Attention: Please take a moment to consider our terms and conditions before posting.

So what is "good governance" of a football club? And is it achievable?

Thanks to @Cafc43v3r for the inspiration. He raised a number of challenging questions on the takeover thread. We who seek to take the fight to the football authorities need to have a clear view on the issues he raises, because they will challenge us in the same way. But I know these questions are being tackled within fan groups across the land and I will seek out and link relevant papers from SD and the FSF.

Hopefully we can keep this thread amicable. I have my opinions, but I certainly don't think they are bullet-proof, and I don't think the wider fan world has cracked it generally. Kicking this around amongst us will certainly help build stronger arguments before we face the EFL and the rest of the football machine.

The main points from @Cafc43v3r post which i think can kick this off are below. His full post is on page 1288 of the Sale thread and well worth a read.

What do you actually want to EFL to do in a situation like ours? As far as I am aware you can't force the sale of a private company.

What constitutes bad ownership? Who judges who is a good owner and who is a bad one. In the last 6 months I have seen public criticism of the owners from clubs ranging from Manchester United and Chelsea to Chesterfield and Torquay.

If the ELF could take harsher action against "poor" owners, who would step in and pay the bills? About 80 clubs loose money every year, who is going make up the shortfall?


For now, I'll just respond with this initial thought. Yes, football clubs are private companies, but they are not normal private companies. To ply their trade, they need a load of other competitors, to join with them in providing the League. A football club without a League to play in isn't worth a roll of duct tape.
It follows then that the League needs to have rules that all clubs adhere to. For whose benefit are these rules set? For the clubs alone? Well maybe, if they are happy to play behind closed doors. But of course they are not. So for the people who fill the stands then? The "customers"? Well if they are just customers then the spectacle of the game is the only thing that matters so what happens to individual clubs is irrelevant, so long as some football is played which encourages customers to turn up. But what if the customers are in fact irrationally emotionally attached to their club in a way that they are not to their favourite supermarket? Does that then imply that they should have a say in the rules, so that their club will at least remain as a healthy entity, albeit with fluctuating fortunes on the pitch?

My answer to that last question is "yes"; but I have not even begun to suggest what the 'rules' might actually be....

Over to you. Please contribute, even though it is sodding difficult to get to grips with.
«13

Comments

  • I really like points 2 and 3, although to me point 1 seems be going in the wrong direction, we should be pushing for more sustainable finances at football clubs, rather than just accepting the current insanity which surely can't go on forever.
  • edited September 15

    I really like points 2 and 3, although to me point 1 seems be going in the wrong direction, we should be pushing for more sustainable finances at football clubs, rather than just accepting the current insanity which surely can't go on forever.

    What if clubs were REQUIRED to financially break even over any given year. Not as impossible as one might think. It's not that they can't technically lose money, but that the owner must inject enough money at year-end to essentially break even.

    Already SCMT operates this way, but only above £4M losses per year. Just drop that total to zero, force owners to fill the void instead of making it an option, and extend the rule to the Championship and PL. Voila!

    That alone might radically change club ownership for the better. If you are not willing to run the club at break even... don't buy! If you wanna throw money at it, it has to be YOUR money and not debt.

    The downside is perhaps that might cause no one to want to own an English club.



  • Very much like Napa's stash of cash ideas above.
  • Blackpool fans have submitted a document sometime ago to the EFL on good governance which Shaun Harvey said would be considered along side their own work on a code of conduct but was vague about when, suggesting that this could only be implemented after Oysten and Duchatelet have gone.

    I think the purely financial measures suggested miss the point.

    Duchatelet has the money, it's much deeper and wider than rhat
  • edited September 15
    Owners need to realise they will never make money owning a football club. I think some of the poor ownership we have seen is because those individuals saw football clubs as a cash cow which could make them money. This would appear to be impossible so they need to have sufficient money to burn during their tenure. Even Roland seems to think he can get double what he paid when we are now at a lower level and in a much poorer condition than 4 years ago.

    There should also be something in there which is akin to listed building status. These clubs are a community asset with their grounds, ground names and team colours part of a tradition passed down over the years since formation. There needs to be recognition that all of these things and possibly others need protection so owners cannot randomly rename the club (Hull Tigers) or the grounds (too many to mention but these stadiums that are just named after sponsors like the Etihad and the Emirates are just as bad as asset stripping). The club names, grounds, and names of grounds are part of the asset which I believe the EFL should be protecting and safeguarding for future generations of fans.
  • Owners need to realise they will never make money owning a football club. I think some of the poor ownership we have seen is because those individuals saw football clubs as a cash cow which could make them money. This would appear to be impossible so they need to have sufficient money to burn during their tenure. Even Roland seems to think he can get double what he paid when we are now at a lower level and in a much poorer condition than 4 years ago.

