The Business Of Football: Why Platini Is Clueless
The negativity surrounding Manchester City in the media has been lead by outspoken and controversial football figure Michel Platini, who has questioned the financial implications of Manchester City`s spending over the last year with increased vitriol.
The words 'ruining football` have resounded around Eastlands like a flock of parrots in a cave, a never-ending chorus of bitterness for a football club showing the slightest signs of ambition.
It is not to say that Manchester City have not helped their cause with the 'Manchester City All-Stars` dream-team being bandied about after the ADUG takeover, led by the quickly disposed Al-Fahim- who to be comparable to a spoilt child in a sweet shop is being extremely generous.
However, the monopoly of the 'big 4` must be broken somehow and although excessive spending is thoroughly condemned, is their any other way?
Why Platini`s model simply doesn`t work.
Platini thinks there is another way, famously stating: 'City can have a young player from Manchester who comes to their training centre and becomes Kaká. They don't have to buy someone for €150 million because they have their academy.`
It is that easy, what fools we have all been- local Manchester lad goes in, Kaká comes out…
Someone seems to be forgetting that we already have a successful youth set-up and while it has seen the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland and Micah Richards graduate- No-one can claim that we have created a Kaká or that every player in the academy will be a huge success.
Moreover, if we really want to dismantle Platini`s plans, what happened with our biggest prospect Shaun Wright-Phillips? That`s right, he was snapped up by one of the 'big 4`. How can this possibly be a sustainable business model when successful clubs buy all the best players from the lesser clubs who in turn, have to sell because they need the money?
Business models in football.
To realise the extent of Platini`s failure to grasp the realities of football, here is an example of the two main business models in football; one based on earning money through success, and the other based on earning money through transfer fees.
Manchester United is the epitome of the first business model, earning their crust through their success on the pitch. Success builds a huge fan base and revenue through ticket sales dwarf lesser clubs (no doubt made easier by the ability to own a huge stadium).
Other sources of income flow in through television revenue, huge sponsorship deals and selling millions of shirts to South-East Asia and all over the world.
To maintain their success, they have to purchase players from less successful clubs to keep them at the top.
A club like Wigan for example fits into the second business model. They have little success so they rely on making money by purchasing or nurturing young talent such as Wilson Palacios and Antonio Valencia, and then selling them on for a good profit to a bigger club like United.
By doing this, the club hopes to raise enough money to purchase a number of other hot-prospects in the hope that they will propel them up the league, before selling those players on to fund a new batch of hot-prospects to propel them even further.
Ultimately the club is trying to achieve success, and by doing so, transitioning to the first business model.
While this business model works on some levels, it is tantamount to treading water as the clubs using the first business model swim further and further away.
It should also be noted that Platini has also failed to realise that the smaller clubs like Wigan are in fact doing exactly what United are doing, but to teams in foreign and lesser leagues.
Where does City fit into all of this?
With the money of a successful club and the hot-prospects of a lesser club, City should be able to keep hold of these players rather than selling them. This however, is not enough to transition into a successful club.
In order to be successful, we need to do what successful clubs do- we need to buy good players from other teams, because sadly, our academy simply will not produce the team full of Shaun Wright-Phillips`, Stephen Ireland`s or as Platini thinks - Kaká`s that we need.
We are already years behind the successful monopoly of the 'big 4` and cannot offer players the same opportunities at this time, therefore, we have to offer something else- and what we have to offer is: money.
While the media and Platini may criticize us for spending big money, Manchester City has the very real ambition of being successful and if we want to transition from a selling club into a successful club, we have to be a buying club.