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Football: The odds are not even


polishgenius
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1 hour ago, Whiskeyjack said:

Feel like this is also a skewed way of looking at things.  When you tie a spending limit to revenue, its a pretty massive advantage for the teams with the highest revenue.  Kind of convenient for clubs like United (and all of the other top clubs), because it stacks the deck in their favor and helps to keep them on top.

There's really no other way to enforce financial sustainability other than tying spending to revenue. You touch on this in the rest of your post. Even back in the days when gate receipts were a clubs primary source of income, the clubs located in major cities had the advantage. The entire system was never designed with parity in mind in the first place. The only way to really level out the playing field is to implement an NFL-style system but that's never happening in football. There'd be legal challenges galore and it'd be practically impossible to implement anyway.

Edited by Consigliere
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6 minutes ago, Consigliere said:

There's really no other way to enforce financial sustainability other than tying spending to revenue. You touch on this in the rest of your post. Even back in the days when gate receipts were a clubs primary source of income, the clubs located in major cities had the advantage. The entire system was never designed with parity in mind in the first place. The only way to really level out the playing field is to implement an NFL-style system but that's never happening in football. There'd be legal challenges galore.

I can understand why financial sustainability is important.  And get what you're saying from a historical perspective.  But I guess where I get confused is - why is that relevant to a conversation that seems focused on issues of fairness and having a level playing field?

You're saying parity was never the goal, but at the same time we have tons of posts here with people complaining that the way City operate isn't fair.  And I totally agree with those posts.  Just not sure I understand how somebody can be upset about them operating in an unfair way, but then be okay with the inherent advantages available to a club like United.

Put another way - the benchmark of 'financial sustainability' seems out of place in a conversation about a level playing field.  Yeah, it is an admirable goal for the health of a specific club and for the league as a whole.  But it doesn't really speak to the issue of fairness.  And while what City is doing is definitely worse than what you see from other large clubs, its still kind of hypocritical to say what they do is unfair while at the same time being okay with an inequitable system that hugely favors certain teams.

I mean, don't get me wrong.  I complain about City all the time.  Its ridiculous that they basically have two full teams of star-caliber players.  And at the same time, I'm happy that Arsenal can (hopefully) afford to spend a bunch of money this summer in an attempt to compete.  I'm content to hate City and also roll with whatever Arsenal does, and not think too much about it beyond that.  But in the back of my mind, have to at least acknowledge that the way its set up is inequitable and that even if City is somehow forced to comply with the rules in the future, its still going to be a system with a small group of tier 1 teams that have a significant advantage, and then a bunch of teams that will rarely be able to compete at the same level as that tier 1 group.  And have to acknowledge that if I'm okay with that system while also criticizing City, then I'm probably being a hypocrite. 

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I wish I could say buying Rice for 100m is a thing that makes me content. It has nothing to do with the quality of the player, even though I've been a bit cool on Rice, but more to do with the fact that we are spending so much money on someone and it just leaves me a bit disillusioned at the increasingly astronomical amount of money being spent ( we spent big on Pepe, ofc and even then it felt a bit..not great)

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48 minutes ago, Whiskeyjack said:

I can understand why financial sustainability is important.  And get what you're saying from a historical perspective.  But I guess where I get confused is - why is that relevant to a conversation that seems focused on issues of fairness and having a level playing field?

You're saying parity was never the goal, but at the same time we have tons of posts here with people complaining that the way City operate isn't fair.  And I totally agree with those posts.  Just not sure I understand how somebody can be upset about them operating in an unfair way, but then be okay with the inherent advantages available to a club like United.

Put another way - the benchmark of 'financial sustainability' seems out of place in a conversation about a level playing field.  Yeah, it is an admirable goal for the health of a specific club and for the league as a whole.  But it doesn't really speak to the issue of fairness.  And while what City is doing is definitely worse than what you see from other large clubs, its still kind of hypocritical to say what they do is unfair while at the same time being okay with an inequitable system that hugely favors certain teams.

Yes, the entire football system was never designed with parity in mind so you've always had some clubs making more money than others and being able to attract better players.

