Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Premier League Managers as Oliver

"More you want more!" Will be the cry from Premier League boardrooms as  managers inform the owners that in order to make a serious challenge for the Title, Champions League spot, Europa League qualification, survive in the division, keep up with fierce local rivals or match his own ambition they need to invest in new players during the summer.

The owner will point to the countless millions already invested in various players some of whom spent the season on loan with Dynamo Unpronounceable with the club paying most of the wages. They will point out that in the real world there is a recession they will say that the banks are extremely reluctant to lend, attendances are down, they will plead they have families to feed and bills to pay.The manager will just look a little forlorn and say pitifully "yes I know but if only we could sign Carlos Kickaball from Athletico Paella for £10m it will transform our prospects".

The sane will just say no, or sell before you buy, this what the club can afford and no more and mean it. However there will  be those in spite of all the evidence to the contrary will buy the dream get the cheque book out and away we go for more football transfer madness.  

This summer QPR will back Hughes, Sunderland will be O'Neilled* Liverpool will have one last throw of the dice to get back in the Champions League. Chelsea's new manager will be given money to overhaul an ageing and increasingly fractious squad, the monster that is Man City will buy yet more expensive talent in pursuit of world domination and Man United will invest tens of millions to wrest the title back from City.

Amongst all the ballyhoo West Bromwich Albion will get on with their business in a quiet but effective manner. Firstly there will no marque signings i.e. a signing that announces to world we are here. It is not our style and for the most part marque signings are about the owners ego rather than a rational approach to team building. Secondly we will squeeze every ounce of value out of all our transactions, deals will not get done quickly and if deal does not get done at the right price it will not get done at all. Finally all our signings will be have been thoroughly scouted and not bought purely on the basis of one man's judgement.

Of course none of the Albion's measured approach to transfer business is a guarantee of success some signings will work better than others however the key is not to make the big expensive mistakes on the scale of Nicola Zigic or Roger Johnson. Many fans crave the big headline grabbing transfer coup and make the mistake of equating the fee paid for a player is a indication of the player's quality.Yes there is a correlation but it is not as strong as one would imagine the history of football is littered with expensive failures and inexpensive successes.

I look forward to the transfer window and the signing that a premier league team will make that will have fans and pundits scratching their heads and saying "£20 million for Jordan Henderson? Really oh well it's Kenny Dalglish so he must know what he is doing". I know that it will not be one of the Baggies deals unless we are the selling club and that is no bad thing. Let the madness commence.

*Being O'Neilled take a mid-table club like Aston Villa with a wealthy owner appoint an ambitious if somewhat overrated coach spend a lot of money on fees and wages play turgid football achieve 6th place in the premier league spend more of the owners money the following year to push for the holy grail of English football, champions league qualification achieve 6th again repeat until the money and or the owner's patience runs out  .

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