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Topics - MarkW

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West Bromwich Albion FC / Summer Transfer Window 2021
« on: August 31, 2021, 01:39:57 PM »
Use this thread to discuss our performance this summer

West Bromwich Albion FC / What is "The West Brom way?"
« on: February 10, 2021, 04:19:44 PM »
Thought I'd offer this one out to people.

In the Dowling thread there is talk about style of play, and a long term vision of the club. Now, from being on this forum a long time, I know there's a range of what people would like to see, and what people will tolerate if the results are good enough. I can remember the crowd being frustrated with players under Mowbray passing it around the back, with cries of "get it forward". Equally Pulis' football was pretty categorically disliked.

So, what brand of football do you associate with the club, and would like to see implented here as part of a longer term vision?

West Bromwich Albion FC / Players out of Contract
« on: December 04, 2020, 10:10:03 PM »
I was having a browse of TransferMarkt and noticed we have a lot of players in their last year of contract:

Ivanovic (Age 36)
Grosicki (32)
Lee Peltier (33)
Kieran Gibbs (31)
Hal Robson-Kanu (31)
Kyle Bartley (29)
Charlie Austin (31)
Jonathan Bond (27)
Conor Townsend (27)
Kyle Edwards (22)

Plus Filip Krovinovic (25) is on loan.

That's a lot of players, and we have to assume some of them will get contract renewals. There's an article on The Athletic at the moment basically saying how once a player gets into their last year of their contract, the balance of power in negotiations shifts in favour of the player, so they can demand higher wages, or refuse to leave in January so they get a nice signing on bonus when they move on a free in the summer.

I think Townsend is worth keeping, and I feel like there is merit in keeping Edwards, but I wouldn't be sad if the others all went. Regardless of which division we are in, I think more than you'd think will be offered new deals.

Notification through via The Athletic that our loan manager, Paul Terry (brother of John) has been charged with multiple counts of breaching betting rules

West Bromwich Albion FC / Squad Nationality & Language
« on: August 13, 2020, 12:42:56 PM »
In the Periera thread, Baggies made a good point that Krovinovic might be kept as he gets on so well with Pereira. Given the latter is our star player, it makes sense to keep them happy and do what we can to get the best out of them.

That got me thinking about potential signings, and I realised we are not a very cosmopolitan team, which may make it difficult to integrate several new players from countries dramatically different to the current squad.

The vast majority of our squad speak English as their first language, only Grosicki, Zohore, Hegazi and Pereira have another language as their first (Polish, Danish, Arabic and Portuguese being their first languages).

Our coaching line-up is a mix of Croats and British, hence we get linked with a lot of Croats.

Footballers are human. We saw last season there were certain cliques etc. New players have to integrate into the social hierarchy of the club. That might be easier for those who already speak a language that is already spoken in the dressing room

West Bromwich Albion FC / All WBA goals this season
« on: July 25, 2020, 04:22:39 PM »

All 77 league goals for us this season

Stolen from here

West Bromwich Albion FC / Official: Grzegorz Krychowiak Signs on loan
« on: August 29, 2017, 08:55:02 PM »
Seems like he's been solidly linked - John Percy broke the news


There are some widely held myths about how the football industry works, especially when it comes to finances. This is largely due to an intentional lack of transparency – mainly regarding transfer fees and wages – that is in stark contrast to the NBA and NFL, where player costs are publicly reported and every deal is viewed through the lens of how it will affect teams’ salary caps. With football clubs privately owned and free from most public reporting standards, fans receive most of their information about player costs and wages through the media.

But why are player costs important? After all, it’s not our money, right. Disregarding that it kind of is our money – the huge increase in Premier League TV revenue, for example, is being paid for through Sky and BT subscription fees from UK viewers – with domestic and Uefa financial regulations, clubs are prevented from spending much more than they earn. In practice, this results in individual spending caps for each team. Understanding how clubs calculate player costs helps us to see how they really value certain players, as well as how the money is being spent, which players provide good value, and which players do not.

Traditionally, in order to report on the financial nature of a particular transfer, a journalist must first have sources who were involved in the deal. That requirement alone means that well over 99% of those writing about football will be left completely in the dark. For those few journalists who have cultivated well-placed sources, the numbers they are told will vary depending on which side of the table the source is on.

If a journalist is trying to nail down the transfer fee, a source on the buying club might just quote the initial fee, whereas a source on the selling club might quote what the fee would be if all of the performance-based add-ons are met (without distinguishing how likely it is that said add-ons will be triggered). Similarly, when trying to find out a player’s wages, a club source is more likely to quote the basic wage, whereas the player’s agent might also include image rights and performance bonuses.

Naturally, these numbers can vary wildly depending on where the information is coming from, and the journalists can only report what he or she has been told. This is why we often see conflicting figures reported, and especially when a player from another European league is bought by a Premier League club.

The journalists covering the selling club will likely report what that club is saying, and perhaps the player’s agent, whereas the journalists here in England naturally have more contacts at the buying Premier League clubs, which can lead to discrepancies in the details.

