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It's Character Forming

Leicester & the Prem - One-Off or Sea Change ?

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While we''ve had endless stories in the press about how amazing Leicester''s achievement is - and I agree - but it feels to me like there''s something more fundamental going on.

 

First, the effect of the massive TV money hasn''t just evened out because everyone gets more money (which is what I first thought).  E.g. if you have team A, a big team which gets say £80m revenue from non-TV sources and team B with £20m non-TV, obviously team A dwarfs team B. If you inject TV money and team A gets an extra £60m and team B an extra £50m, that means team A has £140m and team B has £70m.  So although team A has got more extra money than team B, relatively speaking team B is no longer dwarfed by team A to the same degree, so this must translate into team B''s squad being closer to team A''s.

Very roughly (I''ve made up these numbers obviously) this is how I see the Sky deal working on the Prem.  It means the disparity between the clubs, although still huge, is less than it used to be.

 

Second, the fact that Chelsea, last season''s champions, utterly imploded for the start of the season despite having more or less the same squad, while Man City, last season''s runners up, have also had a poor season, domestically, given the quality of their squad.  I think this is due to the wage levels and the problem this causes in managing a squad of those players.  Nowadays, if you''re at a team like Chelsea/Man City in the first team, you''d be on £100k per week upwards I''d guess.  Let''s remember that translates into £5m per year.  So if you get a 3 year contract on those wages, even if you pay half your income in tax/NI, you''ll still pocket £7.5m, and obviously the top players could be on double that.  Which means if you get a contract at one of those clubs, you''re set up for life, financially.  I can remember when Roy Keane got a pay rise to £40k per week, and that comes to £2m per year, say £1m after tax, which is a lot but still doesn''t give you the same immediate route to financial independence (and remember he was the top earner then).

 

The difficulty this causes for the managers is - how do you motivate players at that level ?  You have absolutely no financial leverage at all.  If a player has a falling out, he can easily find another club as long as he has ability (Balotelli etc).  So motivation must be about their competitiveness and desire to win.  I think Chelsea showed at the start of the season that even a top manager can lose all control of the dressing room.  Everyone knows if that happens, it will be the manager who ends up going.  One or two players can be got rid of but not the whole squad.  So the manager''s control is greatly reduced and it''s easy for a team with top players to just stop performing.

 

Combine these with the fact that in football, a team of 11 weaker individuals who play "as a team" will normally beat 11 better players (to a degree) who aren''t working as a team.  Which is what Leicester showed this season.  How many of their individuals would''ve got in the first teams at Chelsea or Man City at the start of this season ?  Yet they''ve performed better over the whole season.  And Ranieri''s more relaxed management style (letting them take the week off when there was the 2-week break etc) has reinforced this, it seems to me.  And it''s not just Leicester - we''ve seen a lot of results this season where a weaker team has beaten a stronger one, including our win at Old Trafford.

 

So where does this leave us ?  I''m hoping it will continue and we''ll see more of the top teams struggling to retain their dominance, and lower teams thinking they can aim higher than they used to.

 

I just hope City are a part of it next season though...

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I also hope this isn''t just a one-off.  However, it may happen to Leicester that some of their players get poached, which would make it extremely difficult for them to achieve anything approaching what they''ve achieved this season.  Will another club be able to repeat what Leicester have achieved, perhaps, but I don''t see it happening soon (a small club winning the PL) and as soon as a ''smaller'' club has some success, I think we''ll still have a situation, despite the increased wealth of the smaller teams'' that bigger clubs will be after their best assets.I think this season, we have seen a combination of what you have said, but this has also coincided with all of the big clubs underperforming.  A bit of a freak season in that regard, but I am certainly not taking anything away from Leicester''s achievement.  Some of the big clubs already have new managers lined up for next season, undoubtedly more money will be spent, and no doubt one of them will be PL champions next season.  Although having said all this, the gap may not be as big.The only club I can see upsetting the applecart to some degree is Spurs, but obviously that wouldn''t be to the same extent as Leicester.With regard to finances, there are so many things to factor in.  One being liabilities.  For example, we didn''t have any debt repayments this season, where as some clubs have huge debts and will be repaying many millions a year.  I wonder how our revenue excluding TV income compares to similar sized clubs?

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I don''t think it''s a sea change, I think it''s a combination of the wealthiest and "best" (on paper) teams all underperforming or rebuilding, and a truly exceptional season from a well organised and creative side that many other PL clubs probably took a little too lightly in the first few months of the season.
Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool have all under-performed to a greater or lesser extent.  That is not Leicester''s problem, and good luck to them, but I doubt it will happen again.  In fairness, Spurs have probably slightly overachieved too, and both will be stretched further by the added demands of a Champions League schedule.
They are worthy and deserved winners as the league table doesn''t lie, but neither does it tell you the story of why the "big" clubs failed this year.