The way City and PSG operate is totally unfair and it's not hypocrisy to point that out. Being able to conjure up bullshit sponsors operating out of mailboxes or sponsors affiliated to your nation state owners paying inflated amounts to boost revenue is straight up cheating.

That is not at all comparable to clubs like United or Liverpool or Arsenal. Those clubs operated within their means with income that was legitimately earned. Having more money by being the most popular clubs in the country and thus larger fanbases is not comparable to cheating.

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2 minutes ago, Consigliere said:

Yes, the entire football system was never designed with parity in mind so you've always had some clubs making more money than others and being able to attract better players.

The way City and PSG operate is totally unfair and it's not hypocrisy to point that out. Being able to conjure up bullshit sponsors operating out of mailboxes or sponsors affiliated to your nation state owners paying inflated amounts to boost revenue is straight up cheating.

That is not at all comparable to clubs like United or Liverpool or Arsenal. Those clubs operated within their means with income that was legitimately earned. Having more money by being the most popular clubs in the country and thus larger fanbases is not comparable to cheating.

Yeah, like I said, I agree that what City is doing is unfair in comparison to every other Premier League team, and is against the rules.

Being against the rules is definitely a fair point of differentiation between them and the other big clubs.  Can grant that.

But you're just burying your head in the sand if you stop there and try to pretend that the rest of the system is fair.  Saying "thats the way its always been" and "the system was not designed for parity" is just looking for convenient excuses.

If you're going to talk about fairness, then at least be honest and admit that the entire system is pretty horrible in that regard.  There's nothing fair about saying a team should be limited in accordance with their revenue, when we're in a world where there's such a massive difference between a club like United and a club like Bournemouth, as an example.

I guess I just find it genuinely strange that people can get so upset about City while at the same time shrugging at the disparity between the top and bottom of the league and earnestly saying "they can't compete? too bad for them."

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1 hour ago, Whiskeyjack said:

But you're just burying your head in the sand if you stop there and try to pretend that the rest of the system is fair.  Saying "thats the way its always been" and "the system was not designed for parity" is just looking for convenient excuses.

If you're going to talk about fairness, then at least be honest and admit that the entire system is pretty horrible in that regard.  There's nothing fair about saying a team should be limited in accordance with their revenue, when we're in a world where there's such a massive difference between a club like United and a club like Bournemouth, as an example.

I'm not burying my head in the sand. I straight up acknowledged in my first post on this topic that the playing field is not level and never was. You yourself admitted that it would be impossible to actually change the system. The crux of the problem, as you've previously mentioned, is the way football is structured.

The only way I see to get the kind of parity that seems to be wished for is to completely rip up the current structure i.e. scrap the current transfer system and implement a wage cap - basically an NFL-style setup. The draft system and hard wage cap goes a long way to ensuring parity within the NFL.

So long as the current transfer system is in place and no hard wage cap then the wealthier clubs will always have an advantage. I just don't see how a draft system could be implemented in football though even in a single league. There'd very likely be a great deal of pushback and legal challenges from clubs, players and agents.

 

Quote

I guess I just find it genuinely strange that people can get so upset about City while at the same time shrugging at the disparity between the top and bottom of the league and earnestly saying "they can't compete? too bad for them."

I don't find it strange at all that people might get upset about blatant cheating.

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2 minutes ago, Consigliere said:

The only way I see to get the kind of parity that seems to be wished for is to completely rip up the current structure i.e. scrap the current transfer system and implement a wage cap - basically an NFL-style setup. The draft system and hard wage cap goes a long way to ensuring parity within the NFL.

 

Which means no more relegation/promotion. Talking about closed shop, eh.

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6 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

Yeah, but it's the only part that bears resemblance to anything anyone said in this topic. :dunno:


Nope -
 

11 hours ago, Consigliere said:

However, it's silly to just brush off the unfairness of clubs like City, PSG and Chelsea under Abramovich. Criticising them is not hypocrisy. The difference between clubs like United, Liverpool, Arsenal etc. vs City, Chelsea and PSG is that the former group operated within their means and had to work for their sponsorship money rather than have it handed to them on a silver platter.