While those who report on football finances do a good job of shining light on an important area – we would be left completely in the dark otherwise – there are a number of gaps that we, as fans, have collectively filled in with inaccurate myths about how the industry works. As a result, and in light of the transfer market being in full swing, The Set Pieces decided to bust a few myths surrounding the transfer market.

Shirt sales alone do not pay for a superstar’s transfer fee

No club has ever directly recouped a player’s transfer fee through shirt sales. Adidas, Nike, Puma and other kit suppliers get 85-90% of shirt sale revenue and this is the industry standard.

While there are some exceptions – a club such as Bayern Munich, which is part-owned by Adidas, may be given a slightly more favourable revenue share, and generally, once a certain (very large) number of shirts are sold, the revenue split on additional sales will skew more favourably to the club – these are the exceptions to the general rule.

As an example, Manchester United have a 10-year kit deal with Adidas worth £750m. This is one of the largest kit deals in football and easily the largest in the Premier League. However, the primary reason Adidas is paying Manchester United £75m per year is not simply to have a tiny logo emblazoned on United’s kit and use the club for marketing purposes. Of course, being associated with one of the few truly global clubs in football helps them capture market share in emerging markets and further solidify its presence in existing markets. But for the supplier, kit deals are licensing deals, and that’s where the real value lies to Adidas.

Football clubs are, by nature, football clubs. They’re meant to do football things. They don’t have the infrastructure required to manufacture and distribute millions of kits. Many can’t even handle running online shops, the logistics of which they outsource to third parties.

For any cynical readers who may not be so inclined to take our word for it – after all, it is a popular myth – just look at how United and Adidas announced the deal in July 2014, where the partnership is described, quite clearly, as a licensing package. In fact, Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer triumphed the deal as a “collaboration [that] marks a milestone for us when it comes to merchandising potential. We expect total sales to reach £1.5bn during the duration of our partnership.”

Despite the nonsense you may have heard about Zlatan Ibrahimovic shirt sales generating £50m for Manchester United, which would far exceed his wages, it’s simply not true. In fact, United don’t even automatically receive the 10-15% industry-standard royalty payment, no doubt because the up-front £75m annual payment is so large. United’s royalty payment only kicks in once a certain number of shirts are sold.

Just under three million Manchester United shirts were sold last season. As a case in point, let’s assume that Ibrahimovic helps sell an additional 300,000 shirts. A 10% increase is a very optimistic projection, especially considering Ibrahimovic is a Nike athlete and won’t be engaging in any Adidas promotional activities on his own. His image rights deal with United will almost certainly allow the club to feature him in Adidas promotional activities, as long as he appears with at least two other United players and the activity does not imply that Ibrahimovic is giving a personal endorsement to Adidas.

Additionally, while many United fans may choose to buy an Ibrahmovic shirt, over, say, a Chris Smalling shirt, a lot of those fans were already going to buy a shirt in the first place.

Let’s also assume that United’s royalty kicks in after three million shirts are sold, and the club receive a 15% royalty on each subsequent shirt sold. Assuming a price of £70 per shirt, that’s an additional £21m in gross sales from 300,000 shirts. Manchester United’s cut of that would be just over £3m. Now, £3m is not an insignificant amount, but it offsets less than 20% of what Ibrahimovic will likely cost the club this season (wages, agent fee, signing bonus, image rights deal).

So, at best, United are likely to see around £3m in additional revenue. While certainly not a paltry sum, it doesn’t come close to covering his costs, let alone help United earn an additional £50m. Put simply, there’s a reason why Adidas has earned more in the last six months than Manchester United, one of the highest-earning football clubs in the world, has earned in its 138-year existence.

Fax machine use does not hold up transfer deals

All clubs must to designate employees to be “TMS managers”, who are responsible for ensuring that transfers are processed correctly. The ultimate responsibility for training the TMS managers lies with the national FA but in practice the training usually occurs internally at club level, and big clubs often have several employees who have been trained as TMS managers.

Fifa TMS readily admits that the level of training and experience varies quite a bit from country to country, club to club. So, when a club has sub-par training or chooses the wrong employees to take on the role of TMS manager, problems can occur, which was possibly the reason for the failed transfer of Manchester United’s David de Gea to Real Madrid on deadline day last summer.

For anyone interested in learning more about the Transfer Matching System, Gab Marcotti wrote an excellent article in which he interviewed the general manager of FIFA TMS, and I have previously interviewed the head of integrity and compliance.

Net spend is not as important as fans might think

Despite what you may have heard, “net spend” is completely irrelevant to how big clubs do business and is not something they consider when calculating player costs. Consider the following: Manchester United signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund for £35m. Mkhitaryan will likely be earning the equivalent of at least £180,000 per week over the length of his four-year deal.

In practice, clubs such as United, for whom cash flow is never an issue, often pay the entire transfer fee up front or in a few instalments over a short period of time (less than 12 months). This helps reduce the overall cost of the transfer, and most selling clubs will much prefer to see the entire fee paid quickly, as opposed to several instalments over two or three years.

However, on the books – and this is how clubs actually calculate player costs – United, like every single other football club in Europe’s top eight leagues, will record the transfer fee as £8.75m in each of the next four years, not £35m now.

