Quantcast

Ballsy innovation comes crashing

942

Yesterday, Southampton’s chairman Nicola Cortese resigned.  Depending on how long you have been trailing this story, he is either being tempted to take up the chef exec job at struggling Milan, or has found working under owner Katharine Liebharr too much.  It’s also possible that Ms Liebharr has insisted on a return on her family’s two rounds of investment in the club and forced his hand.

Five years ago Cortese was a working in Switzerland as a banker and acted on behalf of the now-deceased and father of Katharine, Markus Liebharr.  They successfully put a deal together to buy Southampton FC and rescue the club from administration (liquidation is not inevitable, some clubs survive).  Cortese had no previous experience in the football industry.

Southampton are a small club who seem cursed to produce incredibly talented youth players, only to see extraordinarily bad executives spurn their bounty.  I remember writing about their ‘blood on the boardroom carpet’ six years ago.

A year ago this Saturday, Cortese sacked Nigel Atkins, the manager who won them two successive promotions and put them in a comfortable position on the FA Premier League.  Cortese was to 2013 what Vincent Tan is to 2014, the butt of a thousand jokes, but none of us were reading the script.

Cortese’ next move was to appoint Argentine Mauricio Pochettino, the 40-year-old  recently sacked manager of Espanyol.  Southampton haven’t looked back, despite the words “Hooiveld” and “Fox” regularly featuring on team sheets.

Pochettino is now one of the hottest properties in football but he’s not the story, his former boss is.  In appointing a young, low-profile, manager, Cortese tackled square-on the biggest problem in football – the vast risk invested on the shoulders of one man, the manager.  A football manager is expected to be a master of tactics, a motivational dressing room speaker, a media communications expert, a scout and pretty much guru of everything.

None of them are good at all of this.  As a consequence, clubs invest vast proportions of turnover on player wages and transfers, with haphazard diligence being carried out.  The man ultimately responsible for approving this spend is more likely to be a shouty media darling, spending an average of 2.5 years at the club, than someone who has experience of long-term strategic planning.

Cortese figured that what he really needed in a manager was a tactical head, someone who could run a technical team, consulting with scouts, coaches, nutritionists and fitness trainers, and come up with what American football teams call a playbook.  You want to play at Old Trafford?  This is what worked when small teams visited the Bernabeu last season.  Playing teams’ taller/faster/luckier with referees than you?  You’ve got to see how these guys are leveling the playing field in Uruguay.

Football clubs need their manager to be Master of Tactics, and if they can concentrate him on this, they’re doing better than 90% of clubs in the game.  They don’t need someone ‘connected’ to agents in value markets, this attribute can be recruited easily.  They don’t need a good media talker.  Despite being able to speak English, Pochettino gives press conferences through an interpreter.  Yet the fans love him!

Clubs don’t need someone to play to the galleries, or someone with the ability to induce affinity from his public, most of the time results will keep (most) fans onside.

With his technically-proficient and happy-to-be-working-anywhere manager installed, Cortese had all operations working as he wanted, including the inordinately expensive recruitment process.  Sacking a good and successful manager in Atkins was the most ballsy and innovative thing to happen in English football in decades, but he was operating in an industry which is the biggest financial basket case in sport.  So, despite his clarity of vision, the Southampton gig was never going to last.

Today’s newspapers predict a mass exodus as Pochettino and Southampton’s gifted players head for the exit, good news for Joos and Danny, perhaps, but you feel for the beleaguered fans, who were shown a glimpse of how things should be done, but for years will wonder, what could have been?

The rest of us can ponder the opportunity available due to entrenched inefficiencies in football.

“You should always have pressure on you”, Stefan Johansen, 15 January 2014.  I like this guy already.

Last shout for North America based Celtic fans for the Feile, which starts in Philidelphia tomorrow. Full details of the events can be found here. it’s bound to be a great weekend so get along if you can.
[calameo code=000390171ece27dd9e54e lang=en page=98 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]

Click Here for Comments >
Share.

About Author

942 Comments
  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 25

  1. ryecatcher

     

     

    14:48 on 16 January, 2014

     

     

    ‘Ernie…..

     

     

    A lot of his wealth funded CND and anti war campaigns.

     

     

    He didn’t need publicity,loud hailers or banners.’