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[quote user="Its Character Forming"]

While we''ve had endless stories in the press about how amazing Leicester''s achievement is - and I agree - but it feels to me like there''s something more fundamental going on.

 

First, the effect of the massive TV money hasn''t just evened out because everyone gets more money (which is what I first thought).  E.g. if you have team A, a big team which gets say £80m revenue from non-TV sources and team B with £20m non-TV, obviously team A dwarfs team B. If you inject TV money and team A gets an extra £60m and team B an extra £50m, that means team A has £140m and team B has £70m.  So although team A has got more extra money than team B, relatively speaking team B is no longer dwarfed by team A to the same degree, so this must translate into team B''s squad being closer to team A''s.

Very roughly (I''ve made up these numbers obviously) this is how I see the Sky deal working on the Prem.  It means the disparity between the clubs, although still huge, is less than it used to be.

 

Second, the fact that Chelsea, last season''s champions, utterly imploded for the start of the season despite having more or less the same squad, while Man City, last season''s runners up, have also had a poor season, domestically, given the quality of their squad.  I think this is due to the wage levels and the problem this causes in managing a squad of those players.  Nowadays, if you''re at a team like Chelsea/Man City in the first team, you''d be on £100k per week upwards I''d guess.  Let''s remember that translates into £5m per year.  So if you get a 3 year contract on those wages, even if you pay half your income in tax/NI, you''ll still pocket £7.5m, and obviously the top players could be on double that.  Which means if you get a contract at one of those clubs, you''re set up for life, financially.  I can remember when Roy Keane got a pay rise to £40k per week, and that comes to £2m per year, say £1m after tax, which is a lot but still doesn''t give you the same immediate route to financial independence (and remember he was the top earner then).

 

The difficulty this causes for the managers is - how do you motivate players at that level ?  You have absolutely no financial leverage at all.  If a player has a falling out, he can easily find another club as long as he has ability (Balotelli etc).  So motivation must be about their competitiveness and desire to win.  I think Chelsea showed at the start of the season that even a top manager can lose all control of the dressing room.  Everyone knows if that happens, it will be the manager who ends up going.  One or two players can be got rid of but not the whole squad.  So the manager''s control is greatly reduced and it''s easy for a team with top players to just stop performing.

 

Combine these with the fact that in football, a team of 11 weaker individuals who play "as a team" will normally beat 11 better players (to a degree) who aren''t working as a team.  Which is what Leicester showed this season.  How many of their individuals would''ve got in the first teams at Chelsea or Man City at the start of this season ?  Yet they''ve performed better over the whole season.  And Ranieri''s more relaxed management style (letting them take the week off when there was the 2-week break etc) has reinforced this, it seems to me.  And it''s not just Leicester - we''ve seen a lot of results this season where a weaker team has beaten a stronger one, including our win at Old Trafford.

 

So where does this leave us ?  I''m hoping it will continue and we''ll see more of the top teams struggling to retain their dominance, and lower teams thinking they can aim higher than they used to.

 

I just hope City are a part of it next season though...

[/quote]Under the current TV deal just ending the overall income (basic TV money plus extra TV money plus merit money) ranges from about £60m for the worst clubs to £100m for the best. The estimate by the knowledgeable Swiss Ramble for the upcomng deal is that the split will from £90m to £150m, so a bigger gap - £60m as against £40m - between top and bottom than before. And if non-TV income (ie catering and commercial) stays the same for individual clubs (ie a small club doesn''t suddenly get vastly more money from its home-baked sausage rolls) then that wider gap will stay wider.Another factor this season in Leicester City''s success is that four of their would-be rivals (Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool) have all had serious managerial problems, while Arsenal under Wenger, who should have taken this chance to walk away with the title, have looked this gift horse in the mouth. Again.

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Let''s remember that Leicester have still spent a lot of money to get where they are, whilst they are saying the squad was put together on a small budget, it''s not like their owner is strapped for cash. I can''t imagine that experienced players like Huth are on small wages either.

I think for sure the focus of the "big four" has certainly changed. Whilst I feel Leicester are certain to struggle to reach the same heights next season with the extra games in Europe, any of the current 8 below them could potentially win the league. I expect Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea to all do better next season. What we''ve seen is the spread across the "top" teams become a lot greater and the margins smaller. Just 10 points separate 3rd and 7th as it stands, and Liverpool and Chelsea, two powerhouses with cash to waste sit outside that too. I''d like it to happen again, but I don''t think it ever will with the same circumstances. A team almost relegated the year before was given odds of 5,000-1 for a reason!

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Yes, it''s interesting that with Man C and Chelsea both under-performing, none of the other "big" teams, especially Arsenal and Man U, were able to step up to the plate.  Spurs haven''t exactly been title contenders for longer than I can remember and they were the only ones to really push Leicester.