This is a universal accounting practice called player amortisation, and it is fundamental to how clubs calculate player costs. Rather than recording the entire purchase when it was made, the club will spread the transfer fee over the length of the player’s contract.

Naturally, wages must also be included in the calculation of player costs. Ideally, agent fees and image rights payments will be included as well, but to keep things simple, we’ll focus on the two big expenditures: amortisation and wages.

With Mkhitaryan costing Manchester United £8.75m per year in amortisation and £9.36m in wages (£180,000 per week multiplied by 52 weeks), his overall cost to the club is just over £18.1m per year. That £18.1m per year is what clubs look at with regards to player costs, not just the transfer fees coming in and out.

Let’s compare the Mkhitaryan deal to that of another recent Premier League signing from the Bundesliga: Arsenal’s £30m purchase of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach. Xhaka signed a five-year deal and will reportedly earn around £125,000 per week at Arsenal. The transfer fee will be spread out over Xhaka’s contract at £6m per year (£30m divided evenly over five years). So including Xhaka’s wages, the overall cost to Arsenal is £12m per year.

While the transfer fees for Mkhitaryan and Xhaka are similar, Mkhitaryan is costing Manchester United 50% more than Xhaka is costing Arsenal on an annual basis.

To further illustrate why net spend doesn’t tell you anything about how clubs do business, consider United’s signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer. While the “net spend” on that deal is zero, he adds well over £10m to Manchester United’s player costs this year.

If those were the only transactions United and Arsenal made this summer, their “net spend” figures would be similar (£35m and £30m, respectively). However, after applying the business and accounting principles that the clubs themselves use, we see that Arsenal added £12m to its total player costs for the coming season, while United added over £28m. Rather than a difference of less than 20% in actual spending (which is what net spend would show), the actual difference is over 200%.

Clubs do not have transfer budget, war chests and kitties

If anyone tries to tell you “big club x” has “y amount” to spend they are likely talking nonsense. Ask them to show their work on how they arrived at that number.

As we just discussed, there’s a lot more that goes into player costs than transfer fees. Unless the number being offered up clearly includes wages (which is more than half of the equation), and ideally at least a nod towards agent fees and image rights payments, you can safely disregard it as not reflective of that club’s available resources to bolster its squad.

Players are not alone in using agents

Clubs frequently employ agents as well to help find buyers and extract top fees for players they want to sell. The tandem of Kia Joorabchian and Giuliano Bertolucci are notable examples of agents who work on behalf of clubs. They helped Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur sell Ramires and Paulinho to Chinese clubs last year. Manchester United also used agents to help sell Robin van Persie and Nani to Fenerbahce.

It’s worth noting, though, that Joorabchian and Bertolucci are also Ramires’ and Paulinho’s agents, and Manchester United hired Van Persie’s agent for the Fenerbahce deal.

In the case where the club asks the player’s agent to also represent them, the agent should always make sure the player understands the natural conflict of interest that exists, recommend that the player seek independent advice, and get the player’s approval in writing. When the player’s agent acts on behalf of the club, it will be the responsibility of the club to pay the agent for his or her services, rather than the player.

Image rights are worth more than you think

Rarely mentioned when discussing transfers and wages (notable exceptions include when a manager’s former club managed to retain the trademark to his name or when one of the best players in the world stands trial for tax fraud), the image rights deal between the player’s image rights company and his new club comprises a significant portion of the player’s compensation and the overall cost to the club.

Image rights deals can be complex and, depending on which side of the table a journalist’s source was sitting on when the deal was negotiated, the image rights may not be included in the information they receive when they ask how much the player will be earning on his new deal.

For example, a player might be earning £85,000 per week in wages but, after including image rights payments, the player is likely earning the equivalent of over £100,000 per week (usually it’s around an additional 20% plus a share of the net profits the club receives from appearance and endorsement activities the player carries out on its behalf).

Bonus payments conditioned upon team and individual success as well as agents fees can also significantly add to a club’s cost with regards to securing a player’s services on the transfer market.

Sorry for the long wall of text but I found this article from last year and it goes quite far in showing how we, as far, really don't know how transfer dealings take place.


Launch of new website geared to recruitment

ALBION’s Academy today launches a new Talent Identification website as part of its ongoing search for the best and brightest young footballers in the West Midlands and beyond.

The website provides information about the Academy, the numerous success stories the club has enjoyed over recent seasons, as well as the many ways in which young players can take part.

A number of new player development programmes and player recruitment projects have been launched for the 2016/17 season - all designed to give young players the best possible opportunity to be spotted by and succeed at our EPPP Category 1 Academy.

All of these programmes are based exclusively at the Club's Academy facility, providing professional player development and assessment free of charge.

The aim is to find and work with the best and most hard-working players in the local region and beyond, seeking to add to our burgeoning reputation for helping to produce top-class Premier League footballers.

“We passionately believe that the Premier League stars of tomorrow are out there playing grassroots football now,” said Matt Richardson, Assistant Academy Recruitment Officer.

“Football potential comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Our player development programmes are designed to give everyone taking part the best possible chance to improve and succeed.”

“Alongside the work of our fantastic team of scouts, we hope that our new recruitment pathways will give lots more young players in the region the chance to live out their footballing dreams.”

