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Author Topic: Release clauses, short term thinking and the need for a Director of Football  (Read 3268 times)

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Offline Baggies

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Johnny Evans left a couple of weeks ago for around £3.5 million, in what looks like one of the bargains of the summer for Leicester. Many in the local media, and also fans after reading the rationale, were frustrated but understood the reasons why the club put the option in the contract, as it allowed us to sign a top class centre half who was used to winning things in his career.

We have however since found out that at least 4 players have these relegation release clauses in their contracts and this is now resulting in a real period of uncertainty, as the club know that these players could leave on the final day of the window with us having no power to stop them, but equally they might all end up having to stay and we may have spent a lot of money on replacements, going over budget and hurting our FFP position.

Due to the lack of structure at the club, and the continued poor recruitment by Lai's administration (Terraneo being the latest example), it is hard to imagine that the club are going to pull a few rabbits out of the hat in the final month of the window and somehow clear the decks while recruiting a number of successful replacements.

It has got me thinking about the apparant recent culture at the club to offer release clauses in players contracts, and if this was a wise decision. Now some will argue that we had to offer it to get these players (including the local media), but as far as I can see, neither Swansea nor Stoke are in this position and yet they also signed a number of very good players in recent years, so clearly release clauses were not something we HAD to offer so freely.

Instead, it appears this was a risky choice the club chose to include in players contracts in the Tony Pulis era, possibly even driven by Pulis himself. Pulis after all had a lot of power at the club (if the reports are true), and he would have known that if we were to be relegated, he would have been sacked anyway so would not have needed to deal with the risk associated with these contracts. He would only get the benefits, ie, getting the players over the line without letting negotiations drag on.

It is this short term thinking which puts the club in the long term in a dangerous position, and proves just how important a director of football or technical director is.

A manager only thinks about his (or her) short reign (average 2 years). They don't care about the bigger picture, just their own success. Had a competent director of football  been in place and had the final say, I doubt that so many players would have had these release clauses as the director of football would have recognised the position the club may have been put in should we get relegated.

Now however, we sit here in the final 4-5 weeks of the transfer window, with 3 ticking time bombs on our books in Hegazi, Rondon and Chadli, all with a 50-60% chance of having their release clause met, and others like Dawson putting in transfer requests. We probably need 1 