The Premier League - 2021-2022

Discussion in 'The Hornets' Nest - Watford Chat' started by The Voice of Reason, Apr 26, 2021.

  1. toffeeblue9

    toffeeblue9 First Year Pro

    I hope it doesn't come across the wrong way, but yes, I could easily see something like this.

    You can't go out and sign a load of world class players straight away. The way to do it is essentially the way City did it - you first of all build your way up to the top and there's a phase where you have to sign more attainable players. The easiest way to do that is to sign players who are outside the top 4/6/whatever but are the best players at midtable/lower table clubs where they can offer huge wages rises to make a move attractive. So targeting the likes of Sarr from Watford, Aarons from Norwich, McNeil from Burnley, Neves from Wolves, Lamptey from Brighton, Rice from West Ham etc might be the way to go in the short to medium term (I dare say Everton have a player or two they might fancy as well). I remember City taking Lescott from us when we had just finished 5th in consecutive seasons and were a better side than them. Gareth Barry, Adebayor, Kolo Toure etc. There won't be many clubs who will be immune to advances from them, probably only the current top 4.
    watto1 likes this.
  2. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    I would like the Pozzo’s to remain, but we need more investment, which they are not able to provide. This is why I hope they get another investor on board who is very wealthy and can help establish us in the Premier League.

    I think the time has come for them to make this move.
    lutonh8a likes this.
  3. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Presumably though the Americans who bought Burnley weren't put off by similar concerns? Although I appreciate their model of buy out isn't one that we'd want to invite.
  4. Hornpete

    Hornpete Squad Player

    Thing is, Sarr for 50m suddenly becomes Sarr for 75m+ because you know money is no object for them.
  5. That’s a strange one indeed. I’d like to see what their 5 year plans show. Are they looking to bankroll Burnley to support their continued prem existence ? Their mode of purchase would suggest not. So why buy the club at surely the peak of its value ? Unlikely but did they do little due diligence and just saw the chance to “buy an established prem club for only £x” and not realise what they were buying ?
  6. a19tgg

    a19tgg Squad Player

    They’ve still got FFP to work around, whilst there will be a premium on any player they want to buy there will also be a limit to that premium, especially as they’ll also be paying these players wages that are over the odds to attract them as well, which all gets factored into the figures.
  7. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    One of the saner Geordies speaks:

    scummybear likes this.
  8. Since63

    Since63 Reservist

    Main issue is how much influence any new investor would want & how that would sit with Gino's apparent control-freakery. Added to the question as to whether any new investor would be happy to keep Duxbury as COO, unless he were allowed to install a lieutenant with some real say in the day-to-day. Not sure either would be easy to negotiate.
  9. Since63

    Since63 Reservist

    Yes, they've not really put much of their own money on the line, have they?
  10. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    They were receptive to an investor 3 years ago and were going to sell 33% stake in the club for £125m before it fell through at the due diligence stage.

    So along those terms it would give an investor a seat on the board but not overall control on final decisions. A deal like that would make a lot of sense and I believe it’s something they will need to do sooner rather than later as it’s clear they are struggling for funds right now.
    lutonh8a likes this.
  11. Since63

    Since63 Reservist

    My main point is how many such investors may be out there? I think most would want much more say for their investment.
  12. Forzainglese

    Forzainglese Reservist

    Surely it is television where the big money is. The size of your stadium doesn't matter as much as it used to. Watford's stadium may not have those colossal banks of supporters like ManU, Villa and Newcastle, but this is not all that evident on camera. The atmosphere does matter and must transmit itself to the armchair watchers. I think we are better at that than we used to be.
    The Pozzos come in for a lot of stick on this forum. I think they are proper football people who are pitching themselves against other owners who may have fantastic wealth but do not have the same level of understanding of the game. Their record with three clubs over a substantial period of time shows they are pretty good at what they do, overall.
    W4BS, SkylaRose and V Crabro like this.
  13. CaveManHornet

    CaveManHornet Reservist

    Remember when Newcastle said that Watford are “pygmies in the land of giants”.

    They can say the same about everyone else now.

    Their owners are worth more than all of the other 91 clubs in the UK combined…
  14. V Crabro

    V Crabro Reservist

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the NUFC first team squad based in London and flying to Tyneside on matchdays. I doubt they will have many homegrown players in the future.