Do you think you have what it takes to play in the Premier League? Are you a West Bromwich Albion star of the future? If so, the Albion Academy would love to hear from you!

To find out more about the Academy and the many new development projects available, click here.

I think it's great we have all these programmes: late developers, shadow academy...great ideas. Anyone going to apply for an assessment day?

Announcements, Feedback & Questions / We're back!!
« on: May 16, 2016, 05:36:14 PM »
As many of you will have noticed the forum has been down the past couple of days. This was a server-side problem and unfortunately couldn't be resolved by the admin/mod team.

It's obviously not been ideal timing what with the Liverpool game but we're back now.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Official site: Goal of the Season vote
« on: May 05, 2016, 10:39:49 PM »

Simply select your choice below to cast your vote

BAGGIES fans, what is your 2015/16 West Bromwich Albion Goal of the Season?

It's that time of the year when the montage music is wheeled out, highlights reels are clipped and we all get to sit back, stop what we're doing and enjoy three minutes of the finest net-busters of the campaign.

Voting for your official Albion Supporters' Player of the Season has now closed but this is your second chance to get involved and shape our end-of-season awards.

We've shortlisted the best 10 strikes below, in date order, and all you've got to do is watch the video and pick your favourite.

Voting will remain open until 12noon on Sunday (May 8) and the winners of each of our awards will be announced soon.

Now, it’s over to you....

Goals here

NB. The poll on this site is just so you can see how fellow members have voted. You need to go to the WBA official page (link above) to vote in the official competition.

Saw this article on the BBC:

"Lucy Bronze, I'm coming for you."

Sporting Club Albion striker Leigh Dugmore does not mince her words when discussing the prospect of facing the Manchester City and England defender in the Women's FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

Dugmore, Albion's leading goalscorer with 18 in 19 games this season, has gone so far as to tweet Bronze exactly those words.

That message from the distribution warehouse worker from Birmingham, and the determination behind it, sums up just how the lowest-ranked side left in this season's Women's FA Cup are treating their tie against one of Britain's richest and most glamorous sides.

"The best thing we can do is be confident," said 25-year-old Dugmore, who was playing for Leafield Athletic in the fourth tier of English football last season, while Bronze was starring for England at the Women's World Cup in Canada.

"If we pull out all the stops, stick together and play at our best, then we have a chance. If they underestimate us, and they will, we can surprise them.

"I tweeted Lucy Bronze that I'm coming for her. She is a great player and this is a great chance for all of us to see if we can step up.

"It's the biggest game of most our lives - it will definitely be mine."

But has Bronze replied? "No," laughs Dugmore, sounding slightly disappointed.

Albion, an amateur side from the third tier who train three hours a week and whose management team are volunteers, are associated to men's Premier League side West Bromwich Albion through its foundation.

The FA Cup is famed for pitting the unheralded against the game's giants - the poor from the lower reaches of the football pyramid against the rich with an international tapestry of talent at their disposal.

But rarely will the divide be as stark as at the Academy Stadium on Sunday when Sporting Club Albion, whose players pay to play, face one of the few fully professional women's football teams in the country.

To say they are in a different league is an understatement. Their respective league competitions do not even start in the same year - Albion's campaign is already seven months old, while City's Women's Super League season started a week ago.

"It's an astronomical mountain in front of us," says Albion manager Graham Abercrombie. "We all watched the World Cup last year - the players will be rubbing shoulders with their heroes."

'Fighting the same fight'

Five City players helped England claim bronze at the 2015 Women's World Cup - a third-placed finish that saw a spike in interest in the domestic game.

There was a major increase in WSL 1 attendances, with City boasting average home crowds of 1,500. Albion have also enjoyed a rise in interest, as Abercrombie estimates average attendances went from 20 to about 100 this season.

"We are all fighting the same cause, no matter the level," said Abercrombie.

"The game is fantastically growing, but at our level we are still paying to play, that is the bottom line. We have players in Sheffield who are doing 160-mile round trips to get to training.

"The commitment level of the group is second to none in the country when you talk about the financial and physical commitment of the players."

Abercrombie says both the staff and players at City are "heroes" in the English game as the club is playing a leading role in taking women's football into a new era.

Players now earning as much as £65,000 a year have been in a similar position as Albion's players, forking out subs and paying for fuel to get to training and games.

An unexpected journey

Albion are the only side from outside the WSL to beat a team from the top two divisions in this season's competition, ousting newly promoted WSL 2 side Sheffield FC in the fourth round.

Dugmore admits few could have expected them to reach the quarter-finals and that it has already been an "unbelievable" run.

"We have proven people wrong by beating Coventry, Sheffield and Brighton to get here," she said.

Abercrombie, who works as a school games organiser for the Youth Sports Trust - while also moonlighting as a graffiti artist, among other things - insists his side will not be overcome by the occasion.

"We appreciate who we are up against, absolutely," he said. "But we are not daunted, we are not going to get there and freeze. We are going there to try our absolute best.

"We are all excited, but the challenge has also really focused the players. There is an ambitious bunch here and they are hungry."

