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FAO Tony Mowbray and Venky's: the Barnsley blueprint for success


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From the FT.... a good read

Barnsley’s dream team give football club sporting chance

https://www.ft.com/content/a2724840-9851-4900-b331-e4be9247f7ed

 

After the tragicomedy of the European Super League comes a feel-good tale to restore the romance of football. Lowly Barnsley FC have a shot at the big time. The club rooted in northern England’s defunct coalfields, with a tiny budget, has reached the playoffs for the lucrative Premier League — a season after the team escaped relegation by drawing the final game. 

Valérien Ismaël, head coach, is no fan of the Super League, which would have given 15 rich teams such as Manchester United and Real Madrid a permanent place and locked out smaller clubs. “This is not football. Football needs to have a dream and to give people hope,” Ismaël told the Financial Times. “The test is on the pitch. If you get the result you get the reward.”

Of the six English teams initially backing the ESL before fan outrage forced them to pull out, three are owned by Americans. Pundits believed they were looking to protect their investment by replicating the US system of closed leagues with guaranteed revenue. Yet Barnsley is also run by Americans.  A consortium led by financier Chien Lee bought the club in December 2017.

Fellow investors include Billy Beane, the baseball executive who invented the data-driven Moneyball system celebrated in a film of the same name. Beane turned the Oakland Athletics from no-hopers to play-off contenders by identifying quality players that were missed by other clubs or deployed in the wrong positions.

Lee has refined Moneyball. Barnsley almost always buy players under 24, whose value is likely to rise. They rarely take loan players, so as to forge a team ethic from regulars. And they play the same tactics whoever the manager is.

The club has adopted the high tempo gegenpressing “heavy-metal football” favoured in Germany. The three attackers provide the first line of defence, closing down the opposition to win the ball high up the pitch. That enables them to create chances when opponents are out of position. It appointed Ismaël from LASK in Austria when Gerhard Struber was headhunted by New York Red Bulls in October 2020. 

Most managers change the playing style and therefore the players but by insisting on one with a similar philosophy Lee says he can save money and get better results.  He says he has the second lowest wage bill in the Championship.

Wages are the best predictor of League position. The club must live within its means, with turnover about £10m this year. This is in a league where the average wage bill is £33m and the 24 clubs racked up combined operating losses of £382m last season, according to Deloitte. 

Lee and his co-investor Paul Conway had success at Nice in France before Barnsley. They have sold that club but built a portfolio across Europe.  Through Pacific Media Group, an advertising business, they own KV Oostende in Belgium, FC Thun in Switzerland and AS Nancy in France, with each performing better than when acquired. Oostende just finished fifth in the Belgian first division, despite the club’s small size. 

But Barnsley’s 23,000-seat Oakwell stadium, which still has wooden seats in one century-old stand, is usually half full and the club’s only major honour is the 1912 FA Cup. So what attracted Lee? 

“We feel we can do something meaningful using our vision and expertise. We are long-term investors. If we get into the Premier League the value of the club will go up. We are ahead of schedule.”

Ismaël said the pandemic had helped Barnsley. The increase in the number of substitutes from three to five means he can replace his three exhausted forwards after around an hour and still make two other changes before a match ends.  His small, young, ambitious squad remain underdogs for next week’s two-leg playoff with Swansea, whose time in the Premier League has boosted revenues. They would face Bournemouth or Brentford in a Wembley final on May 29.

An erudite Frenchman who speaks fluent German and English, Ismaël only resorts to cliché once, when asked if his team could survive a season in the Premier League. “My focus is on the next game. I don’t want to start dreaming.”

The town’s 227,000 people could do with a dream.  Once, they made their living from hewing coal. Now they pack boxes. Asos, the online clothing retailer, has its main facility there and courier Hermes is planning a huge warehouse on a former colliery. The club badge featuring a miner with a pickaxe provides a vital connection to the town’s proud industrial past. 

On Barnsley market’s shoe stall Kieran Hunt, 63, recalls the joy of their only other season in the top flight, in 1997/98. “It would be brilliant for the town if they go up. It would give the town centre a boost. We need all the help we can get.”

Paul Gallacher, 47, of Barnsley Supporters Trust, said the owners, who took over from local software entrepreneur Patrick Cryne, have kept their promises. “They have not thrown money at the Premier League dream. They have not saddled it with debt. They invest in the club, build slowly.”

But, like any true fan, he cannot relax. “The worry is when the next owner comes along. What they would bring? Getting into the Premier League would be a good point to sell. That worries a lot of fans.”

 

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Maybe the right idea for us but we have entirely the wrong set of people at the helm to pull it off.  

