Damned if you spend big; Juve prove you’re damned if you don’t…

Date published: Tuesday 2nd June 2020 9:43

Keep sending your mails to theeditor@football365.com…


Juve’s free-for-all f*ck up 
I was listening to the European show on the radio last night and I think it was either Honingstein or Brassell who described Juve’s transfer policy as “a complete disaster” because it had saddled them with one of the biggest wage bills in world sport. He also pointed out that because they had bought so many, shall we say mercenaries who had run down their contracts, they now had the double whammy of a raft of players who had already proved they are happy to sit out a contract till the end rather than bow to the club trying to sell them.

I have heard a few people suggesting Juve had the won the very important transfer policy cup and indeed I thought they were quite clever a few years ago when they seemed to mop up every decent free transfer on the market. But it turns out there are no shortcuts in this industry and the chickens are coming home to roost for Juve as apparently they are desperately trying to shed some of the fringe players who are on astronomical wages as we enter into footballs version of the depression (I exaggerate of course).

Also, does anyone think the people at the top of other football clubs are not really clever about how they spend their money? Has someone like Daniel Levy really not looked at the Juve model, got his Texas Instruments calculator out and worked out whether it makes sense? It’s footballs equivalent of sticking everything you have ever wanted on HP and hoping you never ever have a rainy day.
Graham Kirk, Sunny Manchester…..oh wait, no, it’s raining.


Read: Are any of the giants’ current transfer strategies working?


Big money buys won’t work either
There have been several conversations recently that are somewhat related – will clubs be able to buy players with the current financial constraints, net spend, recent bad player acquisitions of clubs like Barca, need for Barca to look at City and Liverpool as their models for success, etc. However, they all boil down to the impact of player acquisition and whether that has been done well or not.

In the football equivalent of Moneyball, Soccernomics, a book written that used data to determine if any of football’s cliches or myths are valid or not, they called out a club’s wage bill as a bigger predictor of success. Spending on wages was considered to be much better than spending on transfers. If we look at Liverpool it is noticeable they have been constantly updating player contracts to tie their best players to the club with wages that would make it harder to want to leave. At the same time, reducing transfer spend or at least, limiting transfer spend. Could that be why Spurs didn’t succeed? Certainly, United, during their recent heydays had the largest wage bill. You could argue they go together – transfer spend clout and wages – but not necessarily. Point is, should be more arguments about relative wage bills than big transfer spend.

Clearly, as fans, we like to see big money players coming in. Something to talk about and get excited about, rather than essentially the same team being rolled out. Many will discount the manager’s saying, no worries, the players may not have changed but the way we play or train or do things will be different. Klopp has at least lived up the bargain he has made with management and fans.

One other interesting factoid that they raised regarded the size and clout of football teams. While people like say, Johnny Nic, will say football is horrible now compared to the old days because it has gone all big business, the reality is the average team is no bigger than a supermarket – not the chain – just one supermarket. Yes, really. Just imagining the local Tesco putting in a bid to acquire the best stock boy from the nearest Waitrose 🙂
Paul McDevitt


Class war
Wary of becoming the cartoon of a Daily Mail reader raging against his computer screen, Jonny Nic’s article finally made me crack and email in.

There’s something unseemly about this whole “football’s ruined by money” crap. It’s like wanking on about Leeds in the 1970s, when footballers were rapists, racists and a turned-blind eye away from a six month stretch at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Everybody who likes football wants their team to be like Holland in the 70s, Arsenal in the naughties, Madrid in the 50s and if you’re in charge of a team and you can make this happen you should. Any honest fan of any club in the land would chose that if they could have it. It’s inverted snobbery to think that you’d rather have Ade Akinbiye and Jamie Cureton up front over Messi and Rolando. It’s like saying you prefer prosecco to champagne – you don’t, you just cant justify spending the money on it, and it would just be wasted on your uncle at the wedding anyway. Anyway, that’s not the point of my ranty missive today, I’m available for commission on this topic if you really want, very reasonable rates per click (I do presume that Jon gets paid for his pieces, and would get paid more if they were anything more than rehashed 70s nostalgia washed down with bitterness and coal dust).