Whereas clubs like Chelsea under Abramovich, City and PSG had operated for years under some of the biggest losses in football history, were paying out more in wages than the clubs generated in gross revenue (PSG still does this) while still throwing big money at transfer and agent fees. The likes of United, Liverpool, Arsenal etc would've gone bankrupt had they operated in the same manner. City and PSG are also being propped up by bullshit related-party sponsorships which they never had to actually earn and hiding the true cost of their expenses by making use of their state run parent companies i.e. City Football Group and QSI.

 

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2 hours ago, The Sunland Lord said:

What's the issue with the post you quoted? He's 100% right.

1) Polishgenius implied that nobody had posted that they were upset about City while at the same time shrugging off the disparity between the top and bottom of the league.  I quoted that post to show where Consigliere had done that.

2) I already talked about it in my posts from earlier today.  But basically -

  • Yeah, what City is doing is bad and gives them an unfair advantage.  They are worse than everyone else.  I agree with that.
     
  • However, the reality of the Premier League is that they aren't the only ones.  A small group of clubs have an unfair advantage.  Maybe they're less extreme than what you see at City.  And yeah, they're less shady, don't break the rules, etc.  But an advantage does exist for those few teams.
     
  • Saying that your spending limit should be tied to your revenue creates a system that gives a never-ending, self-perpetuating inherent advantage to the most popular and most successful teams.  The rich get richer, the elite stay in power.  My initial response was prompted by seeing a Manchester United fan suggest that their advantage over most of the other clubs is okay because they spend within their means, without a hint of recognition that the deck is stacked in their favor. 
     
  • I'm not really objecting to the system.  I said in one of my earlier posts that I can't really see a way to change it.  And I love the promotion/relegation structure.  All I'm saying is that you can complain all you want about City (and I will too!), but at least have the self-awareness to admit that compared to everyone other than City, your club has an advantage, and the rules that you're okay using (spending tied to revenue) are pretty convenient with regard to how much they favor your club.  And I don't think "its always been that way" and "parity was never a goal when they setup the league" are very effective ways of deflecting away from that truth.
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17 hours ago, Consigliere said:

I am aware. You are aware that in the first few years of state ownership, City were operating on eye-watering losses, paying out more in wages than the club was generating in gross revenue while continuing to spend heavily on transfer and agent fees. United never did that; they spent within their means, did not have to rely on fake sponsorships and doesn't have 115 charges of FFP breaches against them.

Yeah, United spent within their means. That's why they are hundreds of millions of pounds in debt.

17 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Such as? 

How would this mythical structure have worked wrt Newcastle? How could fans have influenced that takeover? 

It's not up to Newcastle fans to influence that takeover. They are loving it at the moment, having the Champions League to look forward to next season. Just like City fans are loving it at the moment, with their team winning a treble.

The rest of the clubs (through the League and that "fit and proper owner" bullshit) should've either put a stop to those takeovers or made stricter regulations and enforced them.

16 hours ago, Raja said:

You called complaning about it 'hypocrisy' - hypocrisy by whom? By us?

Yes, by us. Every single time we are rooting for our club to spend 100M on a player while giving City shit about doing the same, we are being hypocrites.

That doesn't mean that what City is doing is right, but we do fail to acknowledge that our clubs are also at a massive advantage over most clubs in the league and the world. Let's be honest here, if we're talking about PL clubs, the only ones rooting for underdogs are BFC (up until recently, that is) and Rorschach. The rest of us have "picked" well established, rich clubs who may or may not have hit a rough patch or two in our time.

14 hours ago, Whiskeyjack said:

Put another way - the benchmark of 'financial sustainability' seems out of place in a conversation about a level playing field.  Yeah, it is an admirable goal for the health of a specific club and for the league as a whole.  But it doesn't really speak to the issue of fairness.  And while what City is doing is definitely worse than what you see from other large clubs, its still kind of hypocritical to say what they do is unfair while at the same time being okay with an inequitable system that hugely favors certain teams.