Destination: Wembley

Six other sides are also trying to reach the semi-finals this weekend, with a place in a Wembley final now just two wins away.

Arsenal host Notts County in a repeat of last year's WSL League Cup final, while Sunderland host Reading in another all-WSL 1 tie.

But holders Chelsea, like City, face lower-league opposition in WSL 2 outfit Aston Villa.

Villa edged past Everton 1-0 in round five to earn a trip to face the 2015 double winners at Wheatsheaf Park.

"We know we can't underestimate Aston Villa. Obviously we've got to defend our title," Chelsea defender Hannah Blundell told BBC Sport.

"Anything can happen in the cup and we have got to concentrate and stick to our strengths.

"Our behind-the-scenes staff have been doing their research and tipping us off about certain things.

"Last year's final was an amazing experience and Wembley is a massive occasion. We want to experience it again this year."

Villa have started 2016 with one win and one defeat from their first two league games.

Good to see other areas of WBA doing well, especially seeing as they are really punching above their weight.

General Football & Sports / MOVED: O2 priority
« on: February 17, 2016, 09:04:22 AM »

West Bromwich Albion FC / Mid-Season Squad List
« on: February 03, 2016, 09:16:31 AM »
The following has been released on the Premier League website:

25 Squad players (*=Home grown)
*Anichebe, Victor Chinedu
*Berahino, Saido
*Brunt, Christopher
*Chester, James Grant
Cordiero, Sandro Raniere Guimaraes
*Dawson, Craig
*Evans, Jonathan Grant
*Fletcher, Darren Barr
*Foster, Ben
Gamboa, Christian
*Gardner, Craig
*Lambert, Rickie Lee
Lindegaard, Anders Rozenkrantz
McAuley, Gareth Gerald
McClean, James Joseph
*McManaman, Callum Henry
*Morrison, James Clark
*Myhill, Glyn Oliver
Olsson, Jonas
Pocognoli, Sebastien
*Pritchard, Alex David
Rondon, Jose Solomon
Sessegnon, Stephane
Yacob, Claudio

Under-21 players (Contract and Scholars)
Artymatas, Panagiotis
Barbir, Daniel
Bradley, Alex
Campbell, Tahvon
Cleet, George Henry
Donnellan, Shaun
Dool, Sameron
Edwards, Kyle Hakeem
Elbouzedi, Zachary
Ezewele, Joshua Aizenose
Field, Samuel
Fitzwater, Jack Joseph
Forss, Marcus
Hall, Matthew Raymond
House, Bradley Roy
Howkins, Kyle
Jones, Callam
Keranovic, Jasmin
Leko, Jonathan Kisolokele
McCourt, Robbie
Melbourne, Max
Nabi, Rahis
Nabi, Samir
O'Shea, Dara
Oseni, Nathaniel Adeyomi Andrew
Palmer, Alexander
Pierce, Evan
Piggott, Jordan Christian John
Pritchatt, Callum George
Roberts, Tyler
Rose, Jack Joseph
Ross, Ethan Walker
Scrivens, Chay
Smith, James
Sweeney, Bradley Stuart
Ward, Joseph
Wright, Andre


The union that represents footballers around the world will on Friday launch a landmark legal action against Fifa in the hope of outlawing the transfer system and fundamentally changing the professional game.

Having run out of patience with Fifa and Uefa following long-running negotiations over reforms to the transfer system to protect players better, Fifpro’s lawyers will electronically file a complaint in Brussels with the European Commission.

Fifpro wants to abolish transfer fees and make it easier for players to move between clubs while respecting contracts. It believes its members have less freedom of movement than other workers when a club is able to demand a fee for a footballer under contract. Its lawyers also plan to argue that the existing system is anti-competitive because it places disproportionate power in the hands of elite clubs who can afford to pay large transfer fees.

Other Fifpro objectives include an end to the loan system, restrictions on squad sizes and the capping of payments to agents.

“Whatever happens, it is a historical moment not only for Fifpro but for professional football,” said Fifpro’s general secretary, Theo van Seggelen, who claims to represent 65,000 players across 65 countries. “We were responsible for Bosman, we were responsible for the declaration of objectives in 2001. We thought we had a good position then but we were tackled from behind.

“We’ve tried to solve this problem internally with Fifa and Uefa but I am 100% convinced that they have left us with no choice. I have been used to negotiating my whole career, with Fifpro and the Dutch union. But it has come to an end.”

Its lawyers believe it will result in the most seismic changes since the Bosman case to a transfer market they believe has become badly warped and no longer serves the best interests of players, fans or clubs. Moreover they will argue that it entrenches the dominance of the biggest clubs and damages the wider game.

“If we win this case and the European Commission declares it illegal, it will be like what happened after Bosman,” Van Seggelen told the Guardian, referring to the 1995 case that guaranteed freedom of movement for players when they reached the end of their contract.

“They have to change it. And if they don’t do it, there will be a declaration of objectives where they have to change it by a certain deadline.”

In the complaint to the Directorate General of EU Competition, Fifpro will argue that several opt-outs from European law agreed under a 2001 settlement have not been adhered to and are no longer in the public interest. They plan to argue that the transfer system is anti-competitive and also breaches European law on restraint of trade and freedom of movement.

