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Premier League

Premier League (6/9)



  1. Great article in the The Athletic today looking back on Tugay: https://theathletic.com/2811523/2021/09/08/tugay-at-blackburn-it-was-like-he-was-playing-with-a-cigar-in-his-mouth-it-was-that-easy-for-him/ (As always, apologies if you can't get around the paywall!)
  2. My assumption is we extended a contract offer for the sake of protecting the asset and giving it one last kick of the can (if it wasn't for his mini-resurgence at Shrews, I'd bet we'd have let him walk) as we were still due compensation at his age if he left on a 'free', but that offer essentially tied him to us. I doubt there were too many L1 clubs this window willing to spend the (low) 6-figure fee we probably could command at a tribunal (plus probably above-average L1 wages), and I doubt Chapman attracted much Championship interest either. (I don't recall many, if any, rumours of clubs making cash offers for him?). Works out to him being like a borderline valuable 'restricted free agent' (RFA), if you take a North American sports perspective... From Chapman's POV, he was also probably looking at another year here at ~£4-5k/week here vs £2-3k/week for some L1 club, so a no brainer to sign on and hope for the best. Clearly he didn't impress enough to nail down a starting spot, so he was probably looking at a year of at most 5 starts + 15-20 subs, and he'll be pushing for starting time at this stage of his career, so fair enough to loan him out and maybe try to sell for a nominal fee in Jan (and presumably Burton are covering some wages too). I suppose the question going forward is how Proveda/Khedra turn out in comparison. I've only seen his outing at Millwall so far this year (poor, albeit he didn't have much help on the left flank), so maybe I missed positive flashes in the other games. His quick burst is just gone with injuries and poor fitness. His Shrews loan was a welcome surprise, but, as mentioned above, more smoke that he apparently still had some sulky moments and seemingly wasn't an automatic starter despite some goals (16+7). Didn't help that he apparently got sick to start the year too (for all we know that was Mowbray covering for more poor behaviour from Chappers...). Obviously an odd one, and I can see the case for just cutting our losses instead, but I can't see it as one to get too up in arms about.
  3. Nice to be back in a stadium. Some random notes: - 1st half was some generally terrible football viewing all around. Millwall really do play some unattractive stuff. I'm pretty sure they don't have a single "artist" in the squad (Afobe seems to have really fallen off over the years) - that's not an outright "criticism" btw, as they have managed alright in the Championship at their wage level! - Plenty already said, but clearly not a game for Dolan to be pressing upfront like Swansea. Maybe his worst performance as a Rover... Buckley anonymous, but not really 'bad'. Game bypassed the whole midfield 1st half - see Rothwell below too - only Trav seemed to thrive (and a welcome pain in the ass performance from him!). Not following the Pickering criticism, thought he was ok (but not 'good'), but maybe wasn't watching him closely enough. Gallagher couldn't get anything going offensively, but put in a hell of a shift in the air. - The switch to the back 5 was merciful, and Carter impressed. Can see the logic in keeping him around if we use the back 5 plenty, plus as injury cover for Ayala, and then re-evaluate when Wharton is back. A player with Magloire's physical gifts may be worth waiting on, so another season loan for him and bringing in a short-term loan to wait on Wharton sounds sensible to me, but I wouldn't flinch if we sold him. - Millwall goal came out of nowhere. Watching the replay now (was hard to see wth happened from the other end!), kind of a hard goal to get too mad at anyone about. - Generally great stuff by Ayala and Lenihan, although the latter drove me nuts messing around with the ball a couple times in midfield. No need to pick up a senseless yellow doing that when he's going to pick up plenty... - Let's hope Butterworth's back holds up as he could be something. - Chapman's poor cameo highlights the need for a winger loan (although he rightly yelled at this teammates during that bizarre play where he was just standing with the ball out wide begging for support!). Given he's seemingly lost his quick feet, playing him centrally is probably the only way to salvage his career here (where he impressed at Shrews). Although Butterworth may have usurped him in the middle already, a la Dolan last year out wide... - Typical Rothwell game in that he was anonymous for long periods, and then suddenly took over the game. Please get that contract worked out...
