Do the owners of soccer clubs know what they are doing?
Owners can spend too much money. Yes, that is correct, you can spend too much money. They end up buying problems and not building a base/foundation at the club. Think about it, when you go to a restaurant do you need to buy four plates of food? Perhaps one and then three appetizers. What ends up happening is players talent is wasted. As a result of this you have disgruntled players which creates for a bad atmosphere within the locker room and lack of performance on the pitch.
When new owners take over a club they often don’t understand the history and more importantly traditions of the club – and if they do they often don’t care. Take Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bn Zayed Al Nahyan. Al Nahyan has spent millions and millions of dollars buying up talent all across the EPL for his new club. This is a strange business model to follow because there is no structure and base within the club. As a player myself, players need to know what the structure is, who their teammates are for the long haul, and understand their role. If players are coming and going then the results won’t happen. Perhaps you will win some games but you won’t build a solid future for the club.
Another example regarding owners not knowing what they are doing is FC Chelsea recently having sacked assistant coach Ray Wilkins. Wilkins is a former Chelsea and England player. He has Chelsea in his blood through and through. This is a very important point because he is a symbol and part of the foundation of the club. The sacking of Wilkins did not go over well with the Chelsea faithful and there is obviously more going on behind the scenes than the club is letting on since Chelsea have only won one of their last six games. And besides, since when is the assistant a problem or to blame?
Every club goes through their problems but it is important to establish a foundation, values and eventually tradition at the club. The club needs to be based on something in order to move forward. If there is no base then what happens (and we are seeing this with the Chelsea and Manchester City) is that the club itself becomes overshadowed by issues that are not about the most important thing…the game itself. Attitude and egos become a bigger problem than ever before and players become more concerned with their pay cheque than the one game a week they are required to play.
What I hope to see, is a stronger emphasis on developing players through the youth programs at each club. It is far more exciting to watch a player who is truly passionate about the club he plays for than for some over price player to wear the shirt for a season before getting shipped out to another club. Just ask Barcelona and their youth system. They trained and developed three of the world’s top players: Iniesta, Xavi and Messi. The entire roster does not need to come through the club ranks but it would be better to see a greater number of players come through.
As for foreign owners buying up clubs and treating them like a game of chess, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Hopefully they don’t destroy these clubs. Unfortunately, in some people’s eyes this has already happened.