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Don J Demorr

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  1. So sorry, @JonnyJonnyRowe if I have misquoted you. You are right, you quoted @Number 9 and I failed to notice that. Normally I agree with what you say. I am deeply moved by Mr Gibson's troubles. It is most unfair that he is treated so badly. My apologies again. Don
  2. Yes we do, or at least some of us do, Jonny. He is a loving husband He is a loving father He is responsible for a scrap of helpless human life in trouble He is a professional footballer Arrange those in whatever order you see fit. I see a good man in extremis. My best, Don
  3. "The purpose of an HR department is to protect the company from its employees." True, dat. Don
  4. As usual, I’m afraid this is quite a long posting and probably for some of you much of it will be a statement of the bleedin’ obvious. We know that the owners of NCFC aim for the club to be self-financing. Knowing nothing about either professional football or NCFC, At first I thought nothing of this, since in my ancient experience many businesses are exactly that, and for the most part successfully. The more I read in these hallowed pages and the more I think about it, the more I realise that Football is Different (Chapeau to @BigFish again). My conclusion is that with this policy a club might survive but it can’t be successful except in the short term by a piece of luck or alignment of the stars. Much of industry and commerce is about selling products or services. In all cases (that I can think of, anyway) both these are sold at a profit in competition with others who are in the same line of business. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that as I have written before the most successful professional football teams are the ones who garner the most points. These teams are most likely (IMHO) to have a cohort of players in the prime of their physical development who have been coached into learning extraordinary skills that can be delivered without thinking, who can recognise, maybe unconsciously, @Parma Ham's gone mouldy's subtle patterns of attack and defence and react accordingly - the best being able to do this in anticipation of events. Then they must be trained to act together and to be highly motivated in favour of their team. Such players as these can only be recruited in two ways. Either the club finds and develops naturally talented players, or it buys them. A self-funding club is almost by definition going to be routinely short of money. It is very unlikely to be able to buy many players to fit straight into the prime team. Anybody who can be bought in is going to be either a naturally talented but callow youth who needs training and development or a once-accomplished player who is towards the end of their physical best and not highly desired by other clubs. It would appear that for the policy to work at its best, NCFC must find and develop the finest young people to form a competitive team. At the highest level these will be few and far between, but they will exist. Then the problems start. In normal business you sell your product to a second party in competition with others. However, in order to be self-financing a club like NCFC must sell its best embryonic products at fire-sale prices TO THE COMPETITION. This is the policy of the madhouse. Further, the products are not widgets, they are ambitious young people who see their counterparts leaving their yellow Aventador in a blue space and want some of that please, Agent. Spot the destructive motivation for all parties? The only way is down. How can this policy ever be imagined to be the one to achieve the aim of garnering the most points possible to claw the club up the slippery slope? Don’t ask me, I’m only a (long-retired) Management Consultant. It could, of course be wishful thinking on the part of owners who haven’t got the wherewithal to adopt a different strategy. If only it would work, eh? So money is the problem in professional football then? Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. Money talks but of itself money has no agenda. Money talks in the voice of the people who have it and how they use it. Here, maybe we need to look at a picture wider than NCFC. In what sadly now has to pass for a career I was twice assigned by my company to start a new operation in a new country. In each case I was warned that the country was corrupt and that I should be wary. Twice, instead of hiding in the expat bubble of a hotel, I deliberately chose to rent an apartment, sought friends amongst the people and tried to find out what made things tick. In both countries I found the same thing. Their society is not a degenerate form of ours, it simply works in a completely different and arguably valid way. What we consider to be corruption in their society is the normal way things have always worked and probably always will. Everybody does it, all the time. It is not seen as morally wrong, whatever that may mean outside our ethical reference frame. Our “ethical” norms are often seen