     

     

     

    ####

     

     

    He supported the people with loud hailers and banners.

     

     

    And used his celebrity to urge other to do the same.

     

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI49-0DazTs

     

     

    I’m not sure he would want to be associated with the views you are expressing.

  2. Len Brennan…..

     

     

    All about Tommy….

     

     

     

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Flanagan_(actor)

     

    Tommy Flanagan (born 3 July 1965) is a Scottish film and television actor from Glasgow, Scotland. Flanagan is the third of five children. His first television roles …

     

    ‎Career – ‎Personal life – ‎Filmography – ‎References

  3. Len Brennan…..

     

     

    Tommy Flanagan (born 3 July 1965) is a Scottish film and television actor from Glasgow, Scotland.

     

    Flanagan is the third of five children. His first television roles were in Screen One, 1992 and Taggart in 1993. Flanagan worked in Robert Carlyle’s Raindog Theatre for three years before being cast in Braveheart (1995). He has had roles in Face/Off, The Game, Sunset Strip, Gladiator, Alien vs. Predator, Sin City, Smokin’ Aces, Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball, When a Stranger Calls, All About the Benjamins, The Last Drop and the mini-series “Attila.” Flanagan also portrayed arms dealer Gabriel Schecter in the first episode of 24’s seventh season. He is one of the main cast members of Sons of Anarchy and portrays the character Filip “Chibs” Telford

  4. The Moon Bhoys on

    glendalystonsils – couldn’t happen to a more deserving mob – founded by Charles Green – music to my ears…

  5. Ernie Lynch…..

     

     

    Like a broken clock I suppose you will be right twice a day.

     

     

    Seriously,point taken mate….he did use his celebrity to publicise good causes….CORRECT.

     

     

    Like I said not even a hint of indefatigueability or Swingers clubs in Manchester either.

     

     

    Proper socialism has feck all to do with party politics or fraud politicians.

  6. Len Brennan – Sons of Anarchy season 6 will not disappoint. The ending is quite a shocker, even by this shows standards.

  7. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Just received a wee invite to the launch of Club Celtic on Saturday morning…..doo doo

  8. Paul67…..

     

     

    Your best article yet in my humble opinion.

     

     

    Very well thought out and articulated.

     

     

    Take a bow,sir.

  9. ryecatcher

     

     

    15:45 on 16 January, 2014

     

     

    Len Brennan…..

     

     

    Tommy Flanagan (born 3 July 1965) is a Scottish film and television actor from Glasgow, Scotland.

     

    Flanagan is the third of five children. His first television roles were in Screen One, 1992 and Taggart in 1993. Flanagan worked in Robert Carlyle’s Raindog Theatre for three years before being cast in Braveheart (1995). He has had roles in Face/Off, The Game, Sunset Strip, Gladiator, Alien vs. Predator, Sin City, Smokin’ Aces, Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball, When a Stranger Calls, All About the Benjamins, The Last Drop and the mini-series “Attila.” Flanagan also portrayed arms dealer Gabriel Schecter in the first episode of 24′s seventh season. He is one of the main cast members of Sons of Anarchy and portrays the character Filip “Chibs” Telford

     

     

    ——

     

     

    Love the episodes filmed in Ireland although some of the accents are a bit dodgy.

     

    They even manage to get that big hun Cosmo to play the priest.. a crackin’ bit of casting. haha

     

     

    HH

     

    /Bishop B.

  10. ryecatcher

     

     

    15:51 on 16 January, 2014

     

     

     

     

    ‘Like I said not even a hint of indefatigueability or Swingers clubs in Manchester either.’

     

     

    ###

     

     

     

    The harsh reality is that without the likes of Galloway and Sheridan there would be no organisations or causes for the likes of Lloyd Pack to support.

  11. 67heaven … i am neil lennon, supporting wee oscar..!!.. ibrox belongs to the creditors

     

     

    15:53 on 16 January, 2014Just received a wee invite to the launch of Club Celtic on Saturday morning…..doo doo

     

    Enjoy mate

     

    Embdae else think Celtic are trying to introduce a new Club Badge? The black and gold image is all over the re-devolopment at CP ,and is on the website.Maybe part of PL’s Club Celtic Euro Branding……?