    I think our location on the edge of one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, must have worked in our favour over the last decade.
  15. Filbert

    Filbert Leicester supporting bloke

    Did I miss the 2nd Scottish independence referendum? ;)
  16. Filbert

    Filbert Leicester supporting bloke

    I wouldn’t say Luton is cosmopolitan…
  17. FromDiv4

    FromDiv4 Reservist

    Chumlax and Filbert like this.
  18. V Crabro

    V Crabro Reservist

    Ha ha! Actually, St Albans is our local cosmopolitan city......
    Filbert likes this.
  19. SkylaRose

    SkylaRose Administrator Staff Member

    Read into this what you will. We have more dosh than Norwich and Burnley - just.

    wfc4ever likes this.
  20. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Obviously a bit out of date with Bournemouth and Sheff United plus Burnley being taken over by Americans on there but certainly about right .
  21. Chumlax

    Chumlax Squad Player

    That's rather a confused list, given that it has both the Saudis and our historical rivals Muff on it.
    scummybear likes this.
  22. Chumlax

    Chumlax Squad Player

    They certainly do business properly...

    Speaking seriously, though, I think historically over their three decades of owning clubs you are correct, and once upon a time that knowledge and niche experience gave them a significant edge - the apotheosis of this was Udinese about ten years ago, getting into the Champions League and producing 5-10 top-level players who were acquired for very little money from less-developed countries or lower leagues and sold for far more, eventually making their way to clubs at the highest echelons of the game - Alexis Sanchez; Mehdi Benatia; Juan Cuadrado; Samir Handanovic, to name a few.

    At this point, though, there has been a divergence in both ways - those owners who know relatively little about the world of football may not be intelligent football-wise, but they are intelligent business-wise. They hire the right people, and put the right structures in place, to support the club and its development, and reap the rewards - would anyone be arguing that Liverpool's owners, who undoubtedly are not 'football people', or City, or even Villa, are blundering about making poor decisions that don't make sense in the context of the world of football? No. Quite the opposite. They have all made far more consistent and successful strategic decisions than the Pozzo in recent years.

    And that brings us to the other side of the divergence. It's why the FTRE bozos where laughed out of the room when they claimed out of nowhere that 'Scott and Gino do business properly', and why it has gone on to become a persistent meme on Watford socials; because it's such a patently ridiculous statement based on overwhelming evidence available to us from the past few seasons. The falsified HSBC letter; Papa Gueye; the Zuniga contract and subsequent court case; their inexplicably deficient transfer policy with us over the last few years.

    We cannot possibly claim that in this moment, Gino et al are operating in a broadly more joined up and intelligent way than pretty much any other Premier League owner. Even Norwich have a very clear ethos and plan, whether any of us would enjoy/put up with it or not.

    Fundamentally, once upon a time 'being football people' was good enough, and bestowed something of an advantage. Today, as it stands, the game and ownership groups have moved on, and at the exact same time, Gino has moved further away from being a football person. Any advantage is torn apart by those two directional shifts.

    Now this is not me saying 'POZZO OUT NOW' - but it is part of why I believe, as do many others, that at this point, they either need to reassess some aspects of their model, or whether they still operate in a world where it makes sense to employ it at all.
  23. SkylaRose

    SkylaRose Administrator Staff Member

    Fantastic post Chumlax. Well said and it's certainly a question Gino needs to ask himself and others who work closely with him.
    Chumlax likes this.
  24. a19tgg

    a19tgg Squad Player

    Things like Wyscout have rendered their old, previously successful methods largely redundant. Now they’re having to concentrate more and more on players with a question mark next to their name, with the hope they come good with us, which is harder to get right frequently enough.
    Chumlax likes this.
  25. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    You've made many good points, of which I've also made in the past (that's probably why I think they're good points :D ) but I've developed a new found admiration for the Pozzo family. I was aware they were worth around the £100m mark, but through my ignorance I wasn't aware how loaded other owners in the Premier League actually were.

    We can all be critical, or make lucid observations on how the "model" is and to the apparent flaws of the owner, but they seem to get the job done. We do get promoted, we have stayed up and when it did go all wrong, we got it right again even when the decisions looked farcical.

