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numbeast

Structuring Transfer Roles

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Firstly this is neither a criticism or a ringing endorsement of anyone at the club, nor is it based on any kind of itk information, just my thoughts.

It’s been stated that the club doesn’t allocate a transfer budget or a wages allowance as such, but work on a case by case basis. It’s also been suggestion that transfers have to be sanctioned by Steve Lansdown. It has also been mentioned on here that Mark Ashton has a large say in identifying prospective targets and presenting Lee Johnson a short list from which to choose from. Is this set up a good or bad idea?

To me, there seems to be far too much outside interference with the football side of things to lay the total blame on Lee Johnson. That’s not to say he is entirely blameless. Steve Cottrill had difficulties recruiting in the transfer window the first season we came up. Much was made about offers we made for Gayle and Grey but little was known about the terms we offered them. True they both went on to bigger and better things. Jump now to last January. Without doubt the best first half of a season since, at least, our play-off final season. Just like that season the squad was crying out for fresh faces, players that, not only had the ability to strengthen our position, but were willing to “buy into” the project. Rather than look to players that would help push us towards the play-off or better we sign Liam Walsh on a permanent deal and who can only really classed as “one for the future”,  Diony who was completely bereft of confidence and Ryan Kent who failed to live up to his hype on loan.

Given Gary Johnson’s experiences do you not think his son would, given the choice, preferred a better window? The way I see it those in charge of the purse strings thought “ we have come this far with the squad we have why spend money now”. Granted we had players returning from injury but nonetheless a couple of investments when we were sitting pretty could have changed history. I believe the decision not to invest came from the top. We must remember Steve Lansdown has employed staff  in his business life, but these employees don’t suffer the same type of fatigue as professional sportsmen do.

Now some might say why didn’t Johnson insist? Why did he tow the party line? When I worked in junior management I would regularly speak out against thing or highlight the need for investment in certain areas, often to no avail. Once the meeting was over I had to sell the idea to staff like it was my idea, anything less would risk my job. Who’s to say LJ didn’t do the same? Going back to Cotts, he made it quite clear he wasn’t happy with the lack of transfers that season so when things went pear shaped it gave the hierarchy the chance to remove a disloyal employee.

Would it not be better if LJ was given a war chest for the season with budgets for transfer fees and wages? Then he would only have to go to SL in exceptional situations? Mark Ashtons job should be about the negotiations of fees and wages, getting the best value for money and when he doesn’t think he is getting that value going back to LJ and saying “are you sure because it’ll take X amount out of your kitty” Clearing things with Steve on a case by case basis is about business not about football. Like any financially astute person he sees spreadsheets and profit & lost rather than from a pure footballing perspective.

Most people on here know as much as Steve Lansdown with regards to signings, which is to say not a lot really. He is, once you strip away the very important part about being a generous benefactor, just a supporter like we are. As I said at the start this isn’t about apportioning blame or exonerating anyone but it’s about redefining the structure and roles within the club.

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With respect...it doesn't work like that. I'm guessing from your post you are unaware or don't know how the FFP system works...where Clubs are limited to their spending depending on how much they actually make as a Club, and it's assessed over a three year period.

If these rules didn't apply...any owner could go out and spend big in the transfer market and pay huge wages.

The whole transfer system, FFP, transfer windows, Agents, Players contracts etc...is an absolute minefield. You need a bloomin degree to understand it all properly.

When figures and names get banded about, like it was a shopping list, it goes against everything.

 

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9 minutes ago, spudski said:

With respect...it doesn't work like that. I'm guessing from your post you are unaware or don't know how the FFP system works...where Clubs are limited to their spending depending on how much they actually make as a Club, and it's assessed over a three year period.

If these rules didn't apply...any owner could go out and spend big in the transfer market and pay huge wages.

The whole transfer system, FFP, transfer windows, Agents, Players contracts etc...is an absolute minefield. You need a bloomin degree to understand it all properly.

When figures and names get banded about, like it was a shopping list, it goes against everything.

 

No I'm fully aware of FFP and if transfer and wage budget were allocated these would be in-line with those requirement, in some ways it would be easier to maintain those limits. If, at the end of last season , Lee Johnson said to SL "we need x,y and z before we factor in any out goings, how much can I spend and what percentage will I retain from player sales" he would have a clear picture. The only time he'd need to go back to Steve Lansdown would be if the opportunity arose to sign a high profile player but would require an increase in either budget.

I know this sounds like "Football Manager" but with a clear indication of funds available Johnson would know if he could afford to go after a Championship experienced target or look for a cheaper import/ lower league gem. It's ok Lee Johnson has the final say but to me he should have total control to spend a defined budget as he sees fit. We all to often hear that the owner or the CEO have a large input into identifying targets but ultimately it's the manager/head coach who shoulders the blame for these signings (think David James). As I say I don't honestly know who transfers are conducted but some of the rumours lead me to believe it's not always the coach who get to identify them.

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It’s 100% NOT the head coach who identifies targets. 

This is 100% the responsibility of Ashton. And he will know the boundaries in which he can play re wages, fees, FFP etc. 

Our model has a head of recruitment who commands a team of scouts and analysts, telling them who to produce reports upon. Ashton is the top of the tree in this department and so everyone reports into him. It’s Ashton who runs the whole show when it comes to identifying, scouting, bidding for and signing players. 

Yes, the Head Coach is included in recruitment discussions, but the involvement of whomever is in the HC role (ie not just LJ but whoever else may come in the future), is minimal in regard to actual player identification. 

Thats our model. Whether we like it or not. 