What we need is a crew running the club who are best capable of utilizing ever bit of backing they get from these oddball owners. The past few seasons its been completely wasted and now there is sod all left to invest in anything.

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This bit leapt out at me.

"Beane turned the Oakland Athletics from no-hopers to play-off contenders by identifying quality players that were missed by other clubs or deployed in the wrong positions."

Remind you of anyone?

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  • Moderation Lead

That film Moneyball is absolutely mint tbh.

Problem is though, whilst it’s well intended and it certainly can work, our old favourite XG is proof of people using data and taking it too far just to prove a point....

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barnsley are doing it with every man jack pulling in the same direction,we on the other hand,have a duplicitous chief exec with a manager who is his friend,thus making him bulletproof add to that owners who hav`nt got a clue and are now seemingly disinterested and distracted,the only way rovers are going forward again is sadly to shed themselves of the indians,take possible administration and start afresh

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Funnily enough, the playing style described is similar to what we attempt, and we looked good using it at the start of the season. Our problems are numerous though, including our lack of movement, incision, directness and ruthlessness when we win the ball in our own half (or in the centre but with a few bodies to beat). That and having assembled personnel that largely don't suit it and are played out of position. Oh and our absolute lack of spine at the back. And our thoroughly uninspiring manager.

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On 15/05/2021 at 00:23, jim mk2 said:

“We feel we can do something meaningful using our vision and expertise. We are long-term investors. If we get into the Premier League the value of the club will go up. We are ahead of schedule.”

They're an investment firm, it might be called "moneyball" to make it sound sexy but investment companies have been buying up underperforming companies and turning them round for years, with 1 goal in mind ... to sell them on at a profit and Barnsley are no different, they already flipped Nice, they'll flip Barnsley too in the future and what happens then?

I do think this model mixed with Germany's 50+1 ownership rule would made an interesting combination, with the 51% providing the continuity & long term stability with speculators making up the 49%

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56 minutes ago, StubbsUK said:

They're an investment firm, it might be called "moneyball" to make it sound sexy but investment companies have been buying up underperforming companies and turning them round for years, with 1 goal in mind ... to sell them on at a profit and Barnsley are no different, they already flipped Nice, they'll flip Barnsley too in the future and what happens then?

I do think this model mixed with Germany's 50+1 ownership rule would made an interesting combination, with the 51% providing the continuity & long term stability with speculators making up the 49%

Compared to the "fckball' model approach of ours which has flipped us on our arses. Even if they do sell Brentford, the club will be in a much better position than it was before they showed up. Ours will be the reverse.

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Well that seems pretty much the opposite of us in every respect!

Competence, continuity and a plan - none of which we have seen. Heck l, TM can't get consistency as the sole and bullet proof manager. 

Not bringing in loans to improve team spirit. Buying under performing players who aren't utilised correctly. Living within their means. Blimey it's the utter opposite of us isn't it? 

Yes there's worries when they sell on but the club will be in a much stronger place. We could certainly do with a spell of their competent ownership and flipping. 

As an aside just imagine what would have happened if this lot had got us pre Venkys...

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Posted (edited)

Rovers have gone from being Venkys baby to being Mowbray & Cos permanent experiment by the looks of it. I often wonder if he or someone he works with have shares in the place such is his teflon coated demeanor and all too apparent indifference to results.

We have no semblance to Barnsley or Brentford other than beginning with a B and never will with these lot playing around with it.

Edited by tomphil
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not to different to how Sam Allardyce was running Bolton in their hey day 15-20years ago to be fair

 

one of the biggest stand out points from that for me as the use of Loan players, i think in recent years weve relied far to heavily on loan players (especially young players from big prem clubs) and I do feel this effects the morale, confidence and psychology of our own young and fringe players

 

yes you can point out how good Harvey Elliot's personal stats look... but at the end of the season it's the teams league position that counts, for example who's to say chapman couldn't have done as well as Elliot had he been given a fair run and chance to build his confidence and I cant imagine Carter could have done much worst than the woeful Brannthwaite

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1 hour ago, tomphil said:

Rovers have gone from being Venkys baby to being Mowbray & Cos permanent experiment by the looks of it. I often wonder if he or someone he works with have shares in the place such is his teflon coated demeanor and all too apparent indifference to results.

We have no semblance to Barnsley or Brentford other than beginning with a B and never will with these lot playing around with it.

Mowbray , Waggot and Venus , pension pots , that's what Blackburn Rovers is to them...

They all know if they are put under pressure (promotion a must  next season) they will be sacked by end of September!!

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