While money is a huge help, it is culture that drives success in football

while money is a huge help, it is culture that drives success in football

Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Observer

If there is one phrase that we keep hearing when talking to other people in the game, it is that “football is different to other businesses”. Granted, you never see employees kissing the logo of their company shirts, but it seems to be used as an excuse for unsustainable business models, concentrating power in a small group of individuals, ignoring broader stakeholders and propping up outdated, often sexist cultures. Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed signals that indicate an opportunity for disruption in other industries; travel in the late 1990s, dating and financial services in the last 15 years. I think those signals are strong in football today.

As this education into the realpolitik of football ownership continues, one example of where these signals are strong is around player transfers and contracts. Deals in the transfer market are relatively boring because once a player is identified, the only variable that really counts is price. Beyond the binary (and relatively uninteresting) nature of these conversations I think this is problematic for a bigger reason in that it reinforces to some clubs that the contracts they are creating are commoditised in nature. This has come up again and again in the way players are viewed or at least discussed in transfer conversations. As the philosopher Simon Critchley says, football’s “form is association, socialism, the sociability and collective action of players and fans, and yet its material substrate is money”.

This creates an unsatisfying power dynamic for buyers and sellers. As we looked to bring players to Grimsby this summer we knew some of the clubs we approached had smaller budgets and resources than ours and so we could potentially take key players away if we paid a high enough price. Equally, teams from higher divisions can target our players based on the order of magnitude of difference in their finances. To feel like your strategy and culture is subsumed by conversations about money feels grubby and unsatisfactory as decisions about people’s lives and families are reduced almost entirely to someone else’s decision on a price.

Fans want success but they also want integrity and longevity. More often than not money talks loudest to lower-league owners and players. Financial power gives the strongest voice to those who have the greatest share of the conversation already and can fuel a type of arrogance that we saw with the Super League debacle. A conversation that is very much still alive in investor circles today.

In contract conversations it has been expressed to me that, once a player registers with a club, that club “owns” that player. The connotations of this are really uncomfortable and the logic that supports it even more so. You sign a player on a contract that is personally very lucrative from a financial point of view but that implicitly makes the player that club’s property. When you consider the mathematical improbability of becoming a professional football player you’d assume that those physically gifted and lucky enough to reach the rarefied air of becoming an elite athlete should entirely control their own destinies. This is clearly not the case and, overall, the conversations around players’ futures leave something to be desired as clubs and agents often make decisions for players.

It’s impossible for players and managers to take a more expansive view on what is best for players while operating in the “substrate” of finance and knowing that careers are both precarious and finite. Add into this the fast pace that deals tend to happen and it makes it difficult for players to assess the culture of an organisation and the opportunity cost of not staying at a place they are established, where they are developing and are often loved by becoming part of the community. While teams from higher divisions can stack their under-23 squads with talent from lower leagues, clearly those players cannot all break through to the first team, but logic dictates that a move makes sense. The inclination is that you have to back yourself in the ever-expanding development squads of Championship or Premier League teams, particularly if the money is there.

In his book The Second Mountain, David Brooks’ response to this is to say purpose, togetherness, relationships and belonging matter more than we realise in our hyper-individual world. As we get older we begin to understand that individual success is entirely pointless unless connected to family, community and a bigger picture (whatever that might be). England’s victory at Euro 2022 opened up an image of what is possible when excellence and team cohesion are the drivers of success. We now know that culture is the thing that drives success in any organisation, and while money helps, buying success does not allow you to “win deep”, as the former Football Association psychologist Dr Pippa Grange states.

With careers short, there is a huge opportunity for clubs that can show a collective home for individual brilliance

For any players or agents reading this, I’d suggest that when thinking about a move, you assess not only the financial side of it but also the the culture of the organisation involved. The personal values and behaviours of owners will have a massive influence on how people are viewed and treated and will be a good indication of how commoditised and valued a player will be. One way to do this is to look at who controls the money, how they got it and how they act in their other businesses.

