Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The advantages of the feeder club model

I thought that the following post by a fan on the Glynne Jones list was worth a wider airing, although arguably it is a little too optimistic about how the feeder club model might work out at Charlton:

'Manchester United and Chelsea both use Belgian clubs as training clubs. If we are to be a proving ground for SL players this is not a lot different. There is no reason why the feeder system should not operate both ways.

'I do not think that the concept of being a proving ground is necessarily an indication that things will take a turn for the worse. If SL prosper, as we have to hope they will in the circumstances, it is likely to result in their attracting ever better young players that will be loaned to us for development.

'The Belgian teams working with MU and Chelsea are stronger for the loans and it is perfectly conceivable that within a short period we will also be receiving quality players on loan to work with our own home-grown talent. The chance to have a strong squad with little need to buy in has a lot of attraction to me and the owner's idea of running without loss becomes perfectly realistic.

'The only downside is that the best players will always be cherry-picked during transfer windows, but I see nothing in this scenario to prevent us becoming a decent Premiership club once the system starts to work as every cherry-picked player will be replaced by a decent replacement in the ideal scenario.

'Part of that scenario requires the management of feeder clubs to give playing time to youngsters that have been sent over for development. The rumours suggest that Powell was not prepared to be told who should be playing, but although that goes to his credit for his principles it does suggest a certain failure to recognise the reality of the motive behind the takeover and when has had a chance to reflect it may be that he may feel he could have handled it better.

'If the owner has a bought a club as part of a plan he is entitled to require that the manager, as an employee, buy into that plan. If that means that he be required to accommodate certain players then so be it.I am sure there will be disagreement but I do not see that the owner is totally in the wrong here.'


Dave said...

Wyn - Chris Powell obviously didn't see the advantages. It probably means you lose your better players sooner for no fee. It would also appear that you are under obligation to play loaned players whether they are good enough or fit in. It's a great big compromise and a stifling of your club's personal ambition.

Anonymous said...

There's a huge difference to the other models cited. Sl cannot attract the quality of youth team players that Chelsea and United can attract. Also, Charlton could not remain a feeder club if they got into the Premier League as they would then be a bigger club than SL. If a young player comes over from SL and is brilliant in the Championship, its reasonable to assume he'd be here 6 months, maybe a year at most because a brilliant Championship season would indicate they're good enough for the Juliper. If Charlton have excellent youth players they will be wanted by SL, so we could lose them earlier than we might ordinarily do.

We'll be sent a lot of dross on loan, as we already have been. Worryingly we can only have a limited number from SL, so a lot of the other loan will come from Roland's wider network of teams with even less pedigree. Now Roland has his own men in place, they'll follow orders and play the dross. This looks like a mess.

It sounds great that he wants to invest in our youth system, there's no denying that but he shouldn't be so gleeful in telling fans upfront that we should expect our best players to leave. Our players have always eventually left and we know we're no the biggest team in the world but it's very poor PR to just tell everyone with a smile that our best players may be able to join SL.

My biggest worry though is a return to the dark days of Phil Parkinson and the couple of years preceding his tenure. During that period our team lost all its identity. We had countless players wear the shirt, numerous on loan and none of the players cared for the club or for each other. There was no fight in the team, the fans couldn't identify with the players and the players couldn't identify with us. Powell brought stability back to the team. Even this season the players who have struggled are Charlton players. We don't mercilessly boo them because we care about them and the team. It was easy to boo Parkinson's team because we knew they didn't care. This is a set of players who mean something to Charlton and as soon as the loan signing start coming in, our identity will be lost. That is a justifiable concern, especially when Roland was so willing to sell Kermorgant for a few extra pennies.

Sorry Wyn, I don't care how this is painted, the model looks flawed and Roland doesn't appear to understand what Charlton are about which is why a lot of fans felt loyal to Powelll, who certainly did. That is why Roland's takeover feels like a turn for the worse, not an exciting new chapter.

Wyn Grant said...

The question is then, what would your model be for a club like Charlton which is up against clubs like Leicester and QPR which are subsidised by wealthy benefactors or other clubs which have parachute payments? Financial fair play is not going to happen that quickly and may not happen at all. Charlton just can't go on making losses and expecting someone to foot the bill.

Anonymous said...