Now, I had it on very good authority that LJ himself got frustrated with this model last year and didn’t want any more inexperienced foreign signings. This summer he wanted players who could hit the ground running with EFL experience. So it seems that he was able to have some influence in the type of targets we went for this year, but I’m not sure he was providing actual names - just a remit of what positions he’d have wanted and what type of player he’d desire. 

Ultimately ALL questions, concerns, praise, criticism of ALL of our transfers lands firmly and squarely at the door of Ashton. 

LJ’s role as HC is to take the squad he’s given and train & coach them to improve. He does not (or at least should not) receive any criticism over our transfer dealings, but he is certainly 100% responsible for how they perform. 

Edited by Harry
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6 minutes ago, numbeast said:

No I'm fully aware of FFP and if transfer and wage budget were allocated these would be in-line with those requirement, in some ways it would be easier to maintain those limits. If, at the end of last season , Lee Johnson said to SL "we need x,y and z before we factor in any out goings, how much can I spend and what percentage will I retain from player sales" he would have a clear picture. The only time he'd need to go back to Steve Lansdown would be if the opportunity arose to sign a high profile player but would require an increase in either budget.

I know this sounds like "Football Manager" but with a clear indication of funds available Johnson would know if he could afford to go after a Championship experienced target or look for a cheaper import/ lower league gem. It's ok Lee Johnson has the final say but to me he should have total control to spend a defined budget as he sees fit. We all to often hear that the owner or the CEO have a large input into identifying targets but ultimately it's the manager/head coach who shoulders the blame for these signings (think David James). As I say I don't honestly know who transfers are conducted but some of the rumours lead me to believe it's not always the coach who get to identify them.

I don't think it's Ashton who identifies targets. He's the money man.

LJ has a whole host of players on his radar and a system that will tell him everything he needs to know about a player.

He will suggest that we need a certain type of player for what he wants...the system and analytical team will throw up players that fit his criteria.

They will see who's available, what he costs, type of contract, Agent, then get the analytical team to go phorensic on him.

He'll be Scouted.

Ashton will do all the budgeting and say what we have to play with,and do the majority of negotiations with player and agent and club.

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The way football operates, as far as I know, is very different to most other types of business. 

For instance,a senior manager in industry or commerce, will have responsibility for the budget of his department and authorization to spend up to a limit without reference back to the board. Many of these managers will have had training in basic economics and/or accounting as a minimum.

In football,the great majority are ex players who have,I guess, very little accounting experience. I would also guess that nowadays, many players in the top two or three leagues, will use their agent or a financial services company to deal with their millions.

So when this player becomes a manager, it seems to me, that they all have this belief that if the team isn't doing so well, the answer to that problem is to spend a few more millions of the owners cash.

So to give them the control over transfer spending would be financial suicide for the club and owner.

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I find it highly improbable that Ashton and his analysts are coming up with a string of players who have played for Barnsley in the recent past!

Anyone who thinks Lee has little input to the list of targets isn't paying attention I would suggest.

I think it makes great sense to have someone at the club, other than the HC, who has a strategy to bring in a certain type of player. Otherwise when you change HC you risk a massive clear out of 'his' players.

Edited by robin_unreliant
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14 minutes ago, spudski said:

I don't think it's Ashton who identifies targets. He's the money man.

LJ has a whole host of players on his radar and a system that will tell him everything he needs to know about a player.

He will suggest that we need a certain type of player for what he wants...the system and analytical team will throw up players that fit his criteria.

They will see who's available, what he costs, type of contract, Agent, then get the analytical team to go phorensic on him.

He'll be Scouted.

Ashton will do all the budgeting and say what we have to play with,and do the majority of negotiations with player and agent and club.

If LinkedIn (admittedly an imprecise guide) our Scouting network isn't up to as much as I thought.

Current City Scouts- and I don't mean academy necessarily or first team, but presumably looking for transfers (albeit only listed on LinkedIn)

  • Lil Fucillio
  • Mervyn Day

In terms of our Analytical team (again this could be wildly out of date- or maybe just Senior Staff)?

  • Sam Stanton
  • Toby Loveland
  • Chester J H Perks
  • Simon Cozens
  • Adam Peverall

Hard to know how that compares to other clubs at this level tbh who aren't PL but have ambitions (eventually) to try and get there.

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32 minutes ago, robin_unreliant said:

I find it highly improbable that Ashton and his analysts are coming up with a string of players who have played for Barnsley in the recent past!

Anyone who thinks Lee has little input to the list of targets isn't paying attention I would suggest.

I think it makes great sense to have someone at the club, other than the HC, who has a strategy to bring in a certain type of player. Otherwise when you change HC you risk a massive clear out of 'his' players.

I think the summer window saw a slight shift in LJ’s commitment to the HC role and, from what I had heard, he wanted a bit more say and he certainly wanted an end to the unknown foreigner experiment! 

There’s obviously no doubt that any HC will of course have his own names whom he’d want, so absolutely he would have been able to suggest some of the players you hint at, but the whole philosophy is one where the HC is most definitely a junior contributor in the recruitment. 

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5 hours ago, numbeast said:

No I'm fully aware of FFP and if transfer and wage budget were allocated these would be in-line with those requirement, in some ways it would be easier to maintain those limits. If, at the end of last season , Lee Johnson said to SL "we need x,y and z before we factor in any out goings, how much can I spend and what percentage will I retain from player sales" he would have a clear picture. The only time he'd need to go back to Steve Lansdown would be if the opportunity arose to sign a high profile player but would require an increase in either budget.

I know this sounds like "Football Manager" but with a clear indication of funds available Johnson would know if he could afford to go after a Championship experienced target or look for a cheaper import/ lower league gem. It's ok Lee Johnson has the final say but to me he should have total control to spend a defined budget as he sees fit. We all to often hear that the owner or the CEO have a large input into identifying targets but ultimately it's the manager/head coach who shoulders the blame for these signings (think David James). As I say I don't honestly know who transfers are conducted but some of the rumours lead me to believe it's not always the coach who get to identify them.