  4. PNE is certainly an interesting comparison (/criticism of our relative performance), but worth keeping in mind the above too... cut wages with caution (Wigan, Hull, and Charlton were the relegated sides for the chart above). We're probably maxing out what we can do on the wages side (and the evidence suggests wages are usually the best first-order determinator of success...), but that's still just below average in the Championship (and well below the top squads) Re: Barnsley, note these are the numbers from when Barnsley was a point away from relegation. Fair play to them on an exceptional year, and there's good reason to believe their management is a big reason behind that, but I'm hesitant to declare them the new model to follow after one year... but certainly a team to keep an eye on next year. The Brentford model obviously has the longest and most successful track record among the low revenue clubs. For us, following that exactly would mean dropping the Academy entirely, so one for debate... Interesting that Brentford barely used the loan market in recent years. I don't mind a few key loans, and there are other examples of sides using the loan market effectively to get up, but it's clear that Brentford prioritised developing their own assets first (and with significant sales to show for it!), helped by some very shrewd incomings.
  5. To avoid any further confusion, there was a touch of sarcasm to that note :) (I'd file the 15% cut as merely the least you would expect given the circumstances.) Edit: And arbitro makes a good point re: wage deferral! Although you'd then expect that to show up in the player wage numbers too.
  6. I'll maybe make another amateurish run through of the accounts later, but thought it was interesting that at the end of the accounts it is noted that Venky's actually had an insurance policy on business interruptions due to infectious diseases (not yet recognised in these accounts but it isn't expected to pay out more than £1m, but, hey, that paid off nicely, hurray). So, we can add Venky's probably unleashed Covid-19 on the world to their list of crimes. Waggott apparently took a 15% pay cut, so I think the fans will now get behind him. One mystery I think resolved for me (feel free to stop reading now) regarding the VLL accounts is how they appear to treat player registration amortisation vs the BRFC accounts. VLL appears to treat it as an operating expense (hence why I was confused that 'other operating expenses' had gone up so much in those accounts), while BRFC puts it within intangible asset trading (as a football club would do rather than a random holding company!). Hence, while we appear to have received an initial £3.7m or so for Raya + Nuttall (that might include sell-on for Mahoney too), and hence made a £3.1m profit on player sales (not sure about the £600k gap there given Raya + Nuttall should both have had minimal acquisition cost), but our overall 'intangible fixed asset trading' still came to a loss of £1.2m after accounting for our amortisation rising to £4.3m (Brereton + Gallagher + etc)
  7. My best guess/interpretation is both Mowbray/Rovers and Chapman/his agent confused Rovers having the right to compensation if we offered to renew his contract to effectively meaning we held an option on him. Even if they were technically wrong, I think he effectively was tied to us given the current transfer market climate. (Those were still some bizarre quotes in any case!) With compensation due (maybe £200k+? Given similar pedigree, I don't think Chapman would go for too much less than Mahoney's case where he went to Bournemouth for a tribunal fee of £425k+), that probably rules out most L1 clubs, particularly in this climate. He also probably couldn't get a better wage in L1 than he's on now (fwiw, FM21 has him at £3k/week). Maybe a Championship club would be willing to spend a couple hundred grand and give him a similar wage, but there's no way he'd be guaranteed game time. From our POV, it's a no brainer. A cheap-ish winger who may have finally screwed his head on right after a successful loan and we certainly have openings on the wing in what's looking to be a much leaner (cheaper...) squad this year. From Chapman's POV, he stays on a decent wage (the way things were going before the Shrews loan, perhaps the best wage he'll ever see...) and should have a fair shot at finally earning Championship playing time. He turns 24 in November, so he can leave on a true free in the summer if it doesn't work out. Maybe he and Mowbray haven't seen eye-to-eye (imo, fair enough given he has failed to impress in any of his cameo appearances and there's enough smoke to suggest his poor fitness levels haven't all been due to bad luck injuries...), but I also doubt Mowbray has it out for him. He signed the kid twice and would love to tout an eventual transfer success. Chapman probably just signed the 1-year renewal offer we made to protect the investment, preventing us from 'leaving him in the cold' and hoping someone signed him for compensation. Anyway, as hinted by Sharpe, I wouldn't be surprised if he's eventually sold or loaned out this summer or in the winter in the end, particularly if he fails to impress in camp again, but still worth one more punt, imo.
