Wfc - Fallout Between Squad And Board (the Athletic)

Discussion in 'The Hornets' Nest - Watford Chat' started by Burnsy, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    Worrying article this afternoon posted on The Athletic. Comes from David Ornstein, not Leventhal.

    Won’t copy it here for obvious reasons but key points:
    • Wage deferrals are in the pipeline. BUT...
    • Discussions are not easy. And are being made harder by distrust between squad and the board.
    • Distrust stems from the squad believing they are owed £5m pro-rata for bonuses for last season. The club claim the amount is £2.2m. Yet still haven’t paid.
    • The reason for not paying is because of this seasons form.
    • The bonus schedule had to be filed with The PL before the first game of last season (Brighton) but was cobbled together at the last minute as they couldn’t agree a deal all that summer.
    • The players are aggrieved that they believe the club inserted a clause that gives them ‘absolute’ discretion of paying any bonuses achieved. Players say this wasn’t what was agreed and they would never have signed the contracts knowing this. Accusations that the club have been very underhand.
    • The issue was swept under the carpet somewhat when Nigel Pearson arrived. But had surfaced in group chats again between the squad, for obvious current reasons. Some players are really not happy and Deeney and Duxbury working tirelessly to get things sorted.
    • Each player has so far contributed £5k to the ‘players together’ fund (£130k total) and this will continue at regular intervals going forward, with Watford Hospital/Local NHS the next beneficiaries.
    • Players also aggrieved that staff members from last season didn’t receive achieved bonus payments and the club have blamed a change in performance review schedule
    Seems like a lot of anger behind the scenes and not everything is as rosy as Duxbury often likes to paint it.
  2. Maybe explains the **** start to the season ?
  3. hornetgags

    hornetgags McMuff's lovechild

    They should give the fans the £5m after that Cup final.
  4. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    Quite possibly. What isn’t laid out in the article is when seasonal achievement bonuses are meant to be paid. In the summer immediately after the achievements? Over the course of the following season inc in salary payments? It sounds like the ill-feeling had surfaced well in advance of Pearson arriving either way.

  5. J.B

    J.B First Team

    Disgraceful, irresponsible behaviour from the club if true.
  6. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Probably the same story for every club hence the lack of trust between players and clubs.
  7. The PozzMan

    The PozzMan Squad Player

    If this is true, what an almighty **** up from Gino/Dux. In a season of poor decisions relating to the football/playing staff, they continue to make them even in the current circumstances.

    Usually give them leeway based off the last number of years but this decision making is utterly baffling, and this behaviour, if true, is woeful. Remarkable.
  8. lowerrous

    lowerrous Squad Player

    Sounds poor from the club, but at the same time trying to withhold the full bonus payments until the end of this season on condition of us staying up (law permitting) could also be a wise move to ensure the players still have a carrot to keep them motivated or the last 9 game (including the likes of Pereyra who'd probably be off soon anyway).
  9. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    I’m not sure withholding due and agreed bonuses is the type of incentive the club should be seeing as ‘wise’.

    ‘How about this guys! If you stay up this season, we will finally pay you that money we owe you!’

    I think that’s far more likely to see players down tools than feel incentivised.
  10. hornetgags

    hornetgags McMuff's lovechild

    I'm starting a crowdfunder for the players, clearly they're struggling.
  11. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    The whole thing seems to stem from the rush at which the agreement was made, in order to fulfil the PL’s deadline.

    The article says the deal was struck late on the Friday night before the opening game and players were hurriedly called down in the players hotel 1-by-1 to sign their paperwork so it could be sent to the PL.

    Did the players just blindly sign the paperwork believing it laid out what was verbally agreed? Or did the club somehow circumnavigate things?

    Fault on both sides of things were signed that weren’t checked over. But if it’s true, I find it very dirty on the clubs part if they’ve tried to dupe the playing squad and off-field staff. Especially over an amount that is smaller than Marvin Zeegelaar’s transfer fee.

    Interestingly, it’s says only 13 squad members were eligible for the bonuses ‘due to their salaries’. Hence why the squad believe everyone should get a cut of £5m but the bosses think (if they had paid) it would only apply to 13 players, hence it being £2.2m.
  12. We hate 48

    We hate 48 Reservist

    What I noticed in the accounts for last season was that the club earnt £19m more than in 17/18 by finishing 3 places higher and getting to a cup final but wages reduced from £86m to £83m which looked a bit odd
  13. GoingDown

    GoingDown Pizza & Figs

    Gino knows what he's doing.
  14. lowerrous

    lowerrous Squad Player

    That is probably more likely, but it still depends a bit on the exact wording of the agreement as to whether the delay can be reasonably justified and thus be kept in place as an incentive.

    Also, considering the work-rate of most of our players since Pearson arrived it doesn't appear is if they've been close to downing tools.
  15. cpm82

    cpm82 Academy Graduate

    Bonuses for what?

    Turning up?
  16. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    I agree for the most part.
    However, the crux of the article isn’t about a delay in paying - its a refusal to pay. There’s no incentive in a refusal. There’s nothing in the article that says the club may still pay the bonuses. It points more to the fact that the club inserted the ‘absolute’ right to veto the bonus payments and that’s what they are doing. No carrot being dangled. The squad were (rightfully IMO) furious but put it to one side when Pearson came in. Having the club ask them for financial sacrifices due to the current circumstances has obviously brought those issues back into play for the players within their own circles - the article says it has surfaced within group chats etc in the squad. You’d imagine they have a source for that kind of claim.