    There should also be something in there which is akin to listed building status. These clubs are a community asset with their grounds, ground names and team colours part of a tradition passed down over the years since formation. There needs to be recognition that all of these things and possibly others need protection so owners cannot randomly rename the club (Hull Tigers) or the grounds (too many to mention but these stadiums that are just named after sponsors like the Etihad and the Emirates are just as bad as asset stripping). The club names, grounds, and names of grounds are part of the asset which I believe the EFL should be protecting and safeguarding for future generations of fans.

    Roland won't be making money, even if someone pays the £40-45m. With the debts to him written off, he will still have lost a massive sum

    Fans want an owner to invest in the club and subsidise the losses, I'm not sure the EFL can insist on that though.
  • edited September 15
    I don't think it should be so focussed on finances - that would rule out a fan-owned model such as AFC Wimbledon which is modestly successful.

    It can also get hugely complex to introduce a full charter - aren't these meant to exist in various toothless forms already?

    Instead, it could be very simple but based on the opinion of fans: an annual scoring of owners by fans of the club. To avoid 'mischief' e.g. Millwall fans rating Charlton, it would have to be done professionally and independently and based on fans who are in some way registered/ involved with the club ie season ticket holders, Trust members, etc. Then base it on a simple, overall metric e.g. "How satisfied are you with the way the owner(s) run(s) Charlton?" 10=very satisfied, 0=extremely dissatisfied. And why do you say that?" Professionally administered to ensure it is statistically significant and representative.

    This is then turned into a score (along the lines of a Net Promoter Score for those in business who are familiar with that). If the score falls below an agreed acceptable level, or even declines significantly from one year to the next, the football authority investigates further/ holds the club owner to account.

  • Some great stuff here already, thanks to all.

    Some quick points.

    ON @NapaAddick interesting ideas, especially point 1. A problem with that point is that the fan owned clubs, AFCW and Portsmouth, would have ben stymied by that proposal i think. It's also instructive to look at Swansea. They were one minute to midnight at the bottom of Div 4. A consortium of very local business people was brought together by the fans. The fans raised just £50k to ensure they had a 20% stake. Swansea commenced their remarkable rise through the league to reach the FAPL, while remaining profitable. At one point, the Trust banked a dividend of £400k, which was used to then participate in the capital raising exercise and ensure they could still keep 20%. So far, so brilliant. But that 20% stake wasn't enough to see them frozen out of sale talks two years ago, and I am not sure now whether they have as fans any more influence than those at say, Tottenham. Depressing, but needs thought.

    We could consider how the German 50plus1 system has kept RD in check at Jena, now easily the most successful club in his "network:. The German system in some way ensures the community status sought by @Stig and @EveshamAddick. However so far i have never found a really good summary of how 50 plus 1 works and is policed

    I think I have a copy of the Blackpool document which @Henry Irving refers to. To my shame I have not properly read it. I will dig it out and post or summarise it (If it is the same doc)
  • Sponsored links:


  • @PragueAddick I'd like to read the Blackpool fans document
  • Decent chip portion sizes is a must
  • Nationalise all our clubs with Public Ownership. Football clubs play a massive part in the community. Get rid of all these private owners.
  • Essential: involvement in the local community
  • Good governance of a football club is one thing but how about good governance of the EFL?

    Here's an idea: a small levy on match tickets to all EFL matches - a very rough & ready calculation might suggest around £30m per year based on an average attendance of 10k across the 3 divisions at £1 per head. This money could be used to fund an independent fan's body given representation on the EFL board with veto powers.

    Excess money generated in this way might be used to set up an investment fund available for helping supporters trust projects or assisting distressed football clubs
  • There are some interesting comments on this thread that attempt to put objective criteria around good governance. That's a really good thing as it's measurable, demonstrable and trackable.

    I've taken a different approach, based not on the facts and figures around the ownership, and, instead looked at the "feeling" fans have about their club's - and other clubs' - ownership.

    If you look at how Charlton have declined over the last few years, you can "tell" it's all gone very badly, without knowing the owner's net worth, projected cash-to-asset value or FFP adherence. And, in fact, no matter how much money the owner has or is investing, he's running the club very, very badly.

    My suggestion would be to measure the fans' opinions of the owner. It's easily done via Net Promoter Score. And if every EFL club were to do this regularly, it would be very easy to see which clubs have good owners and which have bad ones. It could also easily be determined which owners are going in the wrong direction, allowing remedial action to be taken before it's too late.