Apparently fans have been left behind and it’s another sign that football is no better than the poll tax etc etc etc. Nonsense. We’ve all been at home, sitting balefully on our arses, wishing that at least the football was on for something to watch. People are watching Korean football, Taiwanese baseball and now even the Bundesliga because we want something to watch. There are no fans in the stadiums because it’s not safe. The clubs would rather the fans were there – for atmosphere, yes also for revenue and because it’s a part of the game we love. Ticket prices are high because they can be and they’re in a market for entertainment, but as Jon points out the matchday revenue doesn’t actually form the main part of big clubs’ finances any more. This is a good thing.

If Man Utd cut ticket prices to £0, apparently this would cost the club up to £110m. Man United would survive, with perhaps only minor affect on performance. Every match would still be sold out, and still millions of football fans wouldn’t be able to attend, for practical and geographic reasons as much as anything else. People would still want to watch, and TV companies would compete to offer this to the fans, pushing money into the clubs. The fact that the Premier League and other big leagues can play behind closed gates and still get by shows that they are run properly to survive catastrophe, not dependent on precarious risk factors or single sources of income.

Jon’s article ultimately boils down to this: lower league footballers are paid too much. They can’t attract enough interest in their shin-chopping, toe-poking, salt-o’the earth attempt at Sunday league sport to keep themselves going in times of trouble. They’re over-promoted amateurs kidding themselves that they’re playing in a league with any more merit than the Vanarama. The lower leagues should be the province of the promising youngster and useful journeyman ready to step back up when experience is needed, not an excuse for a few middling jocks to wile away their youth until time creeps up on them and it’s back to reality.

Noone makes us pay for Sky, BT etc., we choose to. They try and maximise their profits, which is fair enough, and if the price was too high they would lower it. In turn, they pay vast sums to clubs, which in turn pay their players. We vote for this every time we subscribe, and while we may think that we’d like to pay less, until we cancel this system is on us. And it’s a good one.

Modern football is the nearest to a perfect socialist business we have. Where else do the workers take home such a huge percentage of the revenue? Where else do the workers have such power over their employers? Take a wage bill of a Premier League team and divide it in two and you’ve got the income tax that they are contributing to the country to help with public services. Take 1/6th of the Sky bills and TV rights monies that come in and that goes to the exchequer as well as VAT. Add to this all, the fact that these high-paid prime donne are rarely taken from the middle or upper classes, they are largely working class boys turned into millionaires for their talent and hard work (it’s not until later that the old boy’s network mentality comes in and gives the PFM their shot at acting like Toffs and giving jobs to their mates and family members instead of those with actual aptitude and insight), and you have a system that raises people for reasons that aren’t based on who their parents, grandparents or great-great-great grandparents are. In Jon’s world, they’d be scruffing their way to a 1-0 him on a dirtbath before joining us in the pub after the match, ignoring that come 35 they’d be back down t’pit wanking off the pony and taking the place of the dearly departed canary.


Vanity fair
You and your readers may or may not be familiar with the “vanity plate” concept here in the US – you can choose your own license plate for your car, pay a small sum, and it it’s not rude, offensive, dismissive of the criminal code (YAY 420) nor can be read backwards in a mirror to reveal something unpleasant, it’s yours and on your car it goes.

Here in California you can even have some symbols – a heart (like the famous “I (HEART) LA”), a waving hand, a star, those kinds of things.

There have been some clever ones – a guy had “COKE DLR” that was subject to a recall from the DMV until he sent a picture of the plate on his Coca-Cola delivery truck. There have been some mistakes – a vegan lady had I (HEART) TOFU until she returned the plates due to being propositioned at every stop light and every parking lot. There’s a car I see frequently with NCNO N8V – she lives in Encino and obviously was born there. I almost drove off the 170 when I was passed by a Corvette with “8HR(Heart)BTN” – that one slipped through the DMV.