    I accept what you say and largely know where you’re coming from. But in football, you either hit your targets or you don’t. If they were achieved, then pay up. If not, then don’t.

    As I say, the 2 main things I take from the article are:
    • The club believing bonuses only apply to 13 players in the squad - could it be those players are batting for the rest of the squad believing they all deserve it?
    • And that the players are adamant that what the club are doing isn’t what was agreed. Have they been ‘duped’ into a deal because of time constraints and being held to a detail within the contract that has been inserted against their trust in the club?
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  17. Guy

    Guy Squad Player

    Signing agreements for bonuses on the eve of the Brighton game at the start of the season doesn't sit well with me.

    Surely it should have been done long before the season started and not good preperation before the start of the game... no wonder why we lost

    Lots of questions currently which need to be answered..... shame no At Your Place Events for a long while or likely soon

    Do really worry about our future particularly if we are relegated, Pozzo's dont have the financial clout that most other premier league clubs do
  18. Aberystwyth_Hornet

    Aberystwyth_Hornet Squad Player

    Probably explains the poor start, also concerning if the season does restart because the players heads and hearts aren't going to be wanting to keep us up
  19. davisp2

    davisp2 Reservist

    We were very sluggish at the start of the season, and I thought that was down to a hangover with the Cup Final, but this may have played a part. I wonder if the issue was that the terms of the bonus payout were open to interpretation. You would hope that if it was black and white and the conditions of the payout were met, we would have paid.
  20. Hey, maybe this bonus issue might have had something to do with our slow start to the season ? #2
  21. cyaninternetdog

    cyaninternetdog Forum Hippie

    So the club and players agreed a deal for bonuses and the club inserted something in the contract after negotiations had ended? The players had a good season last season so should be paid any bonuses agreed.
  22. J.B

    J.B First Team

    For our highest league finish in 32 years and first appearance in a Cup final since 1984 presumably.
  23. Ágætis Byrjun

    Ágætis Byrjun Reservist

    As stupid as bonuses on top of huge salaries are - if they're in a contract, you have to pay them. It's very easy to get out of this situation - pay what you owe.
  24. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    It’s last season, not the current one. We beat Brighton. It’s bonuses for the Gracia/FA Cup season.
  25. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    The bonuses and the Brighton game it refers to were in 18/19.
  26. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    The whole issue seems to be that the club seem to think the bonuses were ‘discretionary’. The players claim that isn’t what was agreed. What the actual contracts say is anyone’s guess.

    My guess would be that the contracts back the club up. But they were signed in haste and contain something (discretion) that the players didn’t agree to.

    Players at fault for signing something that wasn’t given due diligence? Club at fault for knowingly duping their own players? Club also at fault for leaving the deal so late that time constraints mean ya players didn’t have time to go over what they were signing?

    Either way, it’s a dangerous game the club have played. A seemingly needless one as well.
  27. Loyalhornet

    Loyalhornet Academy Graduate

    This sounds worrying particularly at this current time . I’m a bit confused though . Why were bonuses for last season being agreed just before this season started ? Surely they would have been agreed before last season ? Or have I got the wrong end of the stick ?
    Burnsy likes this.
  28. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    You have but I can see why it’s confusing, mainly because we played Brighton at home in our 1st game both times!

    Bonuses seem to be agreed between clubs and their players over a summer and then the PL require them to be submitted before the 1st game of the season for which those bonuses apply. Then whatever is achieved over that season becomes payable obviously once the season has ended - how that is paid, who knows.

    What’s being suggested is that before LAST season (summer 2018) Watford’s hierarchy and players struggled to come to an agreement all summer and a deal was only struck as late as the Friday before we played Brighton less than 24hrs later - we won. We went on to finish 11th and get to the Cup Final. Whatever bonuses were agreed for those achievements became payable - but the club are withholding them saying they were discretionary. The players disagree and say that was not what was agreed.

    For anyone who wants to see the article, The Athletic are currently offering 90 days free trial with no obligation to subscribe (just remember to cancel!) and then you can see the article. It’s hard to paraphrase!
    K9 Hornet likes this.
  29. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Sounds like they should have been but weren't for some reason.
  30. We hate 48

    We hate 48 Reservist

    In light of your helpful post 28 this looks likely. I wonder what the targets to achieve a bonus were for this season after the club earnt an extra nearly £20m for season 18/19 and we achieved our highest league placing in 32 years and reached the fa cup final - champions league place ?. This may account for a lot of the crap we saw particularly when the owner brought in QSF
  31. NathWFC

    NathWFC First Team

  32. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Positive spin on the story in the headline from the Beeb.

    How close are the players to agreeing in reality ?
  33. Moosegasm

    Moosegasm First Year Pro

    I always felt there must be something going on behind the scenes that was impacting our woeful start to the season. FA Cup hangover was part of it, the Dawson Cathcart debacle in central defence was another as were the defensive formations and midfield covering but psychology is key in football. Last minute agreement cobbled together the night before Brighton ripped us a new one could explain a lot in terms of lack of focus. Witholding bonuses, if true, was a disastrous decision and totally unacceptable. Would have a huge impact on morale, motivation and focus in any industry.
  34. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    They ripped us a new one by meekly losing 2-0?
    The PozzMan likes this.
  35. Most bonus contracts are discretionary, I'd be surprised if the club are breaking contracts
    iamofwfc likes this.

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