Narco-football ruining clubs


Spurs have dispensed with the man once thought Europe’s hottest guru manager (don’t believe in guru managers).  Villas Boas was a failure as manager but he was a mere symptom of their problems.  Splurging circa £100m on vagrant misfits should be enough to disguise the fact that you don’t have a sustainable strategy.  For a while.  But primary responsibility lies with whoever authorised the budget in the first place.

Selling that chap with the funny hair to Madrid went some way towards offsetting the cost of this summer’s acquisitions, but Spurs wage bill for the new arrivals will dwarf the money paid to those who departed.  This is the more serious problem.

They are left with players on long and expensive contracts who look like they auditioning for a West End show.  Forget about Spurs recouping their ‘investment’, the chances of players attracting contract offers which match the cash the Cockerel coughs up each month is zero.

The Bale money is gone and those new contracts written in the summer will inhibit the club for years.  What next: downsizing, or another visit to the roulette table, gambling with even bigger stakes next time?

Here’s what happens when you sell your star player: everyone and their grannie wants the money spent.  “The [Insert club name] board need to show their ambition”.  This comes from fans, the media, the manager, scouts, family members and every taxi driver in a 30 mile radius.  And why wouldn’t they spend an apparent windfall, that’s what the money’s there for, after all.

It’s at this point clubs lose all self-awareness.  Reinforced by the success which led to the development and profitable sale of a prime asset in the first place, the organisation’s view of its reach, not to mention competency, is obliterated.  “We have spent money well in the past, look, here is the evidence, therefore we can spend this even larger amount of money well now”.

With this belief now orthodoxy, every pore in the organisation secretes an intoxicating scent attracting the club to market.  Unfortunately, the rewards for spending big are heady and instant, though they seldom last as long as the hangover.

Directors are celebrated, ticket and merchandise sales get a short-term kick.  The manager and coaches get to play with more expensive toys; quite literally, everyone is happy.  This is narco-football, only accommodated by ever-bigger hits.  For some, this narco-football offers proof that management share wider stakeholder aspirations.  I contend otherwise.

The heresy to this orthodoxy reads differently:

Clubs should mistrust their successes, they are evidentially more random than most are prepared to accept.

Windfall transfer income is more likely to draw clubs away from the part of the market they are most competent in.  It is an acknowledged fact that sellers and agents literally see them coming.

Don’t go searching for the instant hit, you’re more likely to miss.  If necessary, take some short-term pain while using resources to enhance recruitment infrastructure.

Heresy in any area of life is seldom met with quiet contemplation.  Narco-football heresy is more likely to be met with a rationalisation that the heretics don’t share orthodoxy’s core values – sustainable success of the football club – no matter how many references to “sustainable success of the football club” they make. It’s Salem-esque.

The orthodox-heretic analogy is evident where three or more are gathered in any club’s name.  The first club who manage to unite everyone behind the heretic’s charter will clean up/reach nirvana/find salvation/achieve ultimate enlightenment/do lunch with Tom Cruise.

CQteN St Patrick’s Day Dinner is now FULLY BOOKED.  Many thanks for everyone who responded so quickly.  We are well on the way to raising the money to build a kitchen and shelter at the Kholoni Primary School in Malawi (for details check here).

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  1. Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar on

    He cannae catch a bloody train in the same week that he’s intended to but…….:-)



    Well done BMCUW ya wee scamp!!

  2. ” American rapper, businessman and occasional actor, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, has an estimated net worth of $475 million as of 2013. Embodying the rags-to-riches rap dream, Jay-Z pulled himself up by his bootstraps as a youth to eventually become the reigning rapper of New York City and, in turn, a major-label executive following his short-lived retirement from music-making.



    The Brooklyn-born celeb is on record as crediting his phenomenal success to an enduring love-affair with the early works of Jimmy Shand.”

  3. Good article Paul however, think the sentiment will be taken by some as zero based budgeting is in my line of work…………..

  4. LiviBhoy – God bless wee Oscar


    12:07 on


    17 December, 2013





    McCann has often told that part of the story, I wanted to play for Celtic or Liverpool, but they didnt want me, but Rangers did.



    He neglected to mention thought the other two Premiership teams who did want him.



    And on similar money to what the Huns were giving.



    So, that contract is on the table. You the RC from the Port. Your dad is a bus convenor for the celtic club, you and your brothers grew up supporting celtic, and playing for the shamrock.



    Sign for the Huns, or go to Blackburn.



    what would you do ?

  5. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    Saint Stivs



    I know what I would do but he made his choice.


    Did Blackburn have a concrete offer on the table?