The Commission could take six to 12 months to reach a decision and, if it rules in favour of Fifpro, lawyers estimate that it could take one to two years of horse trading beyond that to come up with a new set of rules.

Fifpro will argue that the transfer system breeds instability, with small clubs gambling on selling one or two star players to sustain themselves.

It will also point to new research from the economist Stefan Szymanski that shows that the argument that there is a “trickle down” effect from the transfer system from the biggest to the smallest clubs no longer holds water.

“The transfer system as it currently operates is intended to achieve a number of pro-competitive benefits in football markets by placing restraints on football players,” said Szymanski. “These restraints significantly impact the economic and social wellbeing of the players both in theory and in practice.

“Even if it were possible to justify these restraints because of the wider benefit to football, there is little evidence that these wider benefits have materialised. But in reality, it remains the case that there are better alternatives to achieving the stated policy goals, as observed by Carl Otto Lenz Advocate General at the European Court of Justice in the Bosman case 20 years ago.”

Szymanski’s 20-page analysis concludes: “As it currently operates, the transfer system sustains the dominance of the elite clubs by ensuring that they are the only ones with the financial muscle to afford the transfer fees payable for the very best players. Thus, as it currently operates, the transfers system is not only unfair to players, it also promotes the opposite of what was intended.”

Van Seggelen said it was difficult to be specific about what the future might look like if transfer fees were abolished. But he argued the biggest clubs had nothing to fear.

“Without a transfer system, the best players will still play at the best clubs,” he said. “The contracts will be shorter. But that’s not enough. So we also have to come up with alternatives to be sure that we will not have an unintended effect. We also need stability – you can make the contracts one, two, three or four years. You can say it will be very difficult for a club or a player to breach their contract.”

One vision of the future would provide a “protected period” where neither club nor player could break their contract within the first two or three years (unless there were extenuating circumstances where they were not getting a game). Then the player would be able to buy out the remainder of his contract and switch clubs. It would also limit contracts to a maximum of, say, four years.

If the brave new world went hand in hand with other governance reforms – capping agents’ fees, limiting squad sizes, getting rid of the loan system – Van Seggelen argued it would not remove the advantage of the biggest clubs but would stop money flowing out of the game and produce more stability.

“If the agents are going to decide where a player is going to play because a club will give him €20m, that is a problem we have to tackle,” he said. “That is why we have to put restrictions on the intermediary fees. Otherwise you will create another problem. We have already thought about that.

“You have to think about squad size limits – you can’t have a Manchester City squad with 60 players – and we have to forbid the loan system. It’s logical. And get rid of the agent fees. Those are the points we have to think about.”

He also argued that wholesale reform of the transfer system to better protect players and create more stability should go hand in hand with measures to improve competitive balance in the game across Europe.

“It’s a packet of measures – you also have to look at the distribution of money. I look at all the countries,” he said. “In Slovenia football is small. We are not in a communist situation where everyone will become equal. The product from England is fantastic. They will still have the most money. That is not the problem.”

The impasse has come about because Fifpro claims the biggest clubs wanted to link new rules around guaranteeing payment of salaries – a major issue in some smaller leagues – to concessions elsewhere.

Fifpro has maintained that new rules on “overdue payables”, ensuring that players get paid on time, should be a given and not linked to the wider negotiation over the transfer system.

A 2012 Fifpro study across 12 countries showed that 42% of players did not receive their salaries on time. Van Seggelen insisted the biggest clubs in Europe had nothing to fear from getting rid of transfer fees and that smaller clubs had plenty to gain. He argued the only losers would be the agents and middle men taking money out of the game. Fifa’s own figures show that agents’ fees on international transfers rose to £155m in 2014.

“We are not the only ones complaining about the ridiculous system with the transfer window. There is the press, the fans,” he said. “Everybody understands that you want to end the season with the same team you start with. We are not saying ridiculous things.”

The Dutch secretary general, a former player, said the landmark case was a fitting way to mark the organisation’s 50th anniversary and insisted the widespread stereotype of footballers being concerned only with their own pay packet and position was unfair.

“Top players know where a player in the second division is coming from,” he said. “They know it could have been them. The solidarity of the players is unbelievable.

“I speak with players from all over the world, from Japan to Bolivia. The only difference between players is that one has a second-hand bike and the other has a Ferrari. All the players have to sacrifice to become a professional player.

“Our top players promote Fifpro, they are happy to be in our world XI, they are happy to be treated like everyone else. That is why the top players in Spain demanded that players in the third division were paid two years ago. We represent 60,000 players and we are united.”