I can’t believe there are separate budgets. 

The bean counters will surely provide projections of anticipated income and costs, especially how much the playing staff costs.  This hopefully leaves a figure (£) available for new players as part of the overall costs.  They will also know how these costs change over subsequent years, to cover contract length.

The construction of each deal for players brought in will determine how much is used. All figures below are for example purposes and include any bonuses. I’ve ignored signing on fees and agent fees too.

Maenpaa (the simple example) on a free on £15k per week for a 1 year deal uses £750k (ignoring one year option we Have)

Hunt with a fee of £1.5m on £12k per over 3 years where we’ve paid everything up front will cost £2.1m this year, and £600k in each of years 2 and 3.  However FFP and our P&L will amortise his contract by £1.1m per year (£500k pa fee / £600k pa wages), so our cash flow is affected more in year 1, but our P&L is better, albeit will cost £1.1m each year in the accounts.

So, ultimately it’s really difficult for SL or MA to say “Lee - you have a budget of £x million”....each deal will probably get plugged into a financial model and the result analysed to see the affect on our finances, P&L, FFP and cash flow probably....not just at the point but future years too.

The following happens when we sell a player.

Lets say Bryan with one year left on his contract at £8k per week is sold to Fulham for £6.4m.  Fulham agree to pay over 2 instalments.  We get £3.2m now, same next year.  From a cash flow perspective, great, we have money to pay the bills.  From a P&L / FFP perspective, not only do we put £6.4m (he cost us nothing) into the books, we also save the £400k in wages due, so it looks like a £6.8m transfer profit.  Fulham will be spreading his costs over his 4 year contract.

Milan Djúric however signed on a 2 1/2 year deal, for £1.5m on £10k per week, is costing us £600k fee + £500k wages over year.  With one year left on his deal his contract is worth £600k fee / £500k wages.  We sell him for £750k....we actually make a transfer profit (for P&L / FFP purposes) of £150k and don’t have to pay £500k wages either.  Net spend it is a loss of £750k on his fee, but the bean counters don’t care about that!  In effect that £150k + £500k is money freed up. 

I’m sure it’s a bit more complicated than that, but you can bet the Finance man works closely with MA to understand the financial ramifications of any player coming in / going out, coupled with revenues, e.g. gate receipts up or down etc.

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7 hours ago, Harry said:

It’s 100% NOT the head coach who identifies targets. 

This is 100% the responsibility of Ashton. And he will know the boundaries in which he can play re wages, fees, FFP etc. 

Our model has a head of recruitment who commands a team of scouts and analysts, telling them who to produce reports upon. Ashton is the top of the tree in this department and so everyone reports into him. It’s Ashton who runs the whole show when it comes to identifying, scouting, bidding for and signing players. 

Yes, the Head Coach is included in recruitment discussions, but the involvement of whomever is in the HC role (ie not just LJ but whoever else may come in the future), is minimal in regard to actual player identification. 

Thats our model. Whether we like it or not. 

Now, I had it on very good authority that LJ himself got frustrated with this model last year and didn’t want any more inexperienced foreign signings. This summer he wanted players who could hit the ground running with EFL experience. So it seems that he was able to have some influence in the type of targets we went for this year, but I’m not sure he was providing actual names - just a remit of what positions he’d have wanted and what type of player he’d desire. 

Ultimately ALL questions, concerns, praise, criticism of ALL of our transfers lands firmly and squarely at the door of Ashton. 

LJ’s role as HC is to take the squad he’s given and train & coach them to improve. He does not (or at least should not) receive any criticism over our transfer dealings, but he is certainly 100% responsible for how they perform. 

I mean, I'm going to disagree with you to an extend here Harry, apologies if it's a bit of a rant. 

It can't be "100%" Ashton's responsibility. And I think the guy is a complete fraud and a sanctimious egotistic toe-tag of a bloke and definitely responsible for our recruitment go a significant degree.

We signed Marley Watkins. I mean for the love of God. You can't seriously say a scout saw his performances for Norwich, turns to Ashton giving a glowing reccomendation and thumbs up.

LJ has input. He signs off on transfers. And if it's as much of a problem as its apparently become, as he's currently making out. He should of been proactive, given his thoughts to SL and said "It's not working".

The setup isnt that different as it was under Cotts. The HC still has input. Ergo the signings of Elliott, Wilbs, Garita, El Abd, Matt Smith. While Burt and his team scouted the likes of Ayling, Freeman, Korey, Kane, and Fredericks, the younger core of the squad (bar the latter) and many others. You can see Cotts input with the experience. The leaders.

The biggest difference is that Burt was a scout first and foremost.

And the biggest mistake we made was getting rid of him in lieu of Pellings mistake on the recruitment front, and hiring Ashton.

Our scouting has suffered so badly for it.

End of the day, Ashton hides and LJ keeps deflecting blame.

The last 3 years in terms of our infrastructure towards recruitment have led us to this situation and the utter shambles of the last two windows. Shocking scouting and lack of identifying suitable targets.

If we want this system to work. We need someone who fundamentally understands football scouting, working with an advisor in a negotiations capacity. We fired the last guy who fit the bill.

Ashton and LJ are both culpable and responsible. Jointly.

 

 

Edited by Fuber
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1 hour ago, Fuber said:

The setup isnt that different as it was under Cotts. The HC still has input. Ergo the signings of Elliott, Wilbs, Garita, El Abd, Matt Smith. 

