Business model

Barnsley FC owners must change their business model to suit their grim new reality – Stuart Rayner

Anyone who knows football can see that 2020-21 has been a good season for the Reds.

They narrowly avoided relegation from the league in the previous campaign and seem almost certain to suffer it this time around instead. Indeed, they were in the quagmire when Valérien Ismael arrived at Oakwell at the end of October 2020. Thus, even if they did not win the play-offs – narrowly beaten by the future finalists Swansea City in the semi-finals – c was always a job. good game.

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The praise was perhaps a little exaggerated. It was, after all, the same production chain theory that had driven previous coaches Daniel Stendel and Gerhard Struber to the distraction and in the latter’s case to resign. The fact that Struber was recently offered a job on the Manchester United coaching staff – he turned it down because it was a short-term appointment – suggests the Austrian might have be worth it to let go.

Barnsley’s Obbi Oulare in rare performance against Barnsley (Photo: PA)

If Barnsley had hired forward Obbi Oulare as they attempted to do so last January, things might not have gone so well as it could have meant going without Carlton Morris or moneylender Daryl Dike. Given how well the two have done and how well Oulare has likely been on the training ground having only gained 27 minutes of playing time under two coaches and an interim since arriving this summer, he is just to say the Reds were lucky. You cannot be successful without it.

Still, things went pretty well. But not in the eyes of the board.

As far as they were concerned, the lack of offers for their top players meant the season was a disappointment. Captain Alex Mowatt ran out of contract and Michael Sollbauer, Conor Chaplin, Marcel Ritzmaier, Elliot Simoes and Rudi Pache left for the now ubiquitous undisclosed charges. It’s fair to assume they weren’t bank breakers.

So when Ismael was drawn to West Bromwich Albion – for arguably the highest transfer fees – his style of football was blamed in the halls of power for the lack of potential buyers lining up for Oakwell sales. . A more attractive approach was needed.

Barnsley head coach Poya Asbaghi ​​has an unenviable task. (Photo: Tony Johnson)

The more entertaining football of Markus Schopp and Poya Asbaghi ​​has so far secured single-goal wins against Coventry City, County Derby and the Barrow conference team after an FA Cup extra time. For a return of 26 matches, that’s not a lot.

Now, barring something miraculous – and it must be said that Barnsley has shown himself capable of this on a few occasions in recent years – they will be relegated and the cost to their finances will be around £ 8million.

If they had continued on the trajectory they were on under Ismael – and it would have been difficult no matter who they brought in to train the same style – they might have done better this season or the next and came in Premier. League. Stranger things have happened – just ask Danny Wilson.

As soon as Callum Styles, Callum Brittain and Cauley Woodrow had the words ‘Premier League’ on their CVs, their values ​​would have exploded no matter how much football they played.

Valerian Ismael on his return to Barnsley FC with West Bromwich Albion in December (Photo: Bruce Rollinson)

It just shows the disconnect between the majority of football club owners and the fans of a team.

For some owners, it’s about winning – they participate very occasionally out of love for this club, or more likely out of ego.

The dubious nation states that own some of the biggest clubs in the country want to win as a diversionary tactic and gain popularity despite their often appalling behavior at home.

Say what you like about washing sportsman, at least his interests overlap a lot with those of the fans, which is why so few Newcastle United fans took to the eyelids when Mike Ashley made way for the wealth of the ‘Saudi Arabia.

Those who see it as a business opportunity, who see football through balance sheets and not rankings, are doomed to failure.

Very few people make a lot of money owning clubs, the best hope is to trade pounds sterling for silverware.

As their summer change of course pointed out, Barnsley’s modus operandi is to change stocks – players and coaches. Take the money, buy cheaper stocks, expand it, and the supposedly virtuous circle just keeps spinning.

The problem is, football rarely works like this. Successful clubs are built on a level of stability. Some keep their manager for a long time and refresh the team a bit at every window, others – like Chelsea – quite often change the man who selects the team, but have a strong thread of continuity on the player side.

The never-ending churn gets you where Watford is right now, stability creates the admittedly modest achievements at Rotherham United right now that Barnsley will look to emulate in six months time.

Part of that continuity is having a clear mode of operation and Barnsley has it. They know what they are and what they are trying to do.

But no model is perfect, and theirs need a little tweaking, quite possibly from League One’s stopping point. When that happens they have to approach it from a footballing and not a financial perspective because when money is in control things tend to go in the wrong direction.