Not sure I like the removal of the loan system. Don't understand how youth players at bigger clubs will gain match experience without it. Maybe a reduction on the number of players you can have loaned out to stop teams like Chelsea hoarding youngsters then farming them out.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Squad Numbers 2015/16
« on: August 16, 2015, 10:42:19 PM »
1   Foster
2   [Blank]
3   Olsson
4   Chester
5   Yacob
6   Lescott
7   Morrison
8   Gardner
9   Ideye
10   Anichebe
11   Brunt
12   [Blank]
13   Myhill
14   McClean
15   Pocognoli
16   Gamboa
17   Lambert
18   Berahino
19   McManaman
20   O'Neill
21   [Blank]
22   [Blank]
23   McAuley
24   Fletcher
25   Dawson
29   Sessegnon
31   Gnabry
33   Rondon

Manually done it from the updated OS:

West Bromwich Albion FC / Tactics / Closing Down
« on: August 12, 2015, 01:26:35 PM »
I've seen some people say we need to close down more, or that we stood off City too much. This post is an attempt to show why we might have played that way, and then people can discuss it should they feel inclined to.

So we started Monday with this formation, roughly speaking:

When we didn't have the ball, it looked more like this:

A deep back line, narrow full backs, wingers tucking in. This is a Pulis FormationTM.

This is good for defending the area around the box, as it limits space for the likes of Silva and Bony, but it needs your midfield two to be disciplined and be able to win the ball - something we didn't do very well. The narrow back four defends the most important area of the pitch - that area directly in front on the goal. The wingers track back to fill in the wide areas. Most importantly, this formation is about keeping your shape, and not getting dragged out of position.

For example, if Morrison chases the ball high up the pitch, then you end up with this:

A nice big pocket of space in front of the back four, which Silva and Toure would exploit.

So the solution is to push the whole team forward, right? Play a higher press?

Well that leaves space in behind, and if the full backs move out wide to close the wingers down, it leaves space in the inside channels too.

So I guess the point of this post is to say it's a lot easier said than done to purely say 'we need to close down more', because we have a slow back four that aren't going to be good when facing their own goal (e.g Zamora out pacing Lescott!). Because of that we have to sit deep, and if you go chasing the ball while sitting deep, you end up gifting space to the opposition.


West Bromwich Albion FC / Where Are You Sitting?
« on: August 03, 2015, 10:20:07 AM »
So the new season is upon us, so why not learn who sits near you at the ground? You might even make a friend, or at the very least, be able to put a face to a username! Post as little or as much information as you wish.

Personally I don't have a season ticket this year but will get along to a few matches - probably sit near my parents' season tickets on row D, seat 125-ish (I think), East Stand.

West Bromwich Albion FC / WBA - No Longer a Selling Club?
« on: July 04, 2015, 12:20:46 AM »
Just something I've noticed recently. We don't really sell that many players any more. Gone are the days of JP getting a great deal for average players.

SeasonTotal Transfer Income (£)Highest Transfer Out
01-025,250,000Lee Hughes - £5,250,000
02-032,000Tamika Mkandawire - £2,000
03-041,800,000Jason Roberts - £1.47m
04-051,370,000Scott Dobie, Sean Gregan - £525,000
05-066,350,000Robert Earnshaw - 2,890,000
06-071,790,000Nigel Quashie - £1,580,000
07-0822,580,000Diomansy Kamara - £6,300,000
08-097,180,000Curtis Davies - £7,000,000
09-103,370,000Craig Beattie - £1,470,000
10-111,300,000Luke Moore - £700,000
11-127,850,000Borja Valero - £4,200,000
12-132,610,000Simon Cox - £1,750,000
13-147,980,000Shane Long - £5,950,000
14-152,500,000George Thorne - £1,610,000
15-160 N/A

All details are from here:

So we average around £4,700,000 a year (including this season) from transfers. I'd say that given we spend such a high amount on wages, it's better to get people off the books on free transfers, than to haggle over a few hundred thousand.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Matty Phillips
« on: July 01, 2015, 12:52:41 PM »
Think he deserves his own thread

West Bromwich Albion are making headway in their pursuit of QPR winger Matt Phillips and have also offered a new contract to coach Gerry Francis.

24-year-old Phillips has become Tony Pulis’ top transfer target and lengthy negotiations with QPR appear to be paying dividends.

QPR were looking for around £7 million for a player who was bought from Blackpool two years ago for £5million.

Pulis is also keen to keep Francis at The Hawthorns.

Francis is out-of-contract after joining Albion in the middle of January in a move that saw Paul Jewell quit after just a few days at the helm.

There have been reports that Francis has been in talks with QPR about re-joining the Loftus Road club.

Francis still lives in London and clearly the commute is far from ideal but Albion are confident he will put pen to paper.


FA chairman Greg Dyke has warned Premier League football is in danger of "having nothing to do with English people" as new proposals to limit the number of non-EU players are outlined by English football's governing body.

The FA has also revealed plans to toughen the rules on home-grown talent in the latest proposals from its commission, which was set up in 2013 to improve the England team.

The commission has also proposed changes to work permit rules having highlighted flaws in the system.
The stricter work-permit rules, approved by the Home Office on Friday, will come into force from 1 May.
Under the proposals outlined by the FA on Monday:

A player will have to have been registered with his club from the age of 15 - down from 18 - to qualify as 'home-grown'.

The minimum number of home-grown players in a club's first-team squad of 25 will increase from eight to 12, phased over four years from 2016.

At least two home-grown players must also be 'club-trained' players - defined as any player, irrespective of nationality, that has been registered for three years at their club from the age of 15.

Only the best non-EU foreign players will be granted permission to play in England.

