How can a club like West Ham catch Man City with FFP?

Ian Watson

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With all the fuss about Manchester City’s rise to the higher echelons of national and international club football and the means by which they achieved their current status would someone please explain to me how my team, West Ham, could legally and legitimately make the same levels of progress.

From the little I know about FFP without significant financial backing and potentially inflated sponsorship etc there’s no way that this could happen.

I think that rather than vilify City we should be looking to do the same to the powers that allowed FFP to be introduced in the first place.
Paul – Disenfranchised Hammer (is here any other type?)

…I find the footballing authorities reluctance to punish successful clubs that flaunt FFP regulations as a bit odd considering the same authorities readily hand out transfer bans to big clubs for breaking the rules in that area. Barcelona received a transfer ban not long ago and nobody is a bigger fish in European football than them. Barcelona weren’t able to get the ban overturned by suing their accuser or by other means just because they are a very powerful club. This shows the authorities aren’t reluctant or afraid to hand out punishment to big clubs if it’s proven a transfer related violation happened so why not the same with FFP?

FFP has always been criticized as a means to keep the status quo so clubs like Man Utd, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich etc always get to be in the best position to win trophies and qualify for the CL every season. I feel that misses the point as these clubs earned that privileged by building a fan base, growing the commercial side of the club and having prolonged success so deserve to be at the top as they earned it Man City. One thing people also miss is that FFP also benefits smaller clubs that are well run and turn a good profit as they can build good squads and have a great chance to stay in the top league in their country while mismanaged clubs have less of a chance because of FFP sanctions or other reasons. This is a positive even if they don’t win the odd cup or do a ‘Leicester’ so FFP isn’t just to benefit the elite. These clubs although probably rare but not impossible could also over an extended period of time grow enough in sporting and commercial terms to join the elite.

In regards to the bigger and smaller clubs alike no rational person could think it’s right that a club who is breaking FFP rules wins the league when the team in second who plays by the rules doesn’t doesn’t, that the club who finishes 4th and qualifies for the CL broke FFP rules whereas the team just behind them didn’t so ends up in the EL or a club gets relegated but the team just ahead of them by a point broke FFP but gets to stay in the EPL. None of these situations would be fair on the club who loses out so do they have a right to sue the rule breaking club or seek arbitration if this situation happens and the authorities do nothing?

This brings me back to Barcelona, if they (or Man Utd, Juventus etc) broke FFP rules in the future would they be punished like if they broke transfer rules or would authorities approach the situation in the same way they do with ‘alleged’ FFP rule breakers Man City and PSG and do nothing? It would certainly be interesting to see.

Chelsea the first EPL club bought by a foreign multi-billionaire who spent millions the club couldn’t make on its it own on players and other investments are now run like a business. If the bond villain like Roman Abramovich will follow the rules why do the rulers of super rich Middle East countries feel they ‘allegedly’ don’t have to? You might say maybe they need more time as Abramovich has had over a decade to invest enough time and money to build Chelsea into an elite EPL and CL winning club rather than just one with a rich owner. This is until you realise Sheikh Mansour bought Man City a decade ago in 2008 and still ‘allegedly’ feels the FFP rules don’t apply to his club.

The most likely reason why the authorities won’t punish Man City or PSG for ‘alleged’ FFP violations is because of who owns them. Other clubs have rich owners but not in the same way these two clubs have as they don’t just own clubs they own a country, have deeper pockets and international political influence bigger than UEFA’s or FIFA’s plus in PSG’s case can’t just buy Neymar but ‘allegedly’ the right to host a World Cup too. The authorities are turning a blind eye for non-footballing reasons in a way they wouldn’t have to with other clubs who’s owners might be super rich but are only mere businessmen in the end.

I could go on but at this time FFP seems pretty pointless so may as well be done away with if the authorities won’t effectively investigate or enforce the regulations on clubs just because because of who their owners are.
William, Leicester


O’Neill out
And so the news that Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane have mutually consented to step away from the Irish national football team. I liked both O’Neill and Keane and still believe that it’s a management team that could work really well somewhere at some time, but they have been at the helm of the decline of the national team for so long, without any measureable improvement. The recent record of no wins, no goals, and even no shots is symptomatic of a team whose performance recently has been so poor that the Sky Sports app commentary of Monday night’s Nations League match with Denmark began “In truth, this was a game that could put you off football for life”.

To be fair, Ireland have lost a huge number of highly influential players in recent years and with no conveyor belt of upcoming talent. English media has long since noticed that opportunities for young English players has significantly reduced due to the internationalisation of the Premier and Football League, and for a country whose best players have largely piggy-backed on the English system since its beginning, we were bound to be among the first causalities.