A second suggestion is to speak to the manager or head coach about who makes the decisions on playing and coaching. Unless you have that expertise I’d suggest owners shouldn’t be involved unless asked. This is most often not their domain of expertise and exerting control in this area is a sign of a lack of empowerment and trust in those they work with.

In a career that is short and where top talent is incredibly scarce, there is a huge opportunity for clubs that can authentically show a collective home for individual brilliance. Brooks states you should “never underestimate the power of the environment you work in to gradually transform who you are”. That works in both directions. Football isn’t that different to any other organisation; culture trumps everything and that culture starts with the right shareholders and owners for our community assets.

Jason Stockwood is the owner of Grimsby Town

News Related

OTHER NEWS

'It was a reality I had to accept': Death In Paradise star Victoria Ekanoye admits she feared not living to see baby son Theo grow up after being diagnosed with breast cancer

The actress was diagnosed with the illness, of which there are 20,000 new cases per year in the UK, after discovering a lump while breastfeedingAppearing on Tuesday morning's special edition of ITV show Lorraine, Ekanoye claimed the decision to breastfeed ultimately saved her lifeBut the grim diagnosis left her fearing for the future and prompted concern that she might never see Theo grow upThe actress spoke of her own struggles after joining this year's Change + Check campaign in support of breast cancer awareness monthFronted by presenter Lorraine Kelly, the campaign has saved more than 60 women's' lives in the last three years Read more »

Drug driver, 40, who was at least eight times the limit on Monday morning commute three DAYS after cocaine binge is banned from the roads for one year

A woman was found to be eight times over drug drive limit on her way to workEmma Tutill, 40, was pulled over by police in Liverpool in December 2021The police's drug testing machine maxed out and showed heavy cocaine use Read more »

Underperforming NHS hospitals 'are being dragged in for Cobra-style meetings' in desperate attempt to fix deadly ambulance handover delays

Bosses from 15 hospitals ordered to plan ways to discharge patients fasterThe trusts are logging nearly half of all ambulance delays nationwide Cobra-style meetings are said to be reminiscent of those seen during pandemic Read more »

Bandidos stung by late night raids as five bikies are accused of blackmailing terrified victim

Victoria police arrested five members and associates of the Bandidos Tuesday The arrests were over alleged blackmail and threats  Detectives conducted a series of late night raids in Melbourne and Geelong They arrested five members and associates and also found drugs and weapons Read more »

'So much has changed in just one year': Heartbroken fiancé posts touching tribute to BBC Three star Jasmine Burkitt who appeared in dwarfism reality show and died after overdosing on antipsychotic drug

Jasmine Burkitt's fiance shared moving tribute after her death in their tent home Lewis Burke said 'everything has changed' as he struggles to cope with her death Former BBC star died after overdosing on medication to treat her depression The couple were living in a tent at the time, but were 'living their best lives'  Read more »

Video: New mum Lottie Tomlinson puts on a very leggy display in a black mini dress and blazer as she joins sisters Phoebe and Daisy at Gemma Owen's PrettyLittleThing launch

Read more »

Thomas Tuchel next job: Manager receives exciting Champions League proposal after Chelsea axe

Former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel Thomas Tuchel has reportedly been offered a return to management almost a month after Chelsea gave him the sack. Tuchel won the Champions League, UEFA ... Read more »

Coroner offers condolences to family of Chris Kaba

The father-of-two was shot by a police marksman last month. Read more »

Manchester United loan watch as youngster wins man of the match and Alex Telles suffers defeat

Manchester United endured a nightmare Sunday afternoon as Erik ten Hag’s side were defeated by rivals Manchester City in the derby at the Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola’s men secured a ... Read more »

London Stansted Airport: Ryanair launches new route from Edinburgh to Stansted with 14 flights a week