Speaking to the BBC's sports editor Dan Roan, Dyke explained the rationale behind the FA's new proposals by highlighting the impact of Harry Kane.

The Tottenham striker, 21, only made his first Premier League start for Spurs in April 2014, and is this season's top scorer with 19 goals.
Harry Kane

"We have to do this by negotiation with the different leagues and with the clubs - we have to convince them that this makes sense for English football," said Dyke.

"And we are helped by Harry Kane in truth - we are helped by seeing a young kid come into the Spurs team and become the top scorer in English football.

"How many other Harry Kanes are around in the youth teams of Premier League clubs? It was almost by chance that Tim Sherwood became manager at Tottenham for a time and put him in the side - otherwise he would still be out on loan at Millwall or somewhere else."

"If you apply the system we are just introducing over the last five years, a third of non-EU overseas players that have come here wouldn't get in," Dyke added.

"We don't want to stop the outstanding talent coming here, but there are an awful of bog-standard players as well.

"If we could get all this through, over the next three, four or five years, you could see the numbers of home-grown players going up from a percentage in the high 20s to 40%. It matters that this happens across the whole of English football, but it particularly matters to the top end of the Premier League.

Just three English players were in the Manchester City line-up across the two legs of their recent Champions League loss to Barcelona
"The future England team by and large play for the top six sides. If you look in Germany, or Spain, it's always the same. And amongst the top six sides the decline in English players is quite marked.

"If you look at who is playing in the Champions League, the English numbers compared to the Germans, the Spanish or the Brazilians, are pathetic."

BBC Sport's Ben Smith

"Greg Dyke made this issue a priority from the moment he became FA chairman in 2013. His fear is that England will drift into international football obscurity if nothing is done and he wants to be the man to do it.

"Dyke has always been a populist and these proposals will chime with many England fans. But the acid test is how they are received by Premier League clubs.

"They will have to vote for the reforms by a two-thirds majority for them to come into effect. Dyke will argue that there are more Harry Kanes and Ryan Masons ready to come through the system if only the Premier League clubs can clear a pathway for them."

Danny Mills on work permits

Former England **** Danny Mills sits on the FA commission established by Dyke two years ago.

"Something like 95% of work permit appeals go through. On what basis? We want the creme de la creme ," said Mills.

"We want the best players. But we are starting to get foreign players in the Championship and League Two. That reduces the number of English players who can come through the system.

"It matters to the English game. Harry Kane is adored. Fans will always have an affinity to the local lad or English players. It bridges the gap between superstar and fan, between the exceptional and the normal.

"It is very important that those links stay there."

Work permit changes - key points

Currently, players must have played at least 75% of their country's internationals over the past two years. That will now change according to ranking. Players must play at least 30% of matches in the last two years if their country is in the top 10, 45% if ranked between 11th and 20th, 60% between 21st and 30th and 75% if between 31st and 50th.

Player currently must have played for a country in the top 70 when rankings are averaged over two years. That will be lowered to the top 50.

All players are currently measured over the last two years. The new regulations will allow leeway for players aged 21 or under to only fulfil the criteria for the previous 12 months.

The FA estimates that 33% of the players who gained entry under the old system would not have been granted a work visa under the new rules. That means that over the last five years there would have been 42 fewer non-European players playing in the Premier and Football Leagues.

English game needs foreign players - Hartson

Former Arsenal striker John Hartson says the FA need to be careful about bringing in new rules as foreign players can help to improve their English counterparts.

"The best players I ever worked with were Dennis Bergkamp and Henrik Larsson," said the ex-Wales international. "I learned so much from them.

"Having 12 English players in a squad may not be a bad rule but you don't want to prevent good foreign players coming over and playing in this country.

"By that, you could miss out on a couple of really good foreign players who could be of benefit to the Premier League."

"If the FA can limit the number of foreign players in a squad, that will help," he said. "A world-class player is entitled to come and play in the Premier League. But players who are not quite ready? What is the difference between our lads who are not quite ready? A rule needs to come in.
"Something obviously has to be done, because who knows in 10 more years what is going to happen, The Premier League will still be going, I am sure, it will still be exciting and brilliant but everyone wants that buzz back when we can look forward to the World Cup and European Championships.

"It is so important these young lads, like Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane, get their chance. I am sure there are a lot more players out there who just need that chance."

Can't say I'm too thrilled with this. So Man Utd or Liverpool, who can afford the best, can take the best of the rest of the world, but if WBA want to bring in a Yacob then that's not allowed? Seems like another way the top teams will get better and the rest will continue to struggle.

I'd like to see an analysis on how each team would be affected by this. The only saving grace for us is we're starting to reap the rewards of our academy, so hopefully we won't be impacted to badly. But what about those teams that poach youngsters in the hope 1 or 2 get half decent, like Chelsea have done? They have the resources to grab the best kids before they are on professional contracts, and then train them before their 15th birthday.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Fans favourites
« on: December 30, 2014, 06:57:23 PM »
Do we have any left?

used to be that even if the chips were down we'd have the like of a Gera or Phillips that people would get behind.

Do we have any players who the fan base are largely unanimous in their support of?

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