 

You can''t argue with Leicester being the best over the season - winning the title with two games to spare shows that for definite.  Although I do hate that phrase "the table doesn''t lie" because the table can be pretty approximate at times.

 

I''d expect one of the big teams to win next year, but I don''t think this means normal service will be resumed - i.e. only 2-3 teams having realistic title ambitions at the start of the season, which is where we were until this season.  Time will tell of course, but for me it''s good news.

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Personally, I see this season as a perfect storm and can''t imagine another team threatened with relegation one year will then go on and win the Premier League the next with two games to spare. It''s a quite ridiculous achievement.

While we may see a team outside the conventional top four become champions next year, such as Tottenham/West Ham etc, I reckon it won''t be long until everything returns to how it was before.

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While I agree the bigger teams have underperformed, the increasing quality in the smaller teams has made the League more unpredictable.

I wonder whether any team will win it again with a points total in the late nineties. I think the League will be increasingly competitive at the top, which certainly makes it more interesting.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"]

Under the current TV deal just ending the overall income (basic TV money plus extra TV money plus merit money) ranges from about £60m for the worst clubs to £100m for the best. The estimate by the knowledgeable Swiss Ramble for the upcomng deal is that the split will from £90m to £150m, so a bigger gap - £60m as against £40m - between top and bottom than before. And if non-TV income (ie catering and commercial) stays the same for individual clubs (ie a small club doesn''t suddenly get vastly more money from its home-baked sausage rolls) then that wider gap will stay wider.

Another factor this season in Leicester City''s success is that four of their would-be rivals (Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool) have all had serious managerial problems, while Arsenal under Wenger, who should have taken this chance to walk away with the title, have looked this gift horse in the mouth. Again.

[/quote]

 

Hi Purple

 

I think I didn''t make my point clear.  What I''m saying is that the extra money means you can have a bigger absolute gap, but the relative disparity between the teams is reduced, and I think this is happening to an extent.

 

If we tweak my example using your numbers for the upcoming Sky deal, I start with Team A having £80m non-TV income and Team B has non-TV income of £20m.  Which are the sort of numbers I remember for big/small teams if you go back a few years.  This means Team  A has four times the spending power of Team B, so Team B is just dwarfed by Team A.  If you''re a player looking at the salary offered by Team A, there''s no way Team B can compete.  Team A can pay enough to set you up for life; Team B can''t.

 

Now if we add the new Sky numbers as £90m at the bottom and £150m at the top.  Team A now has £230m and Team B has £110m.  OK Team A is even richer in absolute terms, but it now has "only" double the spending power of Team B, so if (simplistically) it could afford a team that was four times as good as Team B''s originally, now it can only afford one that is about twice as good.  This is what I mean by the disparity being reduced.  Also, if you''re a player being offered a salary by both teams, the fact is that Team B will be able to pay its top player say £5m/season compared to say £10m/season for Team A.  Sure, you can still get more money from Team A, but if you join Team B on a 3-year contract, you''re still going to be set up for life.  So the relative attraction of going to Team A compared to Team B is reduced.  I know that some people will want to go for the absolute max cash they can get, but for others, there will be attractions such as being able to play regularly, being one of the top players at a team rather than an also-ran, which will also be important.

 

In the same way, if I earn £20k and my neighbour earns £80k pa, I''d be out of his league spending-wise.  But if we both get pay rises so he earns £230k and I earn £110k, he''s still a much bigger earner than me, but even though the absolute gap has widened, relatively I don''t feel so badly off - I''ll be able to afford a pretty flash car - it might be a BMW 5 series compared to his Ferrari but it''ll still be a pretty decent motor.

Interesting, isn''t it ?

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And to mention a further point about those four top clubs having managerial problems.  Yes, but we''re talking about some highly rated managers here (the Special One, Van Gaal, Pellegrini, and obviously Liverpool rated Rodgers when they signed him) being unable to succeed with their squads of very highly paid players.  And I don''t think this is a coincidence for the reasons I mention - I think managing at the very top level is harder now than it used to be (it''s never been easy). 

 

I still find it amazing that Chelsea could bring back Mourinho, win the title, and get rid of him so soon after, but that''s the reality of the modern game.

Could someone come to a club at the very top level and succeed nowadays with the SAF hairdrying/throwing boots sort of approach ?  I seriously doubt it.

 

So I expect we''ll be seeing more of the same at the top level.

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One point that hasn''t been mentioned yet and a very important one at that is how rich even the poorest teams in the Premier League will be compared to heck of a lot of teams in Europe.  Even compared to teams in some of the other ''big'' leagues in Europe, other than the usual ''big'' names, the poorest teams in the Premier League could outspend the majority of the teams in the rest of the leagues.  This will obviously have a knock-on effect in terms of the quality of players we see coming in to the Premier League to play for even some of the ''smaller'' teams.

