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Sunday, 26 June 2011

When owners attack

Scottish football club, Heart of Midlothian, are relatively infamous for being a club that has faced a wide and large number of issues over the past few years....  They court publicity (deliberately and accidentally) on a random and regular basis...  Life with the ‘Hearts’ is nothing if not newsworthy....
So there was no real surprise to see a recent club statement that was probably germinated in good intention with real plans to provide the club with real benefit, but instead just resulted in a swathe of head scratching / giggling / or plain “now what are they doing to my club” reactions (have a read here and you will understand why).

Without an inside track on the club (though I have spent a small bit of time around the club over the past 5 years) - I cannot promise the truth - but I would see a lot of nodding heads if I were to suggest that the owner of the Club was behind both the statement and the need to make it so publicly.
TV (and internet) phenom that is “When Animals Attack” shows us that the human race’s base functions remain.  We like to watch brutality / we like to see ‘bad things’ happen.  When animals attack - someone gets hurt (often the animal), blood is spilled (again the animal can “lose some”) - and we watch on - transfixed by the spectacle / enjoying what we see in a “I should not be enjoying this” way and generally horrified that we have not moved on.....
So it is with one of the ‘big cats’ of the sporting world - the owner.  They own the club, they pay the bills (most of the time), and they make the big (and often the small - #pleaseletusgetonwithit) decisions......  And when they make decisions that ‘attack’ at the very clubs they own - the outside world looking in cannot fail to enjoy the experience (though we are glad to do not work for / support those clubs).
Owners are at the top of the Club’s pyramid - and it is a fair maxim to say that the culture of any club is hugely likely to be fashioned in their guise (#exceptionswillonlyprovetherule).  It’s a great position to be in if you are the owner - your decisions / your personality will out.  You have earned the right for sure (we hope).
But ‘with great power comes great responsibility” as another ‘animal that attacks’ once said.
For sports execs - the owner is a hugely important relationship to manage.  Without their support, you are on thin ice.  Too much consultation and you are likely to be micro-managed, not enough and you could find yourself staring ‘down the barrell’.  And each owner will have their owns demands - so it is far from an exact science.
The good ones are like gold-dust and (as will come as something less than a surprise) generally are producing clubs that produce good results.  (Note - this does not mean all good clubs are owned by good owners - it is not that simple).  But no matter what, make sure you do your groundwork, make sure you know what buttons to press and make sure you don’t suffer an attack!!!

1 comment:

Lawrence said...

"This does not mean all good clubs are owned by good owners - it is not that simple."

Now that's a very good comment!