    Now, we're back in the Premier League, spent next to nothing in the transfer market, already sacked one head coach, and things look precarious once more. But we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are not a natural fit in the Premier League. For every season we are in it, it's a sock in the eye for the establishment. They don't want us there, they do their best to undermine us at every turn, but we still keep bouncing back, just like a weed in your beautifully manicured lawn.

    We, as a club, get so much right with an apparent blundering, haphazard policy. It shouldn't really work, but it does. There must be brilliance in the madness. Look at what the club is now compared to 10 years ago. We have improved beyond all recognition.

    We shouldn't be able to compete with billionaire owners. Money talks every time. If Pozzo had the wealth of Moshiri then we'd be challenging for the Premier League, I'm sure of it. It's the money that holds Watford back from becoming an established EPL club, but the fact we are there in the first place is a bit of a footballing miracle. You've only got to look at all the fallen EPL clubs in the Championship to see Watford are really in a good place. These are actually the good years. When the Pozzo's do finally call it a day, and they will one day, how likely are Watford going to be able to play top flight football? Unless a billionaire takes over, and we don't seem attractive enough for this type of owner, this is probably as good as it we may as well enjoy it...warts and all.
  26. Chumlax

    Chumlax Squad Player

    I don't entirely disagree at all, we have had a largely wonderful decade and it's thanks to the Pozzos - but I do think we also have to consider it in its context; the great majority of that wonder was built on the back of the first half (or so) of that decade, and the Prem stay that it engendered. That's great, but now is a crunch time, and it's not about the idea that we're not a natural Premier League club for me - it's the fact that it appears that we could secure being one for at least another decent stretch, if Gino just made one or two better decisions and one or two fewer (outwardly) inexplicable ones.

    It's not entitlement, it's a frustrated feeling of potentially missed opportunity, you know?

    The relegation came about because they lost their way in that regard, and it's fairly clear that one way or another, it financially crippled us and set us back almost to square one. Instead of building on an unparalleled half-decade stretch in the richest league in the world, we're instantly back to scrabbling around for ageing frees, big club cast-offs, and hopeful Pozzo prospects, whilst choosing between which of the most vital areas to strengthen (apparently).

    This is why I feel they need to ask themselves how their model is working, and, indeed, if it is - or, more presciently, if it is going to continue doing so into the next few years, when Premier League survival is fairly integral to it; both for selling players as the most valuable shop window, and attracting those you hope to sell one day. Money is of course important, but right now I'm not quite as inclined as you to say I'd sanction Gino and his merry band to be in charge of an Abu Dhabi-sized pot, were it to magically become available.

    We had all that guff about 'lessons learned' and the club reset in the summer, and then in just the next three months proceeded to watch pretty much every major mistake of the relegation cycle re-made anew, with one or two freshly thrown in (such as the astonishing sentimentalism/unfortunate arrogance of allowing Xisco to bumble his way into an actual Premier League season, with incredibly predictable results).

    Now, if they want to continue any kind of positive trajectory, they need a very impactful and probably fairly quick period of introspection, from which they emerge out the other side with some strong answers.
  27. Hogg-DEENEY!!!

    Hogg-DEENEY!!! Squad Player

    I mean, the foundations were set in that very first season when the scenery of the Championship (and of course Udinese) was very different. That's enabled us, even with a myriad of ****-ups, to still be at least a yoyo club, and while I think the chaotic structure of the club's ruthless hire and fire policy avoids the worst case scenario in a lot of cases (does Jokanovic keep us up? Do we get relegated with QSF if we didn't replace him with Mazzarri? Does Ivic get us promoted?), I don't think we're ever going to be an established Prem club like what Brighton and Palace (two clubs little bigger than us historically, if they are bigger than us at all) look like being now if we don't start actually putting in a mid to long term plan in place rather than throw **** at the wall and hope it sticks
    SkylaRose and Chumlax like this.
  28. Forzainglese

