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Everything posted by RoverCanada

  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...
  13. Ah, I may have lost the thread a bit, but +/- doesn't even really answer that question, so I'm not sure of the point of bringing it up at all... (For the record, we were 3-2-2 in games Buckley started 🙂) Anyway, my post was actually more of a general defence of analytics and why attacking stats like +/- is a silly strawman to use, as there did seem to be a sudden rash of analytics bashing based on one out of context table!
  14. It's already been discussed, but I think the biggest thing to stress about those summer of 2012 signings is the opportunity cost. That was our first year with parachute payments and our chance to steamroll the league with our wage bill alone. I know there's debate about this, but all other things equal, having parachute payments is a huge, huge advantage in the Championship. And we certainly spent like it. It wasn't as if we tried to cut our cloth that year, we did go for it... Yet we wasted that opportunity on the likes of Murphy, Etuhu, and Best (I sometimes wonder how Best would've done if he hadn't gotten injured that year... obviously a twat of a person, but he had some pedigree), all reportedly on £30k/week. You could easily have 7-8 solid Championship players for a similar outlay. We ended up almost relegated and lost £42m that summer, setting us on course for a snowballing financial disaster. Rhodes was obviously the saving grace of that summer, and probably singlehandedly kept us from being relegated, but he should've been the icing on a promotion-challenging team's cake, not our safety valve.
  15. Haha, +/- is a funny ol' stat to be arguing about... and a strange one to apply to football. As has been said, context is important. (Ice) hockey is my true love, where +/- has long been rubbished. I'll give the column in that table some credit for adjusting for minutes on the pitch, but it's still incredibly misleading to compare across every player. Setting Buckley aside, let's highlight Downing and Dolan at +1.3/90 and +1.1/90, respectively. Great numbers, apparently, but I think we can all agree that they're players who were mostly put on late in games when we were chasing, and thus more likely to pick up a goal. They may have contributed to that, but you need to adjust for 'score effects' to tease out that context (something that has been done for GF% stats in hockey, but it's not entirely satisfactory). Chasing up where that table is located (here: https://fbref.com/en/squads/e090f40b/Blackburn-Rovers-Stats), let's also look at the bottom, where we've got Elliott Bennett at -0.72/90. Now I'm sure plenty would like to use that as ammunition to attack a divisive player, but he's likely partly getting dinged for being put on largely as a defensive/emergency replacement. Or late in games out of reach, eg, he gets hit with a -1 for being on for Koroma's 82 min goal in our final 5-2 win over Huddersfield. The number can also be exaggerated for players with a small amount of minutes when converting to per 90. And then there's overall team effects, which make it a silly stat to apply in football where you've got 11 players playing most of the match together. (In hockey, players are constantly changing on and off, so there is a bit more hope to tease out player impact from team impact, if still difficult). Wharton played great, but he was also part of a general purple patch for the squad. Is he really +1.36/90 vs +0.35/90 better than Lenihan...? Armstrong played almost 85% of our minutes and his aggregate +/- of +7 essentially just reflects our overall GF-GA difference of +11 over the year. (Kinda interesting that Elliott is near the bottom at -0.16/90 despite playing a lot of minutes, but again, I wouldn't read too much into this stat) I'll admit to generally being an analytics fan (and I have some appreciation for xG-like stats, if of course not 100% devotion!), but let's focus on the stats that are actually being used by teams at the forefront of analytics (many of which aren't publicly available!). Reminds me of when data analytics were first coming into football in the '90s and they were counting things like tackles, without the context that if you're tackling a lot, it probably also means you never have the ball...
  16. If of interest as MLS publishes all salaries (shocking, innit?! 😁), Williams is apparently making a base salary of $750k, going up to $821k in guaranteed compensation. So, to put that in UK football terms and at current exchange rates, about £11.1k per week. I'd guess he was on something like £8k/week with us? Probably better than he would manage on a new contract over here and life in LA on $800k can't be too shabby, so I can see why he was keen on the move! Good luck to him. We all had our frustrations with him but he was ultimately pretty decent. (Yeah, that tackle looks pretty bad but more careless/reckless than malicious) edit: was trying to think of any other recent Rovers who had gone to MLS. Most recent I could think of was Adam Henley (now NL North with Chorley!), who was on $160k (~£2.2k/week) with Real Salt Lake a couple years ago.