I think to say we don’t have the players is unfair to the current crop and disingenuous. Against Denmark on Monday, in a game where we were already relegated, we just needed to show some intent, some belief, a bit of a spark. With Jeff (Shimmy) Hendrick, Robbie Brady, Harry Arter, Callum O’Dowda, and Seamus Coleman, there is enough invention to even just try. Instead, we lined up with seven (7!) defenders. I’ve seen people argue we don’t have the players. I understand this to a degree. Robbie Keane’s retirement from international football was always going to have a massive impact – more international goals than Ronaldo, Zlatan, Rooney, Henry) etc. But this is a team who once got to the Euros with a midfield partnership of Keith Andrews and an emerging Glenn Whelan. (We did get tanked in those Euros, though tbf, we were drawn in a group against Croatia and both eventual finalists Spain and Italy).

The lack of supply of quality in Irish football quality is a more complex issue than you may think. It’s well behind gaelic football, hurling, and rugby for facilities and financial support. The domestic league’s stand-out stars are snapped up by mid-level Championship clubs in England to sit in the reserves. No academy system worth talking about, very poor quality domestic league (don’t get defensive – it really is – it’s on a par with English league One at best). Yes O’Neill and his backroom team failed miserably and have rightly left, but the problem is not the manager, it’s the system. The FAI have repeatedly neglected the domestic league and have invested pittance in developing a grass roots level system to promote any growth of the game.

10 years ago English football saw the decline in the pool of players and figured out this was going to impact the national team. Among other things, the FA set up St. George’s Park as a centre for coaching and development. At the time many people ridiculed it and claimed it wouldn’t solve anything – 6 years later England made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup. The England team is now made up of young exciting talent who were nurtured and coached from an early age in a system that worked. It may not be the panacea to the England Team but it was a vision that was backed by money and resources and the team now has a conveyor belt of exciting talent. John Delaney, chief executive of The FAI appointed Steve Staunton, Giovanni Trappatoni, and Martin O’Neill, the last two on ridiculously high salaries. At the same time he has overseen the drying of the well; when the writing was on the wall for ten years no real strategy or future planning was made and now watching the national team struggle with players giving their all to fall dramatically short “could put you off football for life”.
Bren, Dublin


…Martin O’Neill’s tenure as Ireland manager has only borne out what I’ve always felt about him for a long time.
There are two Martin O’Neills: The one supporters want at their club because “he’ll do a job for us”, and the one supporters eventually have at their club who, after about a year at the helm, everybody has gone decidedly ‘meh’ on.
I’ll always remember a caller to 606 a few years ago who was drawing a line under the recently-departed Gerard Houllier’s reign at the club. He stated that it had been the right time for O’Neill to go before him, as the club was stagnating under the Irishman, bu he hadn’t agreed with Houllier’s appointment. When the host asked him who he’d like to see in charge next, he replied “I know it sounds daft, but I still think O’Neill could do a job for us.” Time truly is the great healer.


Wenger in
Plenty of names swirling around the Ireland job today, not all inspiring.

Stephen Kenny- seems most logical. Plenty of success with Dundalk, plays good football, has knowledge of local and young players, proper fans would get behind him straight away
McCarthy- No way. Never go back. Too angry and beligerent now and not in a funny
Yorkshire way like before
Hughton- I wish. Mid table in the prem is more lucrative and better prep for the spurs job
Allardyce- anyone but Sam please. Too arrogant and self-serving. Too defensive anyway & would blame average players like his predecessors
Steve Bruce- Just no
Alan Pardew- see Steve Bruce
David Moyes- see Alan pardew
Redknapp- Jamie yes, Harry no
Neil Lennon- needs to be applauded for calling racists racist, but would probably be too blunt for softies like Harry Arter and Jon Walters
Wenger- the campaign starts here. Let’s make it happen. He’s free. We’re free. No expectation to win a tournament, qualifying is enough. It’s a match made in heaven.
Peter (no, I didn’t forget Carsley), Dublin.


Englishmen abroad
Regarding the article on what it will take for England’s best players to get moves to Euro giants, I think for two of them, its just a matter of time.

Kane: -Southgate’s (incorrect) comments about Harry Kane being the best goal scorer in the world prompted a few around the world to do some statistical digging, which showed that while Kane is up there he is behind a handful of players on either goals total or goals per minute over the past few seasons (Ronaldo, Messi, Suarez, Aguero). Of interest was that looking at the top strikers in the world only two – (Kane and Icardi) are not close to or past thirty.