    The EFL could even prevent demonstrably bad owners of clubs from taking a controlling interest in other EFL clubs. (Particularly useful in the case of Forest's former owner kicking the tyres on another EFL club).

    NPS shouldn't be used on its own. And it won't prevent all bad owners. But it will immediately identify red flags and could be used to prevent harmful takeovers. And, as a bonus, the non-financial elements that can identify a good owner, but which are missed by merely poring over financial spreadsheets, could be rewarded.

    So owners engendering pride in their club (say, by promoting an anti-racism stance, hiring opera singers, recognising (figuratively and literally) former players and supporting charities) will be rewarded with a positive NPS score; and idiots who steal breakfasts, deny water, refuse staff bonuses and turn their fan base against them will lose out, quickly and publicly.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Promoter
  • I dunno if consumer rights could be adapted, RD certainly flouts several of these.

    image
  • I dunno if consumer rights could be adapted, RD certainly flouts several of these.

    image

    I have a couple of questions about this.

    1. What is redressel?
    2. What's the relevance of the Indian Dental Academy?
  • As you may have realised I have pondered this question for quite a while.

    The German 50+1 model could never be implemented in England. Who would pay the glazers there billions to make it happen?

    In the following points "club" refers to mainly the fans.

    The first point is results on the pitch. Every club has a view of where they should be in the league structure. I think its fair to say our view is top half championship. Every club in the league who is in a significantly lower place will be unhappy with certain elements of the governance. Every club who is in a higher one don't really care about much else.

    Football fans will tolerate a lot if their team are winning. Example Manchester United fans now think their club are walking bill boards for Korean noddles and Slovenian fridges. They aren't happy because results on the pitch are not what they think they should be.

    The second and third points are directly link to the first but point number 2 is managment appointments.

    In fantasy fan land everyone wants a manager that "gets their club" promotes youth team players, plays nice football, builds a legacy and wins games. Chelsea and Watford don't do that, they higher and fire at will. But they win games. When Watford fall out of the premiership that approach will be used against them. Not an issue now because they are winning games.

    Manchester City have managed to be more successful with every sacked manager. Who is to say though that they won't get the next appointment wrong, does that make bad owners?

    The 3rd point is player recruitment. Everyone makes bad signings. For many reasons the lower down the league you go the more impact one or two bad signings impact. Us and Blackburn, you could argue got relegated from the Premier league, and the championship, on the back of 3 or 4 bad signings each. In isolation impossible to govern.

    All the other things clubs want, regular engagement, successful youth academy, community projects, subsidised woman's teams etc become a lot easier to do when the team is performing on the pitch.

    Next is a point, which maybe is goverable by someone is club critical mass, for want of a better expression. The longer you are in the Premier league the higher your costs. Not only in playing staff but the additional staff as everything is bigger, more national press, TV, corporate events etc. Over night these disappear on relegation and its real peoples jobs that go.

    Finally "bad ownership" is becoming a self made problem. Due the cost of buying and running a club the size of Charlton very few people can afford it. So foreign owners like us, Blackburn etc come in, not understanding football/English football.

    Quite often they employ an agent, or similar, to evaluate the squad and recommend new signings. These tend to be unsuitable for a number of reasons. More often than not the incombent manager gets the hump and is either sacked or resigns. This leads to almost total distrust of the ownership from the start. As things settle down there tends to be an upward curve. As soon as anything goes wrong on the field the ownership is to blame. Fans get frustrated, attendances drop, investment falls due to to fall in revenue, the circle repeats. Fans get angry attendances drop more etc. If you are being personally abused are you going to engage and invest more of your own money?

    Our home game against Shrewsbury had about 10k less Charlton fans than the game against qpr 3 years before. 10k people are not actively boycotting. As we saw last season attendances picked up towards the end of the season.

    Also social media acts as an echo chamber, the amount of untrue allegations against RDs ownership that are repeat as fact is honestly outrageous. I think it's very important to stick to actual facts other wise people do appear as "vinegar pissers". It's not like there aren't enough to go after.

    Football, as with any big business is full of egos and shady characters and all the time the premier league dangle the carrot it will get worse.

    I would imagine that the clubs with the best net recommendation score for there owners are clubs with very realistic ambition or one's that see themselves over achieving?

    If Blackburn get promoted this year there "ownership problem" will vanish. If Brighton have really bad luck with injuries and signings, it happens, will there good owner go bad?