While Burt and his team scouted the likes of Ayling, Freeman, Korey, Kane, and Fredericks

Is this just a guess or do you know this for definite?

Edited by Phileas Fogg

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3 hours ago, Davefevs said:

I can’t believe there are separate budgets. 

The bean counters will surely provide projections of anticipated income and costs, especially how much the playing staff costs.  This hopefully leaves a figure (£) available for new players as part of the overall costs.  They will also know how these costs change over subsequent years, to cover contract length.

The construction of each deal for players brought in will determine how much is used. All figures below are for example purposes and include any bonuses. I’ve ignored signing on fees and agent fees too.

Maenpaa (the simple example) on a free on £15k per week for a 1 year deal uses £750k (ignoring one year option we Have)

Hunt with a fee of £1.5m on £12k per over 3 years where we’ve paid everything up front will cost £2.1m this year, and £600k in each of years 2 and 3.  However FFP and our P&L will amortise his contract by £1.1m per year (£500k pa fee / £600k pa wages), so our cash flow is affected more in year 1, but our P&L is better, albeit will cost £1.1m each year in the accounts.

So, ultimately it’s really difficult for SL or MA to say “Lee - you have a budget of £x million”....each deal will probably get plugged into a financial model and the result analysed to see the affect on our finances, P&L, FFP and cash flow probably....not just at the point but future years too.

The following happens when we sell a player.

Lets say Bryan with one year left on his contract at £8k per week is sold to Fulham for £6.4m.  Fulham agree to pay over 2 instalments.  We get £3.2m now, same next year.  From a cash flow perspective, great, we have money to pay the bills.  From a P&L / FFP perspective, not only do we put £6.4m (he cost us nothing) into the books, we also save the £400k in wages due, so it looks like a £6.8m transfer profit.  Fulham will be spreading his costs over his 4 year contract.

Milan Djúric however signed on a 2 1/2 year deal, for £1.5m on £10k per week, is costing us £600k fee + £500k wages over year.  With one year left on his deal his contract is worth £600k fee / £500k wages.  We sell him for £750k....we actually make a transfer profit (for P&L / FFP purposes) of £150k and don’t have to pay £500k wages either.  Net spend it is a loss of £750k on his fee, but the bean counters don’t care about that!  In effect that £150k + £500k is money freed up. 

I’m sure it’s a bit more complicated than that, but you can bet the Finance man works closely with MA to understand the financial ramifications of any player coming in / going out, coupled with revenues, e.g. gate receipts up or down etc.

Heck of a well-written post that Dave. Top stuff.

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Since his name has been raised I think the club were wrong to remove Burt and are now, partly, paying the consequences by buying a load of dross and, in many cases, at ridiculously high fees. Not a chance we would have bought Engvall, for example, with Burt in the job. Huge mistake on SL's pocket and our decent progress unearthing many of those players that helped Cotts win League 1 with a canter; such progress blown away by some very poor decisions.

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8 hours ago, Davefevs said:

I can’t believe there are separate budgets. 

The bean counters will surely provide projections of anticipated income and costs, especially how much the playing staff costs.  This hopefully leaves a figure (£) available for new players as part of the overall costs.  They will also know how these costs change over subsequent years, to cover contract length.

The construction of each deal for players brought in will determine how much is used. All figures below are for example purposes and include any bonuses. I’ve ignored signing on fees and agent fees too.

Maenpaa (the simple example) on a free on £15k per week for a 1 year deal uses £750k (ignoring one year option we Have)

Hunt with a fee of £1.5m on £12k per over 3 years where we’ve paid everything up front will cost £2.1m this year, and £600k in each of years 2 and 3.  However FFP and our P&L will amortise his contract by £1.1m per year (£500k pa fee / £600k pa wages), so our cash flow is affected more in year 1, but our P&L is better, albeit will cost £1.1m each year in the accounts.

So, ultimately it’s really difficult for SL or MA to say “Lee - you have a budget of £x million”....each deal will probably get plugged into a financial model and the result analysed to see the affect on our finances, P&L, FFP and cash flow probably....not just at the point but future years too.

The following happens when we sell a player.

Lets say Bryan with one year left on his contract at £8k per week is sold to Fulham for £6.4m.  Fulham agree to pay over 2 instalments.  We get £3.2m now, same next year.  From a cash flow perspective, great, we have money to pay the bills.  From a P&L / FFP perspective, not only do we put £6.4m (he cost us nothing) into the books, we also save the £400k in wages due, so it looks like a £6.8m transfer profit.  Fulham will be spreading his costs over his 4 year contract.

Milan Djúric however signed on a 2 1/2 year deal, for £1.5m on £10k per week, is costing us £600k fee + £500k wages over year.  With one year left on his deal his contract is worth £600k fee / £500k wages.  We sell him for £750k....we actually make a transfer profit (for P&L / FFP purposes) of £150k and don’t have to pay £500k wages either.  Net spend it is a loss of £750k on his fee, but the bean counters don’t care about that!  In effect that £150k + £500k is money freed up. 

I’m sure it’s a bit more complicated than that, but you can bet the Finance man works closely with MA to understand the financial ramifications of any player coming in / going out, coupled with revenues, e.g. gate receipts up or down etc.

It's a lot more complicated than that Dave unfortunately.

As an example...transfer fees can be spread over years...they don't all get paid up front.

Then you have the short period of the transfer windows. What happens in those short periods can seriously effect what you have or don't have in your budget.

It's very much a catch 22...the January window being a complete nightmare. I fully understand why City didn't go full out trying to buy players in January last.

If you don't go up...you screw up your budget for the foreseeable future.

We seem to be 'playing to the rules'...which is sustainable. Unfortunately other Clubs in this division seem to be finding ways of cheating the system and getting away with it.