  12. mncelt

     

     

    15:53 on 16 January, 2014

     

     

    Len Brennan – Sons of Anarchy season 6 will not disappoint. The ending is quite a shocker, even by this shows standards.

     

     

    —–

     

     

    Looking forward to it mhate?

     

    Heard the other day that there will be 2 more season so still loads to enjoy for years to come.

     

     

    samcro.csc

     

     

    HH

     

    /Bishop B

  13. Snake Plissken on

    Just seen the Oscar nominations – not blown away to be honest.

     

     

    Fairly bog standard but quite why that American Hustle is getting bigged up I do not know.

  14. My boss is Peter Principle on

    ernie lynch

     

     

    16:01 on 16 January, 2014

     

     

    The harsh reality is that without the likes of Galloway and Sheridan there would be no organisations or causes for the likes of Lloyd Pack to support.

     

     

    Ernie,

     

     

    That’s you been right twice in the last 10 mins, better than a broken Rolex :-)

  15. Snake Plissken,

     

    I saw American Hustle last night and, while it was enjoyable, it’s been over-hyped. It’s not a great film. I enjoyed the 70’s music though.

  16. Michael Moffatt of Ayr Utd has just been suspended for SIX matches for betting on football matches.

  17. Outnumbered,the best comedy show in years.Karen a wee superstar.

     

    American Hustle,very bland.

     

    The best movies I have watched in a while,Twelve Years A Slave,and The Book Thief,the second an absolute gem of a movie

     

     

    CriticsRusCSC.

  18. ger57

     

     

    16:13 on 16 January, 2014Michael Moffatt of Ayr Utd has just been suspended for SIX matches for betting on football matches.

     

    I think we know why the bar has been set so low for that offence mate………

  19. Tony D , you must be a fine looking gent , how many times have you tried to send your photo lol

     

    How far back have you drank in the brazen heid?

  20. Hen1rik@14.21

     

    Thanks for sharing. One of the most succinct summations of not only the part that they played in their own downfall but of those who are compliant in allowing them to rewrite the narrative surrounding it. Anyone who has not read please scroll back.

     

    Is mo na cumann e.

  21. Black was found to have bet on over 100 games including 7 involving matches he played in and where he backed his team to lose. He got fined 2 wees wages and suspended for 3 games.

     

    The savage punishment (this phrase courtesy of keech jackson) obviously acted as a deterrent as witnessed by today’s case.

  22. Marsapa

     

     

    No no, it was a pic. Of me with someone else, and I was going to ask if anyone knew who the other guy was in the pic. The guy is a big celebrity in the US but not, well maybe not here, it was just for a laugh, no vanity involved, mind you in saying that I used to turn a few heads in my day, ;))

  23. Hi Paul67,

     

     

    Good informative piece ~ excellent stuff.

     

     

    They successfully put a deal together to buy Southampton FC and rescue the club from administration (liquidation is not nevitable, some clubs survive)

     

     

    Interesting from my recollection Southampton FC transferred the debts from their Club to the parent company, the parent Company took the insolvency hit, they thought this would protect the Club and technically it might have done.

     

     

    However the English Football League took the view that these were debts from the Football Club and ensured the Club were penalised accordingly.

     

     

    Compare and contrast that with the SFA ‘s approach to Rangers, who despite the fact that Rangers Football Club had the debts and from what we know the parent Company was solvent ~ tried to extrapolate the Club from it’s Corporate responsibilities, to avoid insolvency.

     

     

    The English League should be applauded for defending Sporting Integrity and reducing the moral hazard.

     

     

    The SFA on the other hand…

     

     

    Hail Hail

  24. Chairbhoy….

     

     

    The Sevco clusterfeck in Scotland would never have been allowed in England.

     

     

    Never in a million 12th of Julys.

     

     

    Sporting integrity still exists down here, regardless of the amount of money sloshing around.

     

     

    If anyone is caught doing anything naughty,and I mean any team,they will get absolutely hammered and nailed for it.

  25. tomtheleedstim

     

     

    That’s my point Tom. The SFA, in trying not to offend the hoards, (we have been punished enough) have made a rod for their own back by being seen to be soft on gambling.

     

    They should have come down heavily on any player found to be gambling on games.If players want to gamble, gamble on anything but football.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 25