I understand that league rules prevent one individual or organisation from owning two clubs in the same country as this creates conflict of interest. Surely the same principle operates across borders - there is a clear conflict of interest here to the detriment of Charlton. We are potentially far bigger than SL. We should not be their reserve side.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is missing the key point: none of our decent young players will want to go and play in Belgium. This of course matters whatever league you are in. This is a major stumbling block for us becoming a feeder club. Whether RoDu is aware of this is another matter.

I would happily wager that, over the next year, NOT ONE of our desirable players goes to Belgium.

Anonymous said...

I too believe that the advantages stated here are overplayed.

Roland is entitled to do whatever he wants so this isn't a criticism of him - it's his club, his network and his money after all.

But firstly the examples cited with Manchester United and Chelsea are much more arm length than we're in with Roland's network.

Secondly, let's face it - we've got some players from his network already and they're arguably no better than those that would otherwise be in their place.

Thirdly everyone is speculating as to how he'll use players from SL to improve Charlton, conveniently ignoring that he's not done that with any particular intent at his other clubs in his network. There's no reason he's suddenly going to favour Charlton although I accept that the potential (revenue generation) in the English leagues has to be greater than other countries.

My take is that the "network" will buy players and that those players will then be dispersed around his clubs. Sure it will one of his clubs that actually buys, but the intention will be that the player is an asset of the network, not the club, to be used for the good of the network collectively.

From a purely financial point of view, it could well be that the network is best served by Charlton being in League One. I'm not saying that is necessarily the case but if the network has "spare" players who are capable of being competitive in League One (but not higher) then from that financial point of view it's (potentially) cheaper for him for us to be in L1 rather than to fork out on new players to keep us in the Championship.

Lastly, I'd 100% agree with the previous comment saying that Chris Powell and the majority of the current players got immense backing from the fans because they were committed to Charlton. The passion they put in was responded to by the emotion the fans felt for them. Loan players, players "dropped in" from other clubs (on semi-forced moves) rarely have such passion, the fans won't have so much emotion for them, and by inference, won't care so much for the club.

As a model, I can see this working if you look at the network as a whole. Looking at it from an individual club's perspective, I can easily see it NOT working and I suspect that's Chris Powell's view of it too. I note that Riga is described as "Head Coach" and maybe I'm reading too much into this, but he's not described as "Manager". A Coach is someone who looks to improve a group of players that he's given charge over... not someone who selects which players he works with.

But here is the dichotomy; fans may say that they want their clubs run prudently, within their means, etc. - but they don't. They want their club playing at the highest level by spending large sums of someone else's money. I suspect Roland sees football merely as a business, where you make the best use of your assets, you don't overstretch, you make redundancies, close factories down, downsize as necessary for the good of the enterprise - whilst also taking advantages of whatever opportunities are also offered or come your way. But that's not what fans want for their club...

Anonymous said...

Wyn - totally agree with what you have said. I think it's far too early to judge the new owner. We have to give the guy a chance. He has an idea which he believes will work and provide financial stability for the club. At the end of the day he has put his money where his mouth is and I don't see anyone else queuing up at the door to do that. He has stated that he wants to invest more money in the youth set-up. We already have some great youngsters coming through and investing more money in that area can only be a good thing for the long term security of the club.

Wyn Grant said...

On the specific conflict of interest point, current rules do not apply across borders otherwise Roland would not have been able to assemble his network. That could change in the future and issues might arise if the 'Atlantic League' ever became a reality, but that idea has been around for 15 years and has got nowhere. I will try and respond to the other points later, but have to do some work before I head for The Valley this afternoon!

Anonymous said...

Chris Powell didn't understand the system. He should have said thanks to the Rat for Loic, Reza, and Yorann but told him they need further development -- at Carl Jena :-)

Boneyboy said...

"If the owner has a bought a club as part of a plan he is entitled to require that the manager, as an employee, buy into that plan. If that means that he be required to accommodate certain players then so be it."
The problem with this point of view is that it ignores the interests of supporters, people with long term financial and emotional commitments to the club, which I think makes them more than "customers". Playing certain players because its in the interests of the wider network is disrespectful of supporters, and will undermine their commitment to the club, or should I say loyalty to the product ?

Anonymous said...

This comment by someone who seems to know about the Hungarian "interest" in Roland's network gives more insight as to what we might expect - and it's not good as far as I'm concerned but is what I expected given what's happened over the last few days.

It also seems that all is not well at Újpest with a statement from Roland's son (?) on the club website that translates very badly via Google. Any native Hungarian speakers care to translate for us?