A Ryanair plane Budget airline Ryanair has announced a new route between Stansted and a popular Scottish city. The airline shared the news on Friday (September 30) and confirmed a ... Read more »

Chris Eubank apologising to Michael Watson on TV is still so emotional & powerful to watch

Chris Eubank is still haunted by guilt and still struggles to comprehend what happened on the fateful night he fought Michael Watson for the second time in September 1991. After ... Read more »

Bank of England signals it won't keep borrowing costs down as it rejects £1.9bn of gilts sales

Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England – Bloomberg The Bank of England has sent a clear signal that it will not hold down UK government borrowing costs after ... Read more »

Woman made to wait 20 hours for RAC rescue had to shelter with strangers

Photograph: Gary Hider/Alamy A 62-year-old woman had to spend the night in a strangers’ house when the RAC took 20 hours to recover her stranded car after it broke down ... Read more »

WATCH: Toronto FC youngster Antonoglu nets insane lob from halfway line in MLS Next Pro Eastern Conference final

Themi Antonoglou Toronto FC Collected the ball outside his own box Drove forward to the middle of the field Looped a shot over a stranded goalkeeper WHAT HAPPENED? The versatile ... Read more »

How Chelsea will face Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Fikayo Tomori reveals 'nasty' tips in AC Milan return

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu of AC Milan celebrate with fans victory parade of “Scudetto” Championship in an open-top bus through the streets of Milan The first time ... Read more »

'Rotting corpses is a very distinctive smell' - Attleborough resident shares horrors of living near abattoir that breached environment rules

Attleborough-based Banham Poultry was recently fined £300,000 for the horrific smells coming from its abattoir and one resident has shared her story of the eight years she has spent living ... Read more »

The Crown: Netflix looking for young actor to play Prince Harry aged 16 to 20 in season 6

Actor doesn’t need experience, but must have a ‘strong physical resemblance’ to royal Read more »

Man, 31, is arrested and five American bulldogs are destroyed after woman, 63, was mauled to death in dog attack inside house

A 31-year-old man has been arrested after woman, 63, mauled to death by dogFive American bulldogs were found inside the home and 'humanely destroyed'Police called to St Brigid's Crescent in Kirkdale, Liverpool at 4.25pm yesterdayThe woman was pronounced dead at the scene, ambulance service confirmed Read more »

Will Smith enters 2023 Oscar race with slavery drama Emancipation

After holding the film in limbo following Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in March, Apple will release Smith’s next big project this December Read more »

Suicide risk ‘almost seven times higher’ after dementia diagnosis

Researchers say their findings indicate clinics should target suicide risk assessment at patients diagnosed before the age of 65 Read more »

DWP issues update on £324 cost of living payment as bonus delayed

The DWP has issued an update to claimants after the cost of living payment was delayed The Department for Work and Pensions has announced when people will receive their £324 ... Read more »

Government may 'have to think again' on approach to benefit rises

It is understood that Downing Street is considering increasing Universal Credit using a lower metric, such as the increase in average earnings, instead. Read more »

‘Our time as a couple has come to a natural end’: Example and model wife Erin McNaught split after 11 years

PA-36936747.jpg Example has announced he has split from his model wife, Erin McNaught, after 11 years. The star, real name Elliot Gleave, revealed their relationship came to a “natural end” ... Read more »

Tory councillor says she left Conservative Party over foodbank crisis

‘It’s hard to represent a party that is having such a detrimental impact,’ says Nic Stansby Read more »

Open justice row as Home Secretary probes giving anonymity to suspected criminals despite fears plans could prevent more victims from coming forward to the police

Suella Braverman said she fears 'media circus' that could jeopardise a fair trial Under proposals, high-profile offenders like Rolf Harris could not be identifiedNot revealing their names would stop more victims coming forward to police  Read more »

FIA 'make Lewis Hamilton title decision' as Red Bull investigation details emerge