You could guarantee if City tried to be a bit 'clever;' the Authorities would come down on us like a tonne of bricks.

6 hours ago, Fuber said:

I mean, I'm going to disagree with you to an extend here Harry, apologies if it's a bit of a rant. 

It can't be "100%" Ashton's responsibility. And I think the guy is a complete fraud and a sanctimious egotistic toe-tag of a bloke and definitely responsible for our recruitment go a significant degree.

We signed Marley Watkins. I mean for the love of God. You can't seriously say a scout saw his performances for Norwich, turns to Ashton giving a glowing reccomendation and thumbs up.

LJ has input. He signs off on transfers. And if it's as much of a problem as its apparently become, as he's currently making out. He should of been proactive, given his thoughts to SL and said "It's not working".

The setup isnt that different as it was under Cotts. The HC still has input. Ergo the signings of Elliott, Wilbs, Garita, El Abd, Matt Smith. While Burt and his team scouted the likes of Ayling, Freeman, Korey, Kane, and Fredericks, the younger core of the squad (bar the latter) and many others. You can see Cotts input with the experience. The leaders.

The biggest difference is that Burt was a scout first and foremost.

And the biggest mistake we made was getting rid of him in lieu of Pellings mistake on the recruitment front, and hiring Ashton.

Our scouting has suffered so badly for it.

End of the day, Ashton hides and LJ keeps deflecting blame.

The last 3 years in terms of our infrastructure towards recruitment have led us to this situation and the utter shambles of the last two windows. Shocking scouting and lack of identifying suitable targets.

If we want this system to work. We need someone who fundamentally understands football scouting, working with an advisor in a negotiations capacity. We fired the last guy who fit the bill.

Ashton and LJ are both culpable and responsible. Jointly.

 

 

It's massively different to how Cotts worked.

As for Pelling and Burt...you couldn't be further from the truth.

Burt had to go...as did Cotts. Pelling left.

As for 'understanding football scouting'...our scouting and analytics is just as good as anyone's. They have the same players on their radar as many other clubs. It's whether we choose to go for them, or whether they want to come to us that's the difference.

4 hours ago, havanatopia said:

Since his name has been raised I think the club were wrong to remove Burt and are now, partly, paying the consequences by buying a load of dross and, in many cases, at ridiculously high fees. Not a chance we would have bought Engvall, for example, with Burt in the job. Huge mistake on SL's pocket and our decent progress unearthing many of those players that helped Cotts win League 1 with a canter; such progress blown away by some very poor decisions.

No...but we would have bought someone just as bad depending which Agent Burt had in his pocket.

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@spudski

You say our scouting and analytics term on the first team/transfer side has the right quality. Transfer record hit and miss IMO- but then the same for many clubs. That aside though, in your view does it have the right quantity? As in, does or strike you as top small, not big enough?

Where for example is a dedicated scout for the foreign market? Mathieu Louis Jean, who helped identity Kodjia left at the end of 2015/16 I think, and seems not to have been replaced.

On a general note the claims about our use of the foreign market by posters...

Kodjia was an unknown foreign player when he joined.goes down as a success. Diedhiou looks quite possible to also. Eliassson has certainly looked sharp from pre-season onwards- he's showing signs.

OTOH yeah, Engvall a total blowout. Djuric had some promising moments but injury unfortunately played a big part. Hegeler an interesting one, not suited to a midfield 2 certainly but good enough technically IMO- some injuries too. Pisano had some good games, had some bad games- not a roaring success but not Engvall either. Magnússon did okay, was shunted around quite a lot between left and centre back- don't think he was outstanding don't think he was dreadful.

Then you have some of our bigger name Championship signings. All a success right?

O'Neil started well, seemed to decline. Injuries doubtless played a role. Tomlin in 16/17 on a perm, first 3 months did fine, then went to shit. Attitude an issue? Matthews a disgrace on his 2nd loan spell really.

Point is a balanced approach is best tbh. You get successes and flops in each instance- and plenty who don't fit either category. 

On unknown foreign players. I suppose Boly, Cavaleiro,.Costa and Bonatini? Pretty obscure eh to many people...did okay.Huddersfield's fringe German contingent in 16/17 were also not exactly stars...

Whereas Derby and Villa went on spending sprees as well. Derby 2015 summer especially full of Championship stars...where did it get them?

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20 minutes ago, Mr Popodopolous said:

@spudski

You say our scouting and analytics term on the first team/transfer side has the right quality. Transfer record hit and miss IMO- but then the same for many clubs. That aside though, in your view does it have the right quantity? As in, does or strike you as top small, not big enough?

Where for example is a dedicated scout for the foreign market? Mathieu Louis Jean, who helped identity Kodjia left at the end of 2015/16 I think, and seems not to have been replaced.

On a general note the claims about our use of the foreign market by posters...

Kodjia was an unknown foreign player when he joined.goes down as a success. Diedhiou looks quite possible to also. Eliassson has certainly looked sharp from pre-season onwards- he's showing signs.

OTOH yeah, Engvall a total blowout. Djuric had some promising moments but injury unfortunately played a big part. Hegeler an interesting one, not suited to a midfield 2 certainly but good enough technically IMO- some injuries too. Pisano had some good games, had some bad games- not a roaring success but not Engvall either. Magnússon did okay, was shunted around quite a lot between left and centre back- don't think he was outstanding don't think he was dreadful.

Then you have some of our bigger name Championship signings. All a success right?

O'Neil started well, seemed to decline. Injuries doubtless played a role. Tomlin in 16/17 on a perm, first 3 months did fine, then went to shit. Attitude an issue? Matthews a disgrace on his 2nd loan spell really.