  8. I don't know the exact details, but I have seen that some clubs have identified Covid-induced revenue drops in their 2019-20 accounts, which may then be excluded from FFP. Covid obviously complicates things, but exceptions have been made. Our 2017-18 to 2019-20 window also includes our L1 year, which may technically not count to FFP (although I've seen differing accounts on that, and I suspect it does count as a £13m max loss year...). Furthermore, I think 2019-20 and 2020-21 are being treated as an average as part of a 4-year FFP window, so our accounts this year may need to take into account next year too already... I had a brief look at this last week and ultimately there's too many variables to know for sure, but we're definitely at the margin of FFP (imo, given our low revenue and owner backing, that's where we should be if we're hoping to be competitive; stresses about FFP should be "intentional" to some extent). The VLL accounts give an indication of our 2019-20 losses, but the BRFC accounts tend to be a touch rosier. We also have relatively high spend on FFP-exempt cost items (the academy, community spend, women's football, etc), so it's hard to conclude our FFP-status from the accounts alone. And if we are in breach, given we've just unloaded a bunch of relatively high-earners, I suspect we'd still be able to negotiate that we're now on a more sustainable financial path, etc. So, lots of levers. So, I'm not surprised that we will tend to be stragglers in working all the above out, but obviously a concern if such wrangling is interfering with our transfer policy now (although, for better or worse, we tend to do our transfer work rather late).
  9. Dack's face also popped up in the corner of the screen while me and my friend desperately tried to get the ITV app to work for the game yesterday evening. So, there's that too.
  10. I think the reporting has generally been that Raya was sold for an initial £3m, rising to £5m with add-ons. One such clause being getting promoted, which the LT specified as £500k today, but it's also probably fair to assume he's hit some of those other clauses too given his regular playing time with Brentford. I think it was roughly calculated that Josh King's sale to Everton netted us £600k (checking Rich Sharpe's estimate at the time). Funny that he's now leaving Everton after doing nothing there, so a welcome, and random, bonus incoming there... Rumour is Cairney may go for £10m this summer too. I think it was reported that Cairney was sold for £3-3.5m+, presumably on the higher end given his accomplishments at Fulham. If, as Lancs Live reported, we get a 10% cut of any profit, that implies another £650k potentially incoming. Like King, it's a shame about the original fee (the circumstances of Cairney's sale were far more damning than King's case...), but anything that comes in now is a welcome bonus. Sunk costs and all that... Altogether, that's £1.75m of 'bonus' money incoming, which helps I suppose, but it wouldn't surprise if we still need to net another £5-10m to stay within FFP, e.g. Armstrong... although our FFP calcs are always a bit murky given we probably get a lot of exemptions through our Academy spend, plus the added complication of Covid giving clubs a bit more leeway and I'm not sure of the relevance of our year in L1 where FFP's application is less clear (which may still be a relevant year for our rolling 3 year FFP calculation, even if we're apparently to take the average of 19-20/20-21 due to Covid?).
  11. Maybe it's easy to sing his praise right after a career highlight, but I overall thought he was a true bright spot for the team last year. I think one of the turning points of our season was his early Dec injury and then struggling to get back into form when he did return (for whatever reason he was often a sub during that Feb dip, whether due to lingering injury or maybe he was just playing poorly...) Unlike Gallagher, I can also see the merits of keeping him on the wing. His defensive work rate and speed seem to go underrated. I can't recall the exact game, I think later in the year, but there was a moment where he was running back at an astonishing pace... I wish I had a clip of it. Also has that ability to run at almost 100% with the ball stuck to his foot. I'll happily admit his shooting needs work (that Watford strike aside!) and grumbles about his transfer fee are still warranted, but he still only just turned 22. Some seem hung up on his early struggles but I think his future is still plenty bright (and the Chilean national team's hierarchy seem to agree!)
  12. Thought this was an interesting chart from Ben Mayhew re: time spent in the lead, tied, or losing: I'm not sure exactly how he's ordered this (2nd chart is the Championship), but we were roughly 6th worst in the league in the amount of time we spent winning vs losing/tied, which I think explains a lot of our 'impressive' possession numbers versus actual results. A lot of time passing the ball around chasing games against teams that learned how to nullify us after getting ahead early (or were happy to sit back and wait for their chance). Need to account for such 'score effects' when looking at possession stats... I think a general story for our season is we came out like gangbusters offensively and arguably had a few 'unlucky' results (our xG supports that), but then teams quickly figured out how to bottle us up and nullify our possession (and xG roughly supports that too! I can't find a quick chart of our rolling xG average, but it definitely declined markedly during our Feb-Mar collapse) While I generally like xG as part of an analytical toolbox, we were clearly a statistical outlier last year (no stat is perfect...). I recall reading that xG is more predictive of future performance than actual goals until about halfway through a season, after which actual goals is more predictive. That's not at all to say xG is useless, it's a better early indicator of a team's 'true talent' or whatever you want to call it, but eventually results are what matter...
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