The FIA are set to decide against handing Lewis Hamilton last year’s world title with claims of Red Bull significantly breaching the spending cap believed to be wide of the ... Read more »

How to save on UK train travel: best railcards, discounts and tips to get cheap tickets

Everything you need to know to get cheaper train tickets In the last year the cost of travelling by train in the UK has sky-rocketed, as the cost of living ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton explains why he scolded engineers during Singapore Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Singapore Grand Prix, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton has explained the reasoning behind his angry message towards his Mercedes team during the Singapore Grand Prix after firing a demand to ... Read more »

Set for life! Lucky ticketholder wins £10,000 a month for 30 years in National Lottery £3.6million draw

The National Lottery is urging players to check their tickets after the revelationsOne matched all five Set For Life numbers and the Life Ball to receive £3.6 millionWinning Set For Life numbers were 01, 13, 17, 37, 44 and bonus Life Ball was 04 Read more »

FCO update travel advice for Italy ahead of October half term

The Colosseum, Rome Holidaymakers heading to Italy will no longer need to wear FFP2 masks when using public transport in the country, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has ... Read more »

Liz Truss refuses to commit to raising benefits in line with inflation despite growing pressure

Boris Johnson had committed to raising benefits in line with inflation, but his successor in 10 Downing Street seems less sure. Liz Truss is under pressure to change course amid growing disquiet from Tory MPs at the Conservative Party conference. Read more »

Woman charged with murder after newborn baby found dead in garden

Police say it is a ‘significant development’ into investigation into death of newborn Read more »

Fikayo Tomori out to prove Chelsea made transfer mistake ahead of Stamford Bridge return

Fikayo Tomori has made it clear he is out to prove that Chelsea made a mistake by letting him go as he prepares to face his former club for the ... Read more »

Suella Braverman: No migrants who cross Channel will be able to claim asylum in the UK

Suella Braverman – Ian Forsyth/Getty Images Suella Braverman will on Tuesday pledge to prevent human rights laws “interfering” with the UK’s ability to deport illegal migrants by introducing a new ... Read more »

'Happy joints': Beat joint discomfort this autumn with the world's most scientifically studied turmeric supplement

As autumn begins and the nights grow longer, many of us will feel the change of season in our bones and joints. For some, joint trouble in the cooler months ... Read more »

Moeen Ali closes door on Test cricket return

The all-rounder had previously indicated that he was contemplating reversing his retirement from Test cricket Read more »

'Super lazy' London woman who used to drive 500m to mum's house loses 30kg in just 9 months

A North London woman has revealed her drastic 30kg weight loss after a huge wake-up call from her doctor. 36-year-old Doli Hiralal didn’t think anything was wrong until a meeting ... Read more »

New Essendon CEO Andrew Thorburn resigns ONE day after being appointed over links to controversial church that condemns homosexuality and compared abortion to the Holocaust

Andrew Thorburn was appointed as the Essendon new CEO on MondayBut the 57-year-old stepped down from his role 24 hours later Thorburn is the chairman of controversial church City on a HillThe church has published controversial views on homosexuality and abortionVictorian premier Daniel Andrews labelled the views 'absolutely appalling' Read more »

Margrethe of Denmark felt 'compelled' to apologise following criticism by her son Prince Joachim over the stripping of his children's titles because she didn't want the public to see her as an 'ice queen' amid 'huge conflict', royal experts claim

Denmark's Queen Margrethe last night publicly apologised for removing royal titles from her grandchildren Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik and Princess Athena, the children of Prince Joachim, are affected Royal experts claim the monarch fears being seen as an 'ice queen' and was 'compelled' to say somehing Prince Joachim said on Thursday that his children had been 'hurt' by their grandmother's decision Read more »

New boost for pensioners hoping for £380 per week and lower state pension age

Pensioners in support of higher payments and a lower state pension age have landed a potential boost in their efforts to be heard. Thousands of people put their names to ... Read more »
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network