Stable Management And The Conference


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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5 Responses

  1. I’ll close the bloody gates…your banned. Like Casey in ’07

  2. This article is all lies. Everyone knows that Cambridge are next.

  3. boris says:

    Thanks for publicising the plight (or alleged possible plight) of Oxford United. It’s been a disastrous decade for the club, which is probably still paying for the Glory Years of the1980s. It’s almost exactly ten years since FOUL was formed, in response to the last financial crisis at the club which almost saw it fold (until, with an irony only available in hindsight, Firoz Kassam turned up to save the club and get the new stadium completed). At that time players’ wages were funded by the PFA and the backroom staff went unpaid for two or three months. There’s no suggestion of that happening at United yet, but if Ian Lenagan decides not to continue funding the losses then, whether or not he walks, this could become the reality again. Even if things don’t get to that stage it’s all looking pretty bleak, and some supporters are talking (some rather hysterically) about relegation, or even doing an AFC Oxford scenario. While we’re not at that stage yet, and hopefully never will be (it would mean United dropping at least two or three divisions and having to find a different ground to play at, of which there are precious few in or around the city), it is a measure of how serious things are (or rather, how serious things might be – we don’t know for sure because the owners have a bunker mentality and aren’t telling us), and also an indication of how good a job OxVox are doing in bringing the problems to the supporters’ attention.

    The main problem was that the new owners arrived with a weight of expectation: initially that Jim Smith would prevent the side from being relegated to the Conference, and then that United would bounce back to the league instantly. A lot of money was thrown into the club to try and ensure that happened, and when it didn’t there was no plan B, but a lot of players on expensive contracts and not a lot left in the pot for others. It looks like they are gambling again on promotion this season, bringing in expensive signings, and early indications are that they’ve got it horribly wrong. Personally, I don’t think Darren Patterson is a bad manager (there are some United fans who disagree, loudly) but that working under his current constraints, and with that weight of expectation, he’s been hamstrung. It’s a vicious circle – the more desperate the club becomes, the less likely they are to succeed.

  4. Roger Conway says:

    Some of these compounding problems have also come from the ‘parachute’ payments system, which encourages clubs to overspend in their first season in a lower division.
    When a club is relegated to the Conference in particular, it is symptomatic of deeper problems than just not winning enough matches to stay up. When Exeter City were relegated in 2003 their ‘parachute’ payment was immediately gobbled up by creditors so they didn’t have the opportunity to throw money at team in an attempt to go straight back. Oxford did over spend and then crashed in the play offs and last season Torquay did the same. They are both looking at a much longer stay in non-league than they thought and of course, Oxford are in even deeper ‘do-do’. The 5 years it took Exeter to get promotion back to the league were spend in re-structuring the club, with the Supporters Trust holding 62% of the shares, forming a sound off the pitch organisation as well as re-building the playing staff by the appointment of young untried Managers (Eamon Dolan, Alex Inglethorpe and Paul Tisdale). All of these were/are able to work within budgets, have a strong commitment to youth development and the recruitment of young players who have potential but haven’t quite made it elsewhere. No overpaid journeymen joining to enhance their pensions, but honest team players.
    The result is not only playing success, but a solid financial model with the bonus of being able to gain the rewards from selling on players up the pyramid. Recently George Friend joined Wolves in a deal that is realistically worth a potential £500k + sell on clauses.
    Scrap parachute payments and those teams relegated will have a better incentive to get the basic right as early as possible.

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