Point is a balanced approach is best tbh. You get successes and flops in each instance- and plenty who don't fit either category. 

On unknown foreign players. I suppose Boly, Cavaleiro,.Costa and Bonatini? Pretty obscure eh to many people...did okay.Huddersfield's fringe German contingent in 16/17 were also not exactly stars...

Whereas Derby and Villa went on spending sprees as well. Derby 2015 summer especially full of Championship stars...where did it get them?

Without putting my own slant on it...this is how our recruitment works and who is employed. Recently spoken about by Ashton... https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/bristol-city-transfers-team-scouting-1503989

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6 hours ago, Phileas Fogg said:

Is this just a guess or do you know this for definite?

An educated guess Fogg.

I highly doubt we'd of signed Wilbs or Wade without Cotts having a say. Same with Brownhill, Watkins, and Tammy for LJ.

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57 minutes ago, spudski said:

It's a lot more complicated than that Dave unfortunately.

As an example...transfer fees can be spread over years...they don't all get paid up front.

Then you have the short period of the transfer windows. What happens in those short periods can seriously effect what you have or don't have in your budget.

It's very much a catch 22...the January window being a complete nightmare. I fully understand why City didn't go full out trying to buy players in January last.

If you don't go up...you screw up your budget for the foreseeable future.

We seem to be 'playing to the rules'...which is sustainable. Unfortunately other Clubs in this division seem to be finding ways of cheating the system and getting away with it.

You could guarantee if City tried to be a bit 'clever;' the Authorities would come down on us like a tonne of bricks.

It's massively different to how Cotts worked.

As for Pelling and Burt...you couldn't be further from the truth.

Burt had to go...as did Cotts. Pelling left.

As for 'understanding football scouting'...our scouting and analytics is just as good as anyone's. They have the same players on their radar as many other clubs. It's whether we choose to go for them, or whether they want to come to us that's the difference.

No...but we would have bought someone just as bad depending which Agent Burt had in his pocket.

The issue is Spuds.

Our track record since Burt left has been pretty atrocious.

The only out and out successes have been, to a degree - Brownhill, Diedhiou, O'Dowda, and Eliasson, and so far Weimann.

We have a single profit under the new scouting team (Ashton onwards since Jan 2016).

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7 minutes ago, Fuber said:

An educated guess Fogg.

I highly doubt we'd of signed Wilbs or Wade without Cotts having a say. Same with Brownhill, Watkins, and Tammy for LJ.

Oh right.. thought you were saying that with some sort of proper knowledge behind it. Ok.

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13 minutes ago, Fuber said:

The issue is Spuds.

Our track record since Burt left has been pretty atrocious.

The only out and out successes have been, to a degree - Brownhill, Diedhiou, O'Dowda, and Eliasson, and so far Weimann.

We have a single profit under the new scouting team (Ashton onwards since Jan 2016).

You have to realise that Ashton was working and liasing with this Club way before he 'officially' joined.

Our recruitment under Burt and SC was a complete disaster the summer we went up.

There are reasons for that...and it's why both aren't with us anymore, same for Design Taylor.

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I feel there are two factors which are often overlooked in these threads..

Firstly - the assumption that every arrival needs to be excellent; otherwise he’s a ‘failure’. Sometimes you need to bring in a decent squad player who’ll give you options, but may not necessarily be the best in the league. Bailey Wright, Watkins and Hegeler being just three examples.

Secondly - when we were promoted, we had a small squad. We needed players, and we aren’t able to recruit the league’s best. It was always going to be the case that some signings would just be solid pros who’d bulk up the squad and be useful (but perhaps not outstanding) options. Obviously they’d still cost to bring them in, hence why it feels like we spent lots when LJ first arrived.

These aren’t intended to be excuses as such - just two factors I feel are overlooked. I too have concerns about our recruitment but understand the many factors that make it difficult.

Edited by Phileas Fogg
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1 hour ago, DirtySanchez said:

LJ and coaching staff choose targets, probably from scouting and watching.

MA approaches said player/club to work out finances/deal.

MA to SL & LJ with deal for approval.

That’s what I always thought happens, LJ and coaches say which areas need strengthening and then see who is available. Don’t they have some sort of computer programme where they crunch data and the ‘ideal’ player gets recommended. I think LJ was quoted about this once, a while back. LJ identified a player (who I can’t remember) but he was way out of our league, so we went for the 2nd best and the programme came up with O’Dowda (?) who we already had. 

Agents too are always touting around their players, I can guarantee now transfer window open or shut there will be deals being talked about for next Summer never mind January. 

Players are identified by LJ & Co. Ashton and Co do the paperwork. SL signs the cheque. That’s it in a nutshell. 

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1 hour ago, Phileas Fogg said:

I feel there are two factors which are often overlooked in these threads..

Firstly - the assumption that every arrival needs to be excellent; otherwise he’s a ‘failure’. Sometimes you need to bring in a decent squad player who’ll give you options, but may not necessarily be the best in the league. Bailey Wright, Watkins and Hegeler being just three examples.

Secondly - when we were promoted, we had a small squad. We needed players, and we aren’t able to recruit the league’s best. It was always going to be the case that some signings would just be solid pros who’d bulk up the squad and be useful (but perhaps not outstanding) options. Obviously they’d still cost to bring them in, hence why it feels like we spent lots when LJ first arrived.

These aren’t intended to be excuses as such - just two factors I feel are overlooked. I too have concerns about our recruitment but understand the many factors that make it difficult.

It wasn't just the first team squad, everything below that had been neglected. Often happens because managers know that statistically their tenure is likely to be short.

