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Monday, March 05, 2012

In defence of very rich men who own football clubs

The firing of Andre Villas-Boas coincides with the QPR behind the scenes documentary "The Four Year Plan". If it's your view that the owners of football clubs are overgrown trigger-happy boys who shouldn't be in charge of a sweet shop today is the perfect day to voice it.

I disagree. I don't think the likes of Flavio Briatore and Roman Abramovich or any of these people are fools. I think they may have some courtiers who are scoundrels and they all have fans who are quite happy to see insane sums of money spent on players' wages but I don't think they're stupid. The only lever they have on the business is the hiring and more often the firing of the manager and they have to do it sooner because if they're going to do it later it'll probably be too late.

The contrary view is that the clubs who have stuck with their managers, Manchester United and Arsenal, have prospered as a consequence. I think this is a fundamental misreading. Those clubs have stuck with their managers because, through some combination of good judgement, good luck and sheer effrontery, they have done well more than they have done badly. They've been retained because they've done well. They haven't done well because they've been retained.