    Will Fleetwood fans get frustrated the longer they spend in the top half of league 1 with out going up?

    Look how differently we all look at RM now, the same person, was always prone to the outrageous remark and telling the odd porkie but results ment that didn't matter to most.
  • Chizz said:

    There are some interesting comments on this thread that attempt to put objective criteria around good governance. That's a really good thing as it's measurable, demonstrable and trackable.

    I've taken a different approach, based not on the facts and figures around the ownership, and, instead looked at the "feeling" fans have about their club's - and other clubs' - ownership.

    If you look at how Charlton have declined over the last few years, you can "tell" it's all gone very badly, without knowing the owner's net worth, projected cash-to-asset value or FFP adherence. And, in fact, no matter how much money the owner has or is investing, he's running the club very, very badly.

    My suggestion would be to measure the fans' opinions of the owner. It's easily done via Net Promoter Score. And if every EFL club were to do this regularly, it would be very easy to see which clubs have good owners and which have bad ones. It could also easily be determined which owners are going in the wrong direction, allowing remedial action to be taken before it's too late.

    The EFL could even prevent demonstrably bad owners of clubs from taking a controlling interest in other EFL clubs. (Particularly useful in the case of Forest's former owner kicking the tyres on another EFL club).

    NPS shouldn't be used on its own. And it won't prevent all bad owners. But it will immediately identify red flags and could be used to prevent harmful takeovers. And, as a bonus, the non-financial elements that can identify a good owner, but which are missed by merely poring over financial spreadsheets, could be rewarded.

    So owners engendering pride in their club (say, by promoting an anti-racism stance, hiring opera singers, recognising (figuratively and literally) former players and supporting charities) will be rewarded with a positive NPS score; and idiots who steal breakfasts, deny water, refuse staff bonuses and turn their fan base against them will lose out, quickly and publicly.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Promoter

    So if a owner has a bad nps, like ours would, what can the Efl, or anyone else do about it?

    You can't make them sell, fine them? That would, in our case come straight out the club budget, effectively making things worse for fans. Points deduction? Transfer embargo? Worst case removal of the golden ticket?

    Also how do you make a nps subjective? If you use Cast mailing lists or social media you, by definition, target the most engaged fans. Who are most likely to be vocal against any ownership, for a variety of reasons.

    For example I would imagine people that buy the voice of the valley and people that still buy the official club programme have differing views. Yes some people will always buy both.

  • Sponsored links:


  • Nationalise all our clubs with Public Ownership. Football clubs play a massive part in the community. Get rid of all these private owners.

    Got the railways to worry about first
  • An intresting exercise would be to monitor the number of spurs fans who complain about their ownership model tonight.
  • @PragueAddick I'd like to read the Blackpool fans document

    So, what I have from BST is a what they call a "Case Review Model" which they submitted to the EFL 9and then the Ombudsman) in Feb. It seeks to put a structure around how the specific Blackpool case should be investigated by the EFL, in a way which potentially applies to other clubs. It's three pages of Word, so to long to paste here.But it might be on their website. I will happily send you the doc but I would like anyone here interested to be able to see it too, ideally. Thy also shared a strongly worded letter to Lenegan which is worth a read in this context too.

    Pressed for time this weekend with guests here, maybe if you are at your computer, perhaps watching the match, you could check to see if they have a link to the document on their site?

  • edited September 15
    Looking for a link to "Case Review Model" on BST site took me to this: https://www.blackpoolsupporterstrust.com/Site/LatestNews.aspx?NewId=136

    Not sure if this is what @PragueAddick meant as it is dated August, not February, but might be an updated version?
    Edit: just read it to the very bottom and found the February date.
  • Cafc43v3r said:

    Chizz said:

    There are some interesting comments on this thread that attempt to put objective criteria around good governance. That's a really good thing as it's measurable, demonstrable and trackable.

    I've taken a different approach, based not on the facts and figures around the ownership, and, instead looked at the "feeling" fans have about their club's - and other clubs' - ownership.

    If you look at how Charlton have declined over the last few years, you can "tell" it's all gone very badly, without knowing the owner's net worth, projected cash-to-asset value or FFP adherence. And, in fact, no matter how much money the owner has or is investing, he's running the club very, very badly.

    My suggestion would be to measure the fans' opinions of the owner. It's easily done via Net Promoter Score. And if every EFL club were to do this regularly, it would be very easy to see which clubs have good owners and which have bad ones. It could also easily be determined which owners are going in the wrong direction, allowing remedial action to be taken before it's too late.