I mean, don't get me wrong.  I complain about City all the time.  Its ridiculous that they basically have two full teams of star-caliber players.  And at the same time, I'm happy that Arsenal can (hopefully) afford to spend a bunch of money this summer in an attempt to compete.  I'm content to hate City and also roll with whatever Arsenal does, and not think too much about it beyond that.  But in the back of my mind, have to at least acknowledge that the way its set up is inequitable and that even if City is somehow forced to comply with the rules in the future, its still going to be a system with a small group of tier 1 teams that have a significant advantage, and then a bunch of teams that will rarely be able to compete at the same level as that tier 1 group.  And have to acknowledge that if I'm okay with that system while also criticizing City, then I'm probably being a hypocrite. 

Financial sustainability is a way of keeping big clubs at the top and the rest at arms length. That's it.

United, Liverpool and Arsenal have the biggest fanbase, are most recognisable and popular, their revenue is above the rest so they can basically run the league as they see fit. Sure, it seems fair.

Or at least they could do that, if only such upstarts as Abramovich and Sheikh whatever hadn't come along, bought clubs of their own and invested heavily in them in order to disrupt the existing order of things.

Not saying that clubs should be allowed to spend so much, there does need to be regulation, but let's not pretend that the rest of the clubs' success was without an unfair advantage over the rest.

12 hours ago, Whiskeyjack said:

I guess I just find it genuinely strange that people can get so upset about City while at the same time shrugging at the disparity between the top and bottom of the league and earnestly saying "they can't compete? too bad for them."

You know that joke that everyone driving slower than you is an idiot and everyone driving faster than you is a maniac?

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Glazers became majority shareholders of United in May 2005 (owned 98% of the club by June 2005). It seems fair to say that most of the current debt comes from elsewhere.

Edited by baxus
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7 minutes ago, baxus said:

Yeah, United spent within their means. That's why they are hundreds of millions of pounds in debt.

They do spent within their means.

Almost every club will have transfer debt and bank borrowings.

The majority of United's debt (around £535m) is from the leveraged buyout.

United live within their means because the club is able to cover expenses with legitimately earned revenue and doesn't need to resort to fake sponsors operating out of London mailboxes.

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It seems unlikely to me that someone gave Glazers around 790M£ to buy United (that's the number I found, correct me if I'm wrong) and 18 years later they still owe 500M£ on that. I'm not a finance expert by any stretch of the imagination but that seems like pretty poor business.

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Btw, both of you are still to address the fact that United (and Liverpool and Arsenal) are in a privileged position compared to most of the league.

Even if we are to say that they are spending within their means, the way they came to the position where their income is sufficient to justify their spending. They used to buy best players, and got to that point by some owners investing money in the past the way these unwanted owners are investing in their own clubs today. It's not as if their success in the past was brought on by kids who grew up within walking distance from their stadiums.

Don't let the whole "won the treble with academy players" fool you, that team was filled with more or less expensive signings.

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22 minutes ago, baxus said:

It seems unlikely to me that someone gave Glazers around 790M£ to buy United (that's the number I found, correct me if I'm wrong) and 18 years later they still owe 500M£ on that. I'm not a finance expert by any stretch of the imagination but that seems like pretty poor business.

 

It was about 800mil in total, of which 500mil was the loan that became the debt. It's terrible business for United, but it's been great business for the debtholders, who long ago surpassed what they loaned in interest received - about 750mil in total and currently averaging about 20mil a year. Article here, though paywalled. 

 

27 minutes ago, baxus said:

Btw, both of you are still to address the fact that United (and Liverpool and Arsenal) are in a privileged position compared to most of the league.


I mean, yeah, because it's not relevant to the discussion? We started off talking about whether Pep would have been as successful if City played by the rules. Quite why that's become a demand that United fans acknowledge that we're in a good position compared to others I don't know - of course we are. But if you want to frame that argument on the terms the argument originally started - people protesting that City's cheating has anything to do with Pep's overwhelming the league- then I regularly call Sean Dyche one of the top managers in the league and generally grade achievement on a curve when I'm talking about things like that, so what else am I meant to say? I'm not being inconsistent here. 

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