditionally, in my mind at least, associated with being amongst the top tier – some of them pretty well established.
To my admittedly age / knowledge limited perception, Watford, Leicester, Bournemouth, Stoke, Swansea, Palace, Norwich, and maybe even Southampton, are amongst the plucky underdogs currently plying their trade in the top division.
This is not to disparage those teams, their fans, facilities or history at all, and is not based on anything other than my own perception; however, if I was going to pick an ideal Premier League for Match of the Day excitement purposes, it would be as follows (no particular order):
Preston North End
Don’t know what the point of this is, just something I think about at the start of every season for some obscure reason.
Loads of classic derby matches, grudge matches and stuff…brilliant.
Ben, MCFC, Manchester
Wenger Hasn’t Answered Any Critics
I just saw the article ‘Wenger hits out at TV pundits’. But before I could even open the link I was fuming.
1. Arsenal has been criticised for not signing a World Class Defensive Midfielder for 9 consecutive seasons. What has he done in response? He has never signed a proper DM (Flamini was free and he isn’t world class).
2. Critics have for a while been over critical about Arsenal striking department since Van Persie moved to Manchester United. He has signed Podolski, Giroud, Welbeck et al. None of them has set the world alight. Arsenal are still crying out for a better striker.
3. Arsenal have also been scrutinised for cocking up important fixtures and always failing to pitch up for a title challenge. Big defeats in the big games, Champions league games such as Monaco defeat, even the defeats to “smaller” teams in midweek games especially the ones when Wenger is wearing that coat. They never learn year in year out the same mistakes happen.
So if Wenger hasn’t signed a DM and a Striker or one of the two at the very least, or hasn’t won the league, he has NOT answered any critics.