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1 hour ago, RedM said:

That’s what I always thought happens, LJ and coaches say which areas need strengthening and then see who is available. Don’t they have some sort of computer programme where they crunch data and the ‘ideal’ player gets recommended. I think LJ was quoted about this once, a while back. LJ identified a player (who I can’t remember) but he was way out of our league, so we went for the 2nd best and the programme came up with O’Dowda (?) who we already had. 

Agents too are always touting around their players, I can guarantee now transfer window open or shut there will be deals being talked about for next Summer never mind January. 

Players are identified by LJ & Co. Ashton and Co do the paperwork. SL signs the cheque. That’s it in a nutshell. 

Read the link and listen to the vid in the post I put up M...it explains it all there.

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2 hours ago, Fuber said:

The only out and out successes have been, to a degree - Brownhill, Diedhiou, O'Dowda, and Eliasson, and so far Weimann.

 

I'd say that Paterson, Wright and Baker have all been successful. They were key players in the side that beat Manchester Utd last year, as was Magnússon, who may have moved on but that happens and doesn't make them unsuccessful.

Tammy Abraham was a pretty decent signing too.

I find it genuinely surprising that some people think City's recruitment has been some kind of disaster in the last few years. Only Engvall has really been an expensive disappointment in that time and sometimes things just don't work out. Nobody succeeds 100% of the time.

Furthermore, with some of the more experienced players, they may be doing things in training and the dressing room that we don't see on the pitch. Hegeler and O'Neill hardly set the world alight with their on-pitch performances but we don't know what other influences they had. They might have set positive examples with their professionalism, or maybe helped players out with advice and support. They might not, I don't know, but just because we've not seen them do brilliant things on the pitch it doesn't mean they've not contributed.

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2 hours ago, Phileas Fogg said:

I feel there are two factors which are often overlooked in these threads..

Firstly - the assumption that every arrival needs to be excellent; otherwise he’s a ‘failure’. Sometimes you need to bring in a decent squad player who’ll give you options, but may not necessarily be the best in the league. Bailey Wright, Watkins and Hegeler being just three examples.

Secondly - when we were promoted, we had a small squad. We needed players, and we aren’t able to recruit the league’s best. It was always going to be the case that some signings would just be solid pros who’d bulk up the squad and be useful (but perhaps not outstanding) options. Obviously they’d still cost to bring them in, hence why it feels like we spent lots when LJ first arrived.

These aren’t intended to be excuses as such - just two factors I feel are overlooked. I too have concerns about our recruitment but understand the many factors that make it difficult.

Agree with this. Hit v Miss is very binary tbh. Fillers, squad players are quite important.

Yeah correct- would also add our financial situation was not so fantastic in 15/16 for a start which restricted our room for manoeuvre. Plus as you say small squad- solid but not outstanding pros needed to be added just to keep us ticking along at that stage IMO.

@spudski

There's nothing that clever or mysterious about how say Forest, or Villa are cheating the system. Nothing at all- it's not at all hard to work out that a debt write off with a new owner of £40.4m will give you enormous room to move- and isn't exactly permitted under FFP. Villa, nothing quite like that just seem to be sticking their fingers in ears and declaring 'lalala, I can't hear you'. Still time if they so choose to sell Grealish for £30m in Jan which changes the equation significantly- that would be allowable, and maybe they are gambling on being in a Wolves type position then selling Grealish and others in Jan to square the circle. It's a loophole but one that would be allowed under the rules, such as they are.

Clubs who do comply should take legal action to force the EFL to enforce their sanctions correctly IMO- if they get away with it that is.

Edited by Mr Popodopolous
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In response to some of the points made above in various posts:

It's particularly unlikely that Bristol City will flout FPP because have an owner who has made his fortunes in the (highly-regulated) financial markets and he's committed to this club for the long-term.  The media would have a field day if Steve Lansdown were to start throwing money into the club in the same way that Aston Villa, Forest, Bournemouth, QPR and Wolves have done.  He can't risk it for his own reputation and to protect the future prospects of Hargreaves-Lansdown.

Secondly, we have to get past this myth that the lack of good loans and buys in the January transfer window cost us promotion.  Everyone could see that the squad was already suffering and needed reinforcement but what were our realistic options?  Three players that we have just sold for a total of £20M were not able to do enough to get us over the line.  How much would it have cost to bring in enough additional players who would have added strength to the squad with absolute certainty?  £25M, £30M, £40M or more?  This is just not our arena.  Every metric that measures the size of our club would realistically place us in the lower half of the Championship.  For FFP reasons and where we are in the football pyramid, we do not have access to sign the players that would guarantee us promotion.  It might have worked out with Kent and Diony but it didn't. Nobody has yet identified players that would have made the difference with anything other than hindsight.  The January window is a nightmare because clubs do not want to release good players and they are proportionally more expensive than the summer window.  We could never do enough good business to compensate for an over-achieving squad that was then hit with injuries and fatigue.

We should all have an opinion but nobody on this forum has enough of the whole picture.  Some of the commentary on our January transfer business was naïve to say the least.  This is not Football Manager.

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4 hours ago, Fuber said:

The issue is Spuds.

Our track record since Burt left has been pretty atrocious.

The only out and out successes have been, to a degree - Brownhill, Diedhiou, O'Dowda, and Eliasson, and so far Weimann.

We don't have a single profit under the new scouting team (Ashton onwards since Jan 2016).

 

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8 hours ago, spudski said:

It's a lot more complicated than that Dave unfortunately.

As an example...transfer fees can be spread over years...they don't all get paid up front.

That’s why I gave a fictitious example of fees being spread, you must’ve missed that bit!

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Just to be clear. I quoted myself as the edit button was not working on my Samsung. 