as weaknesses to be exploited. Many of them are admirable people and I have made some good and personally honourable friends. It is no good going there and thinking that our ethical rules apply. They don’t. Some of these folk manage to become stinking rich. What, then, if a few of them decided to have a bit of fun by buying their way into the sphere of Western sports? Does anybody seriously think that they would change their successful business model or their ethical mores? Naive, or what? How fortunate we are, then, that all our sports; Football, Rugby, Cricket, Athletics, Swimming, Boxing, Formula 1, Golf, Horse Racing, Snooker, Bowls, Chess, Darts, Netball, Tiddlywinks, Rounders, Lacrosse, Cribbage, Hoopla, Shove Ha’penny, Hopscotch and Dominoes are protected from possible unethical contamination by their incorruptible, wise, far sighted, energetic and diligent supervisory bodies. Otherwise, funny things might happen and apparently they don’t, or so they tell me. But then I don’t follow any sport, so how could I be sure? With this possible calamity in mind surely your NCFC owners would be well advised to find a proven ethically sound financial partner from our own society like, say, the USA. Such a person would undoubtedly be welcomed and quickly approved. Of course they would. Obvious, really.isn't it? Then all they have to do is to get off the pot and rest in glory. Patience, patience. All my best for 2024, Don
  5. I just love this. Think back to the half-baked word salad from the Board that @sheffcanarydug out of their Report from the AGM of 2022. @BigFish has brilliantly distilled all the relevant discussion on this thread into just two short and punchy sentences which seem to me to encapsulate all the meaning and ethos of NCFC. All that is needed to turn this into a powerful and resounding Raison d’être is some wordsmithing from a professional, of whom we have so many here! @BigFish casts his precis from the viewpoint of the fans, so all that is needed is to translate that into declared club intentions. Customer and provider. If this can be done I am absolutely certain that it would tell me, as an interested outsider, all I need to know and all I would ever need to know about NCFC as a proud representative of a fine city. I think that Mark Attanasio would be delighted with it and be more than happy to fix it to his masthead. Think also how this would look to a youngster who might be considering an offer to this club rather than another. Motivation, or what? Great stuff, y’all! My best ones, Don
  6. Well, Morph, I'm a bit flattered to be asked this question but apart from the fact that my little old brain can only cope with one simple task at a time, I know little or nothing about football, and as we all know football is different, so I am not competent to answer your question. You have (I think correctly) three excellent candidates - Perhaps they would like to respond. I hope they do. Like you I would be very interested to know. Oh, and by the way, a so-called Management Consultant will never answer a question. We deal in process, not advice. Our task is to ask the right question of the right people at the right time. Then they unearth the answers for themselves. As we have just seen. Best, Don
  7. Absolutely agree, superb observation @BigFish. Sometimes a simple question causes a complex and puzzling analysis but if you persist and are diligent you arrive at a new simplicity. In the jargon this is that simplicity which lies on the far side of complexity. Is that where we are? I think maybe so, but you all know better than I do. Happy to be of service, Robert.😇 Thank you all, good stuff everybody. Enjoyed it. Best to all, Don
  8. Sir, (or should it be Sire?) That is not at all what I am referring to and it would be absurd for the Board to do that. Don
  9. I suppose I should get used to this but yet again an artfully simple question originating from @Parma Ham's gone mouldyknowing full well that the answer is not going to be a one-liner, So, here we go: - (Warning - this might get a bit metaphysical) 1. A good corporation provides what the customer wants. After following this Forum for about two years I have no more idea about what the NCFC fan base wants than when I started. The voice of the customer is a cacophony, a shapeless howl. How that would shape the overriding objective is beyond me. 2. An excellent corporation provides what the customer needs If the wants problem is a puzzle the needs conundrum is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. The customer might not know what the needs are. Needs are deeper than wants and are closer to the soul. The needs of a football crowd are hidden in it’s psyche. Is there a Football Psychologist in the House? Frankly, not ever having been a follower of the game, I have no idea. Maybe we should forget about the customers and think about the overriding objective with respect to the organisation itself. These are of course prescribed by Law but the law says nothing about behaviour, nor about the problem of psychological needs of any of the Directors themselves. Whenever this is discussed the usual reference is to the seminal work “The Hierarchy of Needs” by Abraham Maslow. This relates to the behavioural motivation of living organisms but maybe it is not too much of a stretch to extend this to a corporation. Maslow would say that the most fundamental need is to survive. This does not sit well with a policy of “Self Financing” unless there is the provision of a ready safety net of available low-risk funding. Best to all, Don
