News is really thin on the ground this morning, in the main, because international week saps the juice out of everyone in football. Journo’s are busy writing the same story across all the papers, and the transfer train has juddered to an early 3 month halt.
So what do we have to go on this morning?
“We won’t win on the back of a wealthy benefactor reaching into his pocket and solving the problem that way.
Tom Fox… a bit of a mystery man. Just out there pulling in deals behind the scenes. You’ve got to hand it to him as well. He’s managed to sell some of the most expensive deals in the world without a product. Like Arsene Wenger sold Ozil a project, Tom Fox has performed the same miracle, but with smarter people in the room.
We don’t have any right to bigger shirt deals than Madrid. We have one though. We don’t have the right to a £35m a year kit deal. But that’s what we’ve landed. Maybe the German kit maker Puma have something to do with our taste in Bavarian players?
Anyway, point is this… Tom is pulling his weight. I know a few people who have spoken to him over the summer, and he was as bang up for signings as us. So all good there.
These were his comments in the paper about success.
“We believe, and I think our fans believe, that success earned in the way that we’re going about it, in a very difficult landscape and a very challenging business, is the sweeter victory.
Now, I’m not sure I’m quite buying into this. Success would be sweet if Danny Fiszman still had the club in his control. I don’t take much sweetness out of Kroenke buying up the club as one of the richest men on the planet and not really managing it or showing much of an interest, but still making a shedload in asset appreciation. We mustn’t lose track of the simple facts here… not investing simply protects Stan’s investment.
Stan not putting a penny into the club hasn’t enriched my joy over the past 8 years. For me, the whole benefactor thing is a bit redundant nowadays anyway. United have done it the normal way for years. When they were spunking all the cash, people still dug them out regardless. I’d have preferred it if Stan supported us whilst we were struggling. He’s been a bit like the mate who won’t pay the taxi fare for everyone after a night out because they’re all skint… despite having $2billion sitting in his bank account. Cheers Stan…
Success will be sweet because it’s been so long in the making.
“We don’t exist for commercial purposes, we exist as a football club, to play football matches, to win and to make our fans feel proud.”
Hey, the above point is the one I’ve been banging home all summer to much abuse. We don’t exist for commercial purposes. A football club really doesn’t benefit from having £100m sitting in the bank account. Spend your profits or lose them to tax is the jist of most businesses. This ‘spend what we have’ thing won’t have been a ’2013′ thing either… we’ve had surplus cash to spend for years, we’ve just abstained.
The club and its executives are handsomely paid. They’ll want to be part of a successful entity. Especially coming from an American business background. Hopefully the success of Ozil will encourage Wenger that spending big is the new ‘spending f*ck all’. Hopefully fans will see that spending big on big players is the fast track route to success. I must say, I’m shocked at how quickly fans who binned off any notion of spending big are now well and truly on the ‘spunk it all’ gravy train. It’s good to see…
I think the next shift in mindset needs to happen with the kids. Instead of buying up teenagers, we should focus on slightly older guys. Get them in their early twenties as best in class players. So, I’m thinking, guys like Hazard. ‘Now’ players we could nab? Lars Bender, Gundogan, Paul Pogba, El Sharaawy, Luis Muriel, Luis Muriel, Iker Muniain and Draxler… (all crowd sourced from Twitter).
Why players of that age?
… because of Billy ‘Stan’s hero’ Beane. And even Geoff. Plus, just using basic logic.
King Billy, of whom Stan has a big stonking amount of love for, said during the drafts he used to punch the air when the big teams would pick the high school stars. He knew what we all know now after reading Young Guns for all those years… being a good teenager means precisely bugger all. Anyone can be a great teenager, not anyone can be a great adult. The path to success is not a linear one. Which is where we go wrong. We sign 50 kids and one makes it. If you signed 50 20 year olds who were best in class, you’d be bankrupt, but at least 35 of them would be pretty good. 5 world class. 10 would be crap.
This is where we go wrong with keepers as well. They’re a little older when they come good. You can pick them up at 21 as best in class, but there’s still a big chance they’ll tank. Pick keepers up at 26 as best in class and you’ve got a major chance they’ll always be good. Instead of mincing around with second division keepers, go for the best you can get. Keepers are always undervalued. They’re most important squad member for stability yet how many keepers have changed hands for more than £20m? A player that can save you 9 points a season. A player who could feasibly play all your games for 5 years straight. Yet no one pays a decent price for them? Bar Juventus and United. Buffon worked out well eh? De Gea is getting there…
Wenger fretting over £15m seems counter to the idea of value. If he works out well, he’s a ten year investment (Begovic). Think of the time you don’t waste going ‘for Eboue’s sake… did he really just do that?’… you’ve made a ten year decision you never have to worry about. Nearly all managers do it though… it’s the least of their worries. Maybe because there don’t seem to be many good keepers about. Maybe because they’re more interested in the glamour positions. Who knows. All I’m aware of is Wenger doesn’t invest in the number one jersey and doesn’t invest in the training they get.
… and it shows.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. Tomorrow we talk NFL.