@Phileas Fogg just for the record I meant 'we don't have a single profit under the new scouting team' in terms of profit on players signed by said scouting team. Not on players who we've sold since the change up in general.

I may not rate Ashton highly but he is a very good negotiator when getting fees for assets. I.e. the fees for Bryan and Reid. Magnússon to an extent as well.

Edited by Fuber

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1 hour ago, Davefevs said:

That’s why I gave a fictitious example of fees being spread, you must’ve missed that bit!

My mistake Dave...thought you purely meant wages.

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1 hour ago, Davefevs said:

That’s why I gave a fictitious example of fees being spread, you must’ve missed that bit!

People confuse cash flow (payment terms) and P&L here all the time.  FFP runs off P&L not cash flow as I understand it.

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3 minutes ago, Nibor said:

People confuse cash flow (payment terms) and P&L here all the time.  FFP runs off P&L not cash flow as I understand it.

Correct. It's profit and loss annually.

£13m per season over a rolling 3 year period is the absolute limit. If owners don't put cash/equity in, that allowance falls to £5m per season.

Excluded from the costs are- and I don't know all exclusions, but it seems to be: stadia expenditure, academy/youth and Community Spend. Teams can spend as much as they like on these and it doesn't count towards FFP.

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24 minutes ago, Mr Popodopolous said:

Correct. It's profit and loss annually.

£13m per season over a rolling 3 year period is the absolute limit. If owners don't put cash/equity in, that allowance falls to £5m per season.

Excluded from the costs are- and I don't know all exclusions, but it seems to be: stadia expenditure, academy/youth and Community Spend. Teams can spend as much as they like on these and it doesn't count towards FFP.

The effects of it being P&L based over 3 years are interesting.

You sell Jonathan Kodjia to Villa for £15m, £11m unconditional.  You generally (I think they'd take a dim view of changing accounting policies too much) would have to recognise that £11m immediately regardless of payment terms.  Three years later it falls out of the FFP scope in one big hit.

Same deal spending only in reverse.  I imagine this makes for some real headaches and unusual deal structures when you consider the knock on effects for the other club(s) in the chain.

 

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Does Lansdown get heavily involved in transfers?

Lots of discussion on our forum at the moment about Hemmings not sanctioning certain deals etc etc.

Players have been sold for big money but as of yet very little investment this summer.

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1 hour ago, Nibor said:

People confuse cash flow (payment terms) and P&L here all the time.  FFP runs off P&L not cash flow as I understand it.

Indeed they do. Indeed it does.

 

30 minutes ago, Nibor said:

The effects of it being P&L based over 3 years are interesting.

You sell Jonathan Kodjia to Villa for £15m, £11m unconditional.  You generally (I think they'd take a dim view of changing accounting policies too much) would have to recognise that £11m immediately regardless of payment terms.  Three years later it falls out of the FFP scope in one big hit.

Same deal spending only in reverse.  I imagine this makes for some real headaches and unusual deal structures when you consider the knock on effects for the other club(s) in the chain.

 

All clubs follow the same Amortisation policies.  They take the fee and wages (and anything else) and spread it equally over the term of the contract....so at the end the contract is worth zero....irrespective of the payment terms to the other club.  

And should we sale, we raise a transfer profit / loss against what we sell minus the remaining part of the amortised fee and wages.

This is a great article on various financial aspects, including shirt sales etc

Written simply too.  Interesting that the likes of Man Utd try to pay upfront to reduce the fee.

Just now, pnefcok said:

Does Lansdown get heavily involved in transfers?

Lots of discussion on our forum at the moment about Hemmings not sanctioning certain deals etc etc.

Players have been sold for big money but as of yet very little investment this summer.

Ultimately he’ll sanction it

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7 hours ago, Fuber said:

Just to be clear.

I may not rate Ashton highly 

I did enjoy the irony of you saying you don’t rate Ashton highly, but also using a catchphrase of his in the same post 😅

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1 minute ago, Phileas Fogg said:

I did enjoy the irony of you saying you don’t rate Ashton highly, but also using a catchphrase of his in the same post 😅

...

Firstly. Damn.

Secondly. I still consider him a sh** head of recruitment.

I rest my case. Going to bugger off before I spout more of his quotes and dig myself a deeper hole. 

🚶‍♂️. ..  .  .🚪

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12 hours ago, pnefcok said:

Does Lansdown get heavily involved in transfers?

Lots of discussion on our forum at the moment about Hemmings not sanctioning certain deals etc etc.

Players have been sold for big money but as of yet very little investment this summer.

As Davefevs has said, SL ultimately rubber stamps any deal but he is not as involved at the front end as he once was, having learned his lesson.

In your case I wonder if it is wages rather than fees that mean deals are not sanctioned?

Either way it is only going to get harder for you to compete in this league as well as you have done before, as it is for us.

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  On 23/08/2018 at 10:17, havanatopia said:

Since his name has been raised I think the club were wrong to remove Burt and are now, partly, paying the consequences by buying a load of dross and, in many cases, at ridiculously high fees. Not a chance we would have bought Engvall, for example, with Burt in the job. Huge mistake on SL's pocket and our decent progress unearthing many of those players that helped Cotts win League 1 with a canter; such progress blown away by some very poor decisions.

SPUDSKI QUOTE - No...but we would have bought someone just as bad depending which Agent Burt had in his pocket.

Rather strong accusatory words there Spud. Do you have evidence to back it up especially when the man himself is not here to defend himself.

You went on to say what a disastrous season it was with Burt and Cotts in charge that League 1 season; As a supporter i can only see unprecedented success; literally, in our history. To slight both of these men over that sounds rather personal. All we have seen under Ashton's tenure, by contrast, is dud after dud of signing with the odd bright light.

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