  17. FWIW, Barnsley's wage bill is by far the lowest in the division. Our 19/20 wages were twice theirs (~£25m vs £11m). So it's not all that unimaginable that we'd be able to offer Mowatt a far better wage package. Barnsley are heavy into analytics and value-for-money (ahem, "Moneyball") and their turnover (and wages/turnover!) are quite low, so I don't see them getting into a bidding war. Making the playoffs was a hell of an accomplishment, but last year was sadly hardly going to be a money spinner for them... Now, if Mowatt has other Championship suitors, it's certainly a fair question why he'd choose us.
  18. Are we allowed to warn about the potential dangers of breaching FFP again if both Sheffield Wed and Derby go down due to FFP-related penalties? 😉 (Tongue half in cheek of course haha 🙃. Covid repercussions obviously the elephant in the room for any FFP breaches in the near future...) Considering their financial chicanery, more than happy to see both go down, and credit to Wycombe who looked well off any chance of survival to start the year! Will be curious to read the final verdict as it seems Derby are still cleared on the stadium sale, which was the bigger potential breach, but this is apparently regarding their fiddling with amortisation. All it will take is 1 point... (edit: ah, scratch that as they'd still be ahead of Wycombe on GD if they lose only 1 point)
  19. Edit: sorry, I'm struggling to the tweets to show up nicely... Latest Championship profit/loss figures from Swiss Ramble, excluding stadium sales chicanery (Covid a factor, but not so much for 2019-20 figures): https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/1389824162412310530/photo/1 Looking at operating profit/losses, ie excluding profits from player sales (the only real hope of occasionally turning an annual profit): https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/1389824196033880065/photo/2 So, nah. (To be less flippant, the ones that roughly have broken even are the likes of Burton and Rotherham, i.e. Championship-L1 yo-yo clubs at best)
  20. Branthwaite and THB were collectively a clever bit of loan business considering the situation we were in at CB (more on that below...). Both complete unknowns in League football, so we spread the risk of one of them not working out, and presumably with a minimal budget. Branthwaite actually looked alright for a few games before the wheels came off (nowhere near ready, but I can see him developing into a very good CB in maybe 3-4 years time), and then THB stepped in very ably. He's had a few shaky moments, but overall an excellent loan showing. Definitely interested in him coming back on loan again, particularly with Wharton and/or Ayala's health an ongoing concern. Ayala is easily the most consequential miss considering the apparent overall cost and the importance of his role. His absence left us relying on Lenihan, Williams (an okay CB, but always injury prone and clearly had one foot out the door), Wharton, and a few unready youngsters in need of loans. Ignoring injury histories (and Williams wanting out), Lenihan, Ayala, Williams, and Wharton is actually pretty decent CB depth... but then injuries took out the latter 3. To make some concession to Mowbray, who would've thought Wharton would pick up the most serious (and seemingly freak) injury along that backline, particularly right when he started to look like he could handle this level! Perhaps the unluckiest moment of our season (with all due respect to Dack, where some sort of injury recurrence was sadly somewhat predictable) Ayala can, and should, be a top CB in this league. His injury/appearances history wasn't as bad as some claim - lots of whispers due to leaving 'Boro on bitter terms (as far as I can tell glancing at his appearances record, the accusation that he always picked up a mystery 'injury' over Christmas is a myth) - but obviously a major concern now after back-to-back injury-plagued years. He looked pretty unsteady in the games he did play this year too. I'm not going to outright write-off Ayala just yet. For better or for worse, we need him to bounce back in a big way next year, and he's still only 30, but obviously a major ongoing concern. 2/10 is fair enough for now, and there should be a lot of weight on that rating!