So what’s the point of this? I was driving (on an essential and self-isolating) trip to my local market on Sunday and pulled up alongside an Audi with “COYS N17”. I looked over, saddened by this poor specimen. He looked at me, I know that he knew that I felt sorry for him. The light turned green and I pulled away so that he could see my license plate. SW6 4 CFC.

Any point to this? None whatsoever. But if your readers could pick their own plate – seven characters max – what would it be? You can have one special character such as a waving hand, a star or a heart. Maybe a hashtag is allowed now? I’m not sure. Have at it. For extra credits, why not check the California DMV website to see it it’s available?
Steve, Los Angeles


Budget Brian
Sorry to ruin a potentially interesting debate to give us something to think about during these challenging times, but the correct answer to Mikey CFC’s question about managers overperforming on a shoestring is “Brian Clough”.
Chris Bridgeman, Kingston Upon Thames


Read: Portrait of an icon: Brian Clough


Thrifty Fergie
In reply to Mikey CFC, i’d like to throw a name in the hat. Alex Ferguson. I’m not talking about Don of the Monstrous Man Utd Commercial Juggernaut, but at the Dons, Aberdeen.

They had won the title once before, 24 years prior, but he won it in the second year, despite being the same age as some of his players. He broke up the Old Firm monopoly, and won 10 trophies in 6 years, including the cup winners cup and the super cup. ( the former against Di Stefano’s Real Madrid).

And of course they have not got close since.

Not a bad run.
Dan (South Wales Manc)


…Some really good responses to my two mails published in yesterday’s morning mailbox, the one from Olivier, LFC about Rene Girard’s Montpellier inclusion is certainly one I did forget about, so I thought I would head back across the continent to see any other managers and their sides I missed out.

Louis Van Gaal – AZ Alkmaar 08/09
This was quite an interesting title win as well, they finished 11th the season beforehand, during the summer a fair few star players left and yet they won the title, 11 points clear of 2nd place Twente, their squad that season consisted of future Premier League players Sergio Romero, Ragnar Klavan, Graziano Pelle and Mousa Dembele (Spurs)

Jaime Pacheo – Boavista 00/01
Manager of the Boavista side, who still to this day are the last side to win the Portuguese league title that are not one of the big three (Sporting, Porto and Benfica), finished 22 points behind Sporting the season before in third place.

Ertuğrul Sağlam – Bursaspor 09/10
His first season in charge of a Bursaspor ended with the Super Lig title, ended the 26 year dominance of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, they had never finished in the top three before and were quite the underdogs, no big name players, no big fees spent, yet took them to their first ever title.

Armin Veh – VFB Stuttgart 06/07
Took a side finishing 9th the season before, to the Bundesliga title the next, during that summer window the most he spent on a player was £3m for Ricardo Osario who was purchased off the back of an impressive display for Mexico at the 2006 World Cup, now when you compare this to the likes of Bayern who bought Van Bommel and Podolski, who also had Kahn, Lucio and Makaay in their side, and the likes of Werder Bremen who bought Diego and Per Mertesacker for a total of £18m, quite something.
Mikey, CFC (Roy Makaay is easily one of the most underrated strikers of all time, look up his stats, just saying)


Drunk on Ighalo
Very rarely in modern Premiership football do fans ever feel a genuine sense of connection to signings. It’s very much a case of he is 100 million he must be mint, sign him up!!!!!

Odion Ighalo – Living his dream on his sleeve and in that very very special bracket of very good, not world class obviously and no one is saying that so sit down, but f*cking mint when he scores in any game, and going to score in something massive and do a shirt off, crowd surf, instant legend, name on the back of shirts for years, standing ovation last game, and happy to be here and actually decent guy and please please just spend 15mill to get him even for the bench, Sancho great but we love him more, pass him the ball!!!, red card in a derby you beauty, won’t do a clothing line, plays 10 games but feels like 100, screams at the captain to try harder, we all agree, one off chant used for a decade, BBC pundit at world cup for any African games (you know it’s true), OMG he nutmegged Sarah GIF it forever, basically best transfer news since we sold Di Maria


We could not keep away from the camera for long so we made a Football365 Isolation Show. Watch it, subscribe and share until we get back in the studio/pub and produce something a little slicker…

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