So this means that as the best attackers in the world go past their peak, Kane and Icardi will emerge as the current best (barring the emergence of some amazing attackers in the next two to three seasons) and will very likely get a move to a giant club. I actually suspect Real will move for one of those two in July as Benzema’s time is coming to an end.

Pickford is another who is likely to go to any big club which is keen on a keeper with good distribution. In fact if Guardiola leaves city in a couple of seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to buy Pickford for his next club (City wouldn’t want to sell Ederson).

Other possibly getting a move would be:

Sancho – already at a top European club but no one would be shocked if he takes a step up when Bayern do their usual thing of buying Dortmund’s best players to strengthen themselves/weaken their rival.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – how good could he be? At the moment he is Liverpool good (which is a amazing) but he might become Madrid/Barca good.

Dele Alli: Personally, I suspect he has found his level at Tottenham. But he could prove me wrong and become a more consistent dominator, in which case everyone would be interested.

Definitely not getting a giant move are:

Stones/Sterling: No club is currently a step up. They are staying.

Rashford: Either he fulfils his potential, in which case Man Utd will sign him to a long term contract, or he doesn’t, in which case no big club is interested.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide


Think of the children
In response to JazGooner about the swearing at football, I think there is an important distinction between swearing and aggression. One can happen without the other.

I am an Arsenal season ticket holder and am already wondering when is the appropriate time to take my (now 18 month old) son to the football. My issue is with the actual aggression, not just the swearing. Whilst I don’t really want him hearing any swearing, swearing can be used in a positive context (ie, what a f***ing goal!!!, you absolute f***ing legend!!!) and can also be used in a negative / upset … but not aggressive way (i.e., in a non-shouty voice “lost again for f*** sake. We are sh**!). That is completely different in my opinion to shouting aggressively or shouting abuse at an individual player. That is what would worry me more, my son seeing that grown men can become angry and abusive. I would argue an aggressive outburst could contain no swear words whatsoever and still be a lot more ‘damaging’ (whatever that means) than hearing a few ‘f bombs’ said in a sarcastic or even jovial context.

…having said all that, I also wonder if he needs to see that unpleasantness / aggression at some point … sadly for him, in life some people are angry and aggressive and I would rather the 1st time he experiences that is with me in a stadium rather than on the street. Don’t want him to be naïve to the ways of the world. Dunno. Maybe I need to read a parenting book.


Strong City = strong England
If the poison is in the water for Manchester City, then that poisoned water also ebbs and flows, albeit innocently, into the England Team. At the last count there were 4 Man City players in the England team that beat Croatia. All playing a huge part in their success, and a fifth player who was trained in the academy. Those players have been assembled into a team managed by arguably the best manager in the world, at the best training facilities in the world. If they had stayed at their previous clubs would they be the same player they are today? Would Raheem Sterling be a world class threat? Would Fabian Delph look so assured in England’s midfield? I very much doubt it. It would also be naïve not to acknowledge the influence Man City has had on Southgate’s tactics and the way England set up. Therefore, those seeking to undermine City’s success must also accept that to do so also allows others to bring into question the (future) success of England.
Rosie Poppins


Messi business
I just don’t get it. Reports that Messi isn’t in the top 3 for the Ballon d’Or either. He is clearly, and by some distance, the best player in the world.

Brexit, Trump, Martin O’Neill getting sacked and now this! All objectivity is gone. GONE!
Cathal McS (MON had to go to be fair)


Olive branch
Nebs chill your beanz. I may have got ‘every single thing wrong’ but by coincidence you satisfactorily answered most of my questions. I can’t work out if your response is validating my questions?

F365 is obviously pejorative, patronising and paternalistic at times (isn’t that all journalism?). The thing i cherish about F 365 is that it isn’t (in the UK) the Guardian, the Mail, the Express, the Star and most importantly for obvious reasons for me the Sun. It is a mix of anti-oppressive politics and footy where the Mails are front and centre and the best bit. Which for me makes it unique.

By anti-oppressive I don’t mean not causing offence. I mean challenging racism, homophobia, sexism and capitalism etc in the context of football. It puts noses out of joint with polemic but for me it rebalances against other majority polemics that have an assumed truth pretty much everywhere else in the media.

The difference is for me is this is is the only media where I feel most at ease. That isn’t to say I don’t share similar gripes to you. I do. F365’s crusade on behalf of Raheem Sterling for me is liberally paternalistic and assumes he can’t speak for himself. He can and does more eloquently speak for himself without F365’s “help’ on and off the field (like you Nebs similarly unpublished).

So best wishes Nebs and JN! We may all be kindred spirits?
David LFC