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The Owners Formation: 4-4: Instability!

The eyes will tell you everything about a person, ignore the facial expressions and ignore their posture, go straight to the eyes. There are many football fans who would like to look at the Chairman and Owners of their respective clubs in the football pyramid and ask ‘What are you playing at?’. Football has changed, gone are the five year plans and the promise for time to develop and nurture talent instead managers are given players that are not their players and thirteen months at best. Most owners are multi million or even multi billionaire businessman, they are self-made men.  In business luck is a part but skill, patience and sensible judgement are the main stay. Chairman seem to have lost  the plot when they take on a football plot and the question has to why?

Abramovich is the most brutal owner of a football club in England’s top tier , managers have come and gone, trophies have been won and lost and players have succeeded or  failed. Yet it has to be pointed out that since 2003 Chelsea have won multiple FA Cups, three league titles, the Champions and a few Carling Cups. This is surely not a bad record, yet any footballer lover will have been taught the football like business is about stability. So is this now an outdated concept? Ferguson left Old Trafford , having achieved what would now simply seem impossible  to happen in the future, 26 years and forty plus trophies in a trophy laden management stint. That will not happen in the future and that’s sad. The English and to a large extent the world football fan has to accept that football has changed for good. Not right or wrong –it’s just a fact!

One thing that people neglect to consider is that when an owner buys a club to them they are not buying a business but instead are buying into a new identity and they want to have fun. It’s the equivalent of one of us mere mortals going out for and curry before hitting the town but instead of having a hangover  and a fry up in the morning; having an emergency board meeting and indulging in a huge managerial pay off. There is the first problem no one approaches a hobby with 100% logic and the heart rolls the head.  Instability then becomes business as usual and football clubs quickly work up debt to almost incredible proportions. Before you know it you are down in League Two struggling for your very existence.

Fans are fans and owners are owners, they are great as separate entities but when the joined it becomes a major issue and common sense is thrown down the river. It’s never a good idea to mix business with pleasure- it’s the coffin nail for most relationships and ends most friendships. Chairman’s should be rational, patience and knowledgeable not emotional, illogical and rash. Mixing the owner and the fan is not going to ever be a winning formation. When the heart starts ruling the head, the heart wins and poor decisions are made. If a self-made businessman goes decide to buy into their passions quite often their trust comrades will abandon them and then they struggle to cope and all entrepreneurs have blank spots and faults. Without their backroom staff entrepreneurs soon become very ordinary.  Football is a victim of this circumstance, that’s inevitable.

Money is football is a big player, and money is what drives success in football. Therefore owners constantly look at figures, spread sheets and financial forecasts and this drives the sacking of managers. The irony is there for everyone to talk about that often after sacking managers clubs go from bad to worse. The money involved causes boardroom tensions and leads to the appointments of numerous yes men , what is a technical director or what is the point of a director of football? This is often about politics and not about football. The manager is the manager, let him manage. The Head Coach has appeared more and more often recently and expect that to continue.

When you owners buy clubs they like to make an immediate statement of intent and this seems either to mean the sacking of managers or the signing of a marquee signing.  Managers should dread new owners because they should realise that new ownerships means increased demands or the sack. England fail to produce top class English managers and coaches and it’s not difficult to see why in the slightest. Until owners gain patience we will not produce the Mourinho’s, Wengers and Hiddinks. The death of the English coach could indeed be nigh, the sun is already beginning to set.

Egos are prominent in any walk of life and in football they are particularly wild. Owners are the worse far worse than their managers . The pick a guy to pick the team yet they want to pick the team , they want a say on transfer and choose which players get a new contract. An impossible situation ensues and the manager is quickly ushered out of  the door. Egos cause serious problems in sport and that will only change if the culture in which they are allowed to breed dramatically changes.  Managers have no chance in the current climate and the change is not round the corner its on the other side of the Galaxy.

Football has become a tense game with boardroom politics begging to reign supreme , once it’s on top its likely to stay dominant. The impatience that exists is not a football problem, it’s a social problem and that will never alter. The technical director and director of football role will become more and more prominent. Not all owners are bad but many are often naïve and miss the point when it comes to football. Football is a business but as daft as it sounds must also remain a sport. The sporting drama of the boardroom should never take away from the tactical battle on the pitch, that is for sure.

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