  10. This is such a challenging and fascinating thread; so many well thought out, heartfelt and convincingly expressed opinions and insights. If you will allow me, I’d like to join in again with what I hope will be useful input from a different perspective (which is knowing little or nothing about football except what you all have allowed me to know). Firstly @Parma Ham's gone mouldy - Much as I love Delia, the proudly worn self-pinned badge of ‘We let the Managers manage’ was always a flawed, ill-conceived concept …. Oh my goodness, this is so right. Let’s look at some basic legal and logical requirements of the organisation and management of a corporate entity. 1. In any such enterprise the legal responsibility for all outcomes lies with the Board Of Directors. 2. If the enterprise has shareholders the Board has operating responsibility to the shareholders for profits losses and dividends. The understanding of these basics depends on some definitions. 1. The Board has legal Responsibility 2. The Board has the Power to carry out these responsibilities The axiom is that you can always assign Power but you cannot ever assign Responsibility. If the Board gives people power the responsibility for their action goes with it, but the the responsibility goes straight back to the Board – it does not transfer independently. If indeed the Majority Shareholder has said ‘We let the Managers manage ’ that person is not acting properly as a member of a Board of Directors. It would be interesting to know whether that was ever formally agreed by the Board. If not, it cannot be a proper Company Policy. If the company is being operated outside an agreed policy it is not only the major shareholder who is in dereliction of duty. If it is true as alleged that the major shareholder has advised an employee that his position is in her hands then the power to make this decision is taken from not only (maybe) the Director of Football, but also from the Board. This is not really ‘We let the Managers manage’ is it? @PurpleCanary- Unlike many clubs who use the title but don't allow the person to have the full responsibilities we have had such, in Webber, and by all accounts Knapper is too, with his hands on all the appropriate levers. But I agree that it should be a board position. I find it utterly astonishing that it ever was otherwise - Don . @BigFish It depends what you mean by "football person". Traditionally this was an ex-pro who had been in the business from a playing perspective. Increasingly our Universities are churning out hundreds of bright new sports scientists. Not "football people", but academically trained. Webber's failure is rooted in the fact he was too much in the former camp and not enough in the latter. That needs someone from the latter camp, but a proper Director of Football capable of operating at board level. They should set the ideology while delegating to others to deliver. Amen to that, @BF except that, as above, I am not at all convinced that Stuart Webber the one to fail. He was given power to act by the Board. If he acted ultra vires he should have been disciplined or dismissed. If he was acting with the knowledge and agreement of the Board of Directors then he was in no way at fault. I should imagine he was very fed up, though. Best to all, as ever Don
  11. Parma, I have to say that I would be aghast at any arrangement in which a single member of an organisation at any level should, regardless of guidelines, have the authority to make decisions that have the potential to seriously damage or even ruin the business. I would expect that the originator of any proposal must be required to prepare and present a formal report in which the fully analysed cost and risk assessment are formulated; this to be presented, discussed and agreed by those responsible for the fate of the business – the owners and Board of Directors. Two points arise from this: - 1) If the previous Director of Football was not challenged in this way, the failure is not his. It is with those who set it up this way. His was a lonely and soul-destroying mission, poor man. That is what I would expect Mr Attenasio to fix. 2) @BigFish will no doubt say that this means that at least one of the Board should be a “Football person”. Well, maybe, but these are not entirely or even mainly football decisions, they are financial and risk management decisions. Had this been done the disturbing mistakes described above would maybe still ocurred, but they would have been a disappointment but not such a shock. They would have been seen as potential losses and contingency measures would have been taken when necessary. Best to all for 2024 MogaDon