  21. Was just thinking about this again and I mucked it up as Gallagher's fee won't factor into the 'intangible asset trading' profit. It'll show up in our rising amortisation costs. Nuttall was a free and whatever minimal fee Raya cost would've fully amortised, so fair to assume that the initial fees for Raya + Nuttall were about £3.2m. So, maybe £3m for Raya (and presumably rising!) and about £200k for Nuttall (not a bad deal!). Possible there are some minimal loan fees wrapped up in that number too (Rovers, like many clubs, don't split out fees from loans. Presumably most of our loans only include wage contributions anyway) On the amortisation, worth noting that is rising given Gallagher + Brereton + Armstrong etc. Amortisation costs for 19-20 were £3.7m, compared to £1.3m in 18-19 and only £0.4m in 17-18. On the point about doubling up on auditors between VLL and BRFC, it's possible there's some additional cost there, but the amount is minimal and clearly stated in the accounts: cost £19k in the latest VLL accounts. On those 'other expenses' I mentioned above, I think I now realise that amortisation/depreciation/lease charges are bundled into that. (Whilst I work in a numbers-oriented field, I'm certainly not a qualified accountant!) I don't have the time to split it all out historically, but they amount to about £5.5m for 2019-20, so the remaining 'other expenses' are £8.6m. Doing the same for 2018-19 leaves 'other expenses' at £9.2m. So, such costs actually declined last year! The increase is due to our transfer spending starting to bite after our "austerity years".
  22. I was honestly just guessing there! To add some more context to what I mean, here are the previous 5 years comparing 'other' operating expenses for the VLL and BRFC accounts: 2019-20: VLL £14.1m; BRFC ? 2018-19: VLL £12.3m; BRFC £10.4m 2017-18: VLL £10.2m; BRFC £8.9m 2016-17: VLL £11.5m; BRFC £5.9m 2015-16: VLL £12.4m; BRFC £10.7m 2014-15: VLL £13.8m; BRFC £11.6m Maybe BRFC reflects a subtraction from grants/subsidies for academy costs, etc. I don't know! Just thought it was worth pointing out that the BRFC accounts tend to be a bit 'better', partly due to that line item (particularly in 16-17!) Our 'other expenses' are certainly high by 'below average size' Championship club standards, but it tends to go without comment in the accounts. I'm not surprised it's high due to the extent of our facilities, but it is curious.
  23. PDF has now been uploaded. Took a glance and it's generally the same old story as recent years. Important to note that these accounts only go up to the end of March 2020, so they won't fully incorporate pandemic impacts. The more interesting set of accounts will be BRFC accounts, which should run until the end of June 2020. I would think the BRFC accounts are the more 'relevant' figures too. Some quick observations/notes: - Turnover up from £14.9m to £15.8m due to increased media revenue. Commercial approx. flat at £4.9m (still relatively high for our 'stature'). Matchday down to £3m from £3.6m, likely reflecting losing 2-3 home games due to the pandemic, plus attendance pre-pandemic being a bit lower. - Wages up from £19.6m to £21.9m. So, an increase, but still below-average for the Championship. - 'Other' operating expenses up from £12.3m to £14.1m. These continue to be high in comparison to other Championship clubs of our 'stature', likely reflecting the academy and other facilities (and hence likely a motivation for savings with the Brockhall STC proposal...). These numbers tend to bounce around a lot, as well as generally being a couple million lower in the BRFC accounts. Perhaps reflects some overheads for VLL that aren't relevant to BRFC (and hence the BRFC accounts are usually a 'touch' rosier!) - Profit on player trading of £3.2m. So, largely Raya + Nuttall - amortisation of Gallagher fee, but that doesn't quite add up by my quick math, so maybe also reflects some other add-ons that were activated that I can't think of (e.g. maybe Mahoney sell-on?) or loan fees (probably minimal). I would also suspect Raya was more than the £3m often bandied about (particularly if appearances were a clause) - Overall losses up from £19.5m to £20.8m. Operating losses up £3m due to increased wages/other costs outstripping turnover growth (wages/turnover rising from 154% to 158%), partially offset by the increased player trading profits
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