    Forzainglese Reservist

    So what we collectively seem to be saying is that the other clubs are catching up with their football-savvyness (if that's a word).
    I don't think the Pozzos have become stupid, but it may be that they are being increasingly hard-pressed to maintain their model as the competition hots up. And that may be leading to some rather desperate throws of the dice more recently, only some of which come off.
    Incidentally, I don't think this is all going in one direction: Not all rich clubs have successfully brought in the right people, at least first time. Everton, for instance. Villa threw a shed-load of cash at their re-entry to the top table and only stayed up through sheer luck. Fulham. Spurs and Arsenal not really punching their weight. And so on.
    Nearly all of them know they should get the right people in, but they've still got to judge who the right people are.
    I don't suppose, though, that it is going to get easier, although there is a number of possible future scenarios for the Premier League.
    Cthulhu and SkylaRose like this.
  29. SkylaRose

    SkylaRose Administrator Staff Member

    Arsenal may have a lot of money, but their Amercian backer Stan Kronkee (sp) is one of the most dis-interested people in football I know. I would rather we had Gino, not a wealthy but at least he somewhat cares about our plight.
    scummybear likes this.
  30. scummybear

    scummybear Reservist

    It's an interesting one re: rich owners. The football league is full of rich owners who have no interest in bankrolling their club, as Skyla says there are even some incredibly rich owners in the Premier League who are only really interested in keeping the club ticking over at their current level.

    Compared to those, I'd rather have Gino. However, I'm concerned that we will be priced out of the league soon enough - Gino is certainly more hands-on than most, but once there are 20 bankrolled clubs in the country that won't be enough.

    The point that Geordie fan makes is a good one though, yes the PIF has enormous wealth, but it's an investment fund. If they're actually using it for a return rather than less legal purposes, then they won't be operating the club at a loss like a lot of the other big owners. Investors don't like it much if you reduce the value of their portfolio. In which case, does that mean they'll be using a more sustainable model and not just throwing money around, as expected?
  31. toffeeblue9

    toffeeblue9 First Year Pro

    I think the point you make here is a good one, but it makes the supposition that the Saudi investment fund is solely looking for a return on their investment. There could, conceivably, be other aims here. Not a big fan of the term "sportwashing" but it's entirely plausible that the Saudis could look at this investment as a means to increase their worldwide profile and better their public image which, let's be honest, has been in the toilet for some time. Making an actual monetary return on their investment doesn't necessarily have to be the aim here rather than furthering the interests of the Saudi state.
  32. a19tgg

    a19tgg Squad Player

    Yes, I think there is a difference between placing relatively small investments in what you’d consider relatively ‘blue chip’ stock like Disney, Uber, Facebook, Starbucks etc. To then wholly owning a PL football club. From an investment point of view, when you consider the absolutely humongous size of their fund it doesn’t really make sense as an investment. There would be a million different ways to invest your money more wisely if that was the aim of the game, it’s not an easy feat to make money out of a football club, and it’s not like a business like one of their normal investments that can just grow and grow year on year without you having to do anything. So there is more to it that it just being another business, because if it was just about business you wouldn’t buy a football club.

    There is also the fact that it’s not necessarily about a physical return on their investment but the value of their investment. Man Utd is worth £4bn, City about 2bn, Newcastle cost £300m. If they plough a couple of billion into Newcastle and they become worth a similar figure then that’s an investment on their balance sheet that’s worth several billion, so they haven’t lost the money, they’ve created an asset.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2021
    CaveManHornet likes this.
  33. toffeeblue9

    toffeeblue9 First Year Pro

    Exactly - there are lots and lots of places a sovereign wealth fund can invest money. Typically property in places like London etc, blue chip stocks, commodities etc etc - a football club is far more esoteric and, frankly, unlikely to yield much of a return on investment. With the right level of investment it may well become an asset on their balance sheet, but it's not one they could ever realistically liquidate if the need arose.

    The suspicion is that the word "investment" here encompasses far more than just your usual understanding of investing for a return on your money - they're potentially investing in their profile, their PR and, frankly, as a vanity play to be seen alongside Abu Dhabi, Qatar etc

    You'd hope it may be the catalyst to really look at finances and potentially employ a global salary cap of some sort to enable a level playing field, but that won't happen because it restricts the flow of money into the game and nobody important wants to stem that
    Diamond and a19tgg like this.
  34. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    Anyone remember the furore over the drama documentary “Death of a Princess”? That was in 1980, based on events from 1977.
  35. Filbert

    Filbert Leicester supporting bloke

    Rodgers favourite for the Newcastle job :D:D:D

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