  12. @PurpleCanary Quite so. From a standpoint of my total ignorance of the game it has always been a mystery to me how professional footballers, who have nothing else to do all day except for practising some very fundamental muscle-memory responses to controlling a football, can get away with a highly paid career using one foot. There are not many one-handed concert pianists. Don
  13. Exactly, @Petriix Looking at Ben Knapper's bio he is clever, savvy and is well repected, loved even, wherever he has worked. He obviously has many friends and no reported or hinted problems. Thirteen years at Arsenal says a lot. All the indications are that his is an excellent appointment but will take time to mature. He and you all will need to be patient and supportive. I guess "swinging the axe" refers to the future of David Wagner. Think about the position BK is in. As Petriix says, he is still feeling the walls in his new post. With respect to the call on possible termination, his options are He doesn't want to He doesn't need to He can't He probably doesn't know yet whether or not he wants to. If the threat of relegation is non-existent he doesn't need to until he is sure he wants to. Take your time, young man. If the story of the main shareholder phone call to DW is true, he can't. Unless BK knew beforehand he is now banjaxed and must already see that that particular wall is a block stop. He must be concerned that there are others yet to discover. Hmmmmm. Best to all for 2024, Don.
  14. Thanks, @Monty13, First, the only constant thing in human endeavours is change, from the rise and fall of a local shop to those of great empires. Within that concept, even from my own lifetime I can make a long list of seemingly impregnable giants of industry and commerce that have risen and fallen, from ICI downwards – and in many cases have vanished from sight altogether. To answer Monty’s question, yes I can try. How strange therefore that I can’t make a similar list of significant Professional Football Clubs that have closed their doors and gone out of business. Why should that be? Because Football is Different, that’s why. Before the splendid @BigFish and others of the XXL Massive burst into derisive laughter at my perceived Damascene conversion – there isn’t one. My views on the need for a sound Corporate Governance structure and on the essentially victim status of the Manager are still sound (IMHO). This has been almost my entire and meagre contribution to this Forum up to now, because I have not thought about Football as a corporate venture. Here is a first pass at it. At least in the context of Western Capitalism, a business venture seeks, in competition with other similar organisations, to provide goods or services of competitive quality and an attractive price to a common cloud of customers who can choose one supplier or another, maybe Waitrose one day, Albert Arkwright the next. Professional Football is different, at least it was in former times. Whether or not one is a customer is (or was) decided primarily by accident of birthplace and the captive customer is far more tolerant of variability of performance. If NCFC falls short, who is going to show up at Portman Road? What they will do is to stay away and smaller attendances mean lower income. Hence the Season Ticket. Success or failure did not result in going out of business but in the relative position on the greasy pole of League position and consequent bad humour in the snug at the Dodman’s Rest. This is no longer true. One of the catastrophic influences on any business performance is what we call a Paradigm Shift, when previously tried and proven concepts become superseded. The notion that big conurbations supported big crowds, hence rich and successful clubs is now threatened by two simultaneous shifts, both in the source of money, - television and vast sums from foreign parts. It is now axiomatic that externally-sourced money is the principal determinant in the acquisition of points and the whole thing is a self-sustaining cycle In this new context it is fruitless to try to compete in the old way. It seems to me that the NCFC, although moving in the right direction, is being relatively slow and indecisive in making the necessary changes. If it doesn’t it will almost certainly survive, but not prosper. Luck doesn’t come into it at this point. Oh, and the self-financing concept cannot possibly work. It is exactly like trying to ward off incipient anaemia by bleeding the patient, who will simply die without blood transfusions. The policy will inevitably sink under the weight of its internal contradictions. Mr Attanasio knows this and has said so, if not in so many words. My best to all, Don
  15. Thanks, @ricardo Interesting to compare Napoleon's later campaigns with the insights of Sun Tzu in "The Art of Warfare". Might not have been luck he ran out of. ST's brilliant book might just as well be read as "The Art of Football Management". Well worth a look. Don
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