    The EFL could even prevent demonstrably bad owners of clubs from taking a controlling interest in other EFL clubs. (Particularly useful in the case of Forest's former owner kicking the tyres on another EFL club).

    NPS shouldn't be used on its own. And it won't prevent all bad owners. But it will immediately identify red flags and could be used to prevent harmful takeovers. And, as a bonus, the non-financial elements that can identify a good owner, but which are missed by merely poring over financial spreadsheets, could be rewarded.

    So owners engendering pride in their club (say, by promoting an anti-racism stance, hiring opera singers, recognising (figuratively and literally) former players and supporting charities) will be rewarded with a positive NPS score; and idiots who steal breakfasts, deny water, refuse staff bonuses and turn their fan base against them will lose out, quickly and publicly.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Promoter

    So if a owner has a bad nps, like ours would, what can the Efl, or anyone else do about it?

    You can't make them sell, fine them? That would, in our case come straight out the club budget, effectively making things worse for fans. Points deduction? Transfer embargo? Worst case removal of the golden ticket?

    Also how do you make a nps subjective? If you use Cast mailing lists or social media you, by definition, target the most engaged fans. Who are most likely to be vocal against any ownership, for a variety of reasons.

    For example I would imagine people that buy the voice of the valley and people that still buy the official club programme have differing views. Yes some people will always buy both.

    The questions on the thread are "what is "good governance" of a football club? And is it achievable?". What I've tried to do is show how an early indication of "bad governance" can be made. So, de facto, if those suffering bad governance can be identified, the remainder must be benefiting from good governance.

    The EFL could ban a low NPS owner from buying another club in the future. And, under the threat of this type of sanction, owners might be persuaded to govern more in the interests of their fans. A good, first step; certainly better than the current situation where nothing is done.

    Businesses in many, many industries use NPS. It would be absolutely straightforward to poll a "fair" selection of each club's fans. The exact mechanism (ST holders, ticket buyers, fan club members, whatever...) would be up to the EFL to impose on the clubs. It's the comparison between clubs that's immediately important. That's easy as long as the EFL imposes similar methodology. Subsequently, it's the increase or decrease in NPS over time that's important. And that simple to show, as long as the method is consistent.

    With this data, you could tell how well each club is governed and which clubs are getting better or worse. That's a great place to start - and far more information than we have now.
  • N01R4M said:

    Looking for a link to "Case Review Model" on BST site took me to this: https://www.blackpoolsupporterstrust.com/Site/LatestNews.aspx?NewId=136

    Not sure if this is what @PragueAddick meant as it is dated August, not February, but might be an updated version?
    Edit: just read it to the very bottom and found the February date.

    That's what I have, thanks for linking it.

  • edited September 15
    Wow! I never thought I would see NPS on a this board.

    I know the guy who founded NPS. He also wrote one of the greatest business books ever, "The Loyalty Effect," which might be out of print. My dream would be to have our club run by the tenets of that book. I run my winery based on many of it's principles and I think any business or club that follows the basic tenets of that book is bound to succeed.

    I would die to see NPS scores on English clubs. I bet most would be dreadful.
  • edited September 16

    Nationalise all our clubs with Public Ownership. Football clubs play a massive part in the community. Get rid of all these private owners.

    That way of doing things works so well right now in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Turkey, South Africa and other tin-pot, banana republics.

  • There is much of interest here. See Wikipedia's article on Net Promoter Score, which links to The Loyalty Effect. This highly influential book is available at A*****n in both the original 1996 and revised 2001 editions.

    Purely a personal thought - it might be helpful to sidestep the connotations of words like fans, supporters, followers and customers, and on occasion use instead the lovely, somewhat neglected word patrons/patronage, which has its own subtle and positive meaning. Customer is a thoroughly discredited and mealy-mouthed term, for example rightly derided by sports enthusiasts and downright nasty when used in the context of public transport, whose practitioners seemed to abandon almost overnight the perfectly sound word passenger.
  • edited September 16
    I think @Stig nailed the perfect owner!

    There is a lot of talk about financial managment of clubs, I believe that's why the ODT was brought in, to prevent the issues that happened at Portsmouth being repeated. It must be said if that was the aim, it appears to have been successful.

    The only case, in resent years, of a club nearly going to the wall, that I can think of, was Villa, that was due to a change in the law of moving money out of China IIRC.

    (edit forgot Bolton, but that appears to be a technical issue rather than lack of funds?)

    I don't believe that there has been any threat of "badly run" clubs like us, Blackburn or Coventry going out of business.

    So in purley the nature it was intended ODT has been a success.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Roland Out!