The football vs business view
“Football clubs need to be run like businesses” is one of the sport’s current buzz phrases. While it is true that changing regulation and attitudes mean that there is an increased focus on adopting more corporate practices, football remains totally unlike many other industries.
Many football clubs have internal struggles between the ‘football view’ and the ‘business view’. This includes when to sell players, how to measure success or how to grow the club. In many cases compromise is sub-optimal, or common ground non-existent.
What is most damaging, however, is when both sides fail to see the other’s perspective. Countless key figures at clubs have been undermined by blind spots leading to decisions that disregard their position.
The best-run clubs have football and business people who understand the implications of each other’s decisions. That a young player’s contract renewal depends on a commercial deal being signed, or that a long term plan must recognise the need to get some short-term results.
Football clubs may need to be run more like traditional businesses, but they needn’t reject some of the realities of the sport. When the football view and business view operate in silos, ultimately it is the club that loses out.