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Your point, Norfolkbroadslim, was demonstrated perfectly in Leicester''s purchase of Kante last summer, when even Marseille, Ligue 1 champs just five years previous, couldn''t match the Foxes bid.

And on the subject of Les Olympiens, the rumour of West Ham''s £32.1m offer for their forward Michy Batshuayi again proves the clout ''smaller'' Premier League teams now have.

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[quote user="Katie Borkins"][quote user="CANARYKING"]Apparently Mahrez'' agent is saying Barcelona are interested .[/quote]
Well he would say that, wouldn''t he?
[/quote]Ah, the Mandy Rice-Davis defence.

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[quote user="norfolkbroadslim"]One point that hasn''t been mentioned yet and a very important one at that is how rich even the poorest teams in the Premier League will be compared to heck of a lot of teams in Europe.  Even compared to teams in some of the other ''big'' leagues in Europe, other than the usual ''big'' names, the poorest teams in the Premier League could outspend the majority of the teams in the rest of the leagues.  This will obviously have a knock-on effect in terms of the quality of players we see coming in to the Premier League to play for even some of the ''smaller'' teams.[/quote]

Na the money will in effect be lost as transfer fees to the PL will double as will wages. You will just get the same players for twice the money. A top striker who cost £20m this year will cost £40m next.

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[quote user="Its Character Forming"]

 

Hi Purple

 

I think I didn''t make my point clear.  What I''m saying is that the extra money means you can have a bigger absolute gap, but the relative disparity between the teams is reduced, and I think this is happening to an extent.

 

If we tweak my example using your numbers for the upcoming Sky deal, I start with Team A having £80m non-TV income and Team B has non-TV income of £20m.  Which are the sort of numbers I remember for big/small teams if you go back a few years.  This means Team  A has four times the spending power of Team B, so Team B is just dwarfed by Team A.  If you''re a player looking at the salary offered by Team A, there''s no way Team B can compete.  Team A can pay enough to set you up for life; Team B can''t.

 

Now if we add the new Sky numbers as £90m at the bottom and £150m at the top.  Team A now has £230m and Team B has £110m.  OK Team A is even richer in absolute terms, but it now has "only" double the spending power of Team B, so if (simplistically) it could afford a team that was four times as good as Team B''s originally, now it can only afford one that is about twice as good.  This is what I mean by the disparity being reduced.  

[/quote]I take the point but I don''t think this relative disparity is going to be reduced by anything like as much as you suggest. I will leave out the calculations but (bearing in mind these are rough figures) in 2014 our overall income was 22 per cent of that of Man Utd. If we stay up (and the Swiss Ramble''s estimates are right) then it would only rise to 24.7 per cent. With Chelsea our income would rise from 29 per cent to 32 per cent.What is true, as a poster pointed out, is that any club in the Premier League in any of the next three seasons will automatically be among the 30 or so richest clubs in Europe.

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[quote user="ricardo"][quote user="Katie Borkins"][quote user="CANARYKING"]Apparently Mahrez'' agent is saying Barcelona are interested .[/quote]
Well he would say that, wouldn''t he?
[/quote]Ah, the Mandy Rice-Davis defence.[/quote]I doubt Lord Astor thought of it as a defence, ricardo. It was much more an accusation directed straight at him...

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"]

I take the point but I don''t think this relative disparity is going to be reduced by anything like as much as you suggest. I will leave out the calculations but (bearing in mind these are rough figures) in 2014 our overall income was 22 per cent of that of Man Utd. If we stay up (and the Swiss Ramble''s estimates are right) then it would only rise to 24.7 per cent. With Chelsea our income would rise from 29 per cent to 32 per cent.

What is true, as a poster pointed out, is that any club in the Premier League in any of the next three seasons will automatically be among the 30 or so richest clubs in Europe.

[/quote]

 

I''m sure you''re right Purple but the effect I''m talking about was already underway in 2014.  My baseline would be when we first saw a jump in the turnover for City to around the £50m mark, can''t remember which year that was, but that''s when the sea change was really happening.  And I think we''re now starting to see the effects.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"][quote user="ricardo"][quote user="Katie Borkins"][quote user="CANARYKING"]Apparently Mahrez'' agent is saying Barcelona are interested .[/quote]


Well he would say that, wouldn''t he?


[/quote]

Ah, the Mandy Rice-Davis defence.
[/quote]

I doubt Lord Astor thought of it as a defence, ricardo. It was much more an accusation directed straight at him...

[/quote]

 

And it''s always very effective when it hits the target, as it did then !  and Bor''s comment about agents is similarly accurate.

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