    My frustration is with Celtic letting him have to make the decision in the first place. We were toling to beat Rangers. Could beat everyone else and here was a guy who run them ragged every time they played them and we didn’t take up the option of signing him. Crazy policy.




  6. 50 shades of green supports wee oscar and his family.h.h.wee mhan on

    If I was good enough and its a big bloody if and was given mccanns options, I honestly couldnt betray my father like that, the thought of having to tell him I had gone to the dark side would be enough to stop me,








    I posted the other day about AVB’s seeming inability to work with big-name stars,but with Spurs,I think the players bought in the summer were not the ones he wanted.



    The successful Valencia and Lyon teams of the early 2000s apparently followed the plan of giving a coach the players,and letting him get on with it,but it rarely seems to work in the UK.



    Witness Chelsea with Torres and Schevchenko.



    The blame for the Spurs fiasco lies IMO with Levy,in the main. He brought in decent players at inflated prices-and wages-with little thought to how they would fit the team.



    It appears now that few if any were the choice of AVB,who then had to deal with the problems that were created.



    Upstairs is for allocating a football budget. The bootroom,etc,is for deciding how to spend it.

  8. time for change, I’ve been blogging long enough to know how the orthodox view on this, “no matter how many times I use words like “sustainable development of the football club”.



    Garngad to Croy, indeed.

  9. Big Nan [ previous thread }



    Thanks !.



    The vegetation got people arrested and the commune shut down.



    The trial [ all were equally guilty] saw the likes of agricultural labourers and apprentice gardeners being punished far more severely than University students who had attended big thing public schools in England.

  10. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    50 shades of green supports wee oscar and his family.h.h.wee mhan



    My family would have disowned me.


    Professionals are a funny breed though. The game has changed. Players are happy to pull on any jersey for the cash.




  11. bankiebhoy1



    The Brooklyn-born celeb is on record as crediting his phenomenal success to an enduring love-affair with the early works of Jimmy Shand.”



    Would that be before he formed The Jimmy Shand Experience!

  12. aye never defrost any more Pudd and Lorne than you need that morning ….makes sense to me ….braw

  13. The Battered Bunnet on

    It’s a little known FACT that AVB learned everything he knows about football management from Jimmy Shand.

  14. Jings Paul! Did you get a new dictionary in the works’ secret santa?



    Top vocabulary work fella.



    V.C.O.P. CSC

  15. Football is nearing the point at which it will have to be ripped up and restarted from scratch.




  16. 50 shades of green supports wee oscar and his family.h.h.wee mhan on

    Spurs is it



    What they gonnae do if the new guy comes in and wants rid of the expensive flops eh, sell them on for a fraction or tell the new guy thats yer lot make it work.



    Personally I think the board (or is it bored) have jumped in to soon on this one, look at the stick wenger got for the last few seasons

  17. William Hill Scottish Cup Fifth Round


    Saturday, 8th February 2014


    Celtic v Aberdeen


    Kick-off 12.45pm (Sky Sports)

  18. AVB Allways had his players train to music. His favourite number being a retro version of Bluebell Polka.

  19. Soukous.



    Yes, and just following the Fifer’s brief and controversial stint with the Buena Vista Social Club…………



    (Who could forget that overlooked melodeon gem “The Northern Lights of The Malecon” ?)




  20. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Former AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is being investigated for match-fixing, Associated Press reports.



    Four other people have been detained in connection with the alleged fixing of matches in Serie A three seasons ago.



    Ex-Rangers star Gattuso, 35, is retired and was sacked by Serie B side Palermo after just six league games as manager.



    He won two Serie A titles and two Champions League crowns during his 13-year spell with Milan and also the 2006 World Cup with Italy in Germany.



    Gattuso took charge of Palermo in the summer after being sacked by Swiss side Sion but won just two games and has been replaced by Giuseppe Iachini.



    Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino told AP that Gattuso and retired Milan and Lazio player Cristian Brocchi were allegedly part of a group that fixed Serie A and other matches at the end of the 2010-11 season.



    A wide-ranging criminal and sporting probe into illegal betting and match fixing in Italy has already led to several arrests and bans.



    Juventus manager Antonio Conte was suspended for 10 months for not reporting match fixing when he was in charge of Siena, then in Serie B, in the 2010-11 season.



    Former Lazio captains Giuseppe Signori and Stefano Mauri, as well as ex-Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni also served bans with several clubs having points deducted.



    -from i Shortbread

  21. Battered Bunnet, careful now.



    EmeraldBee, aye, I confess that worried me.



    JohnnyClash, nice to stretch the legs occasionally.



    time for change, ha!

  22. Well said Paul.


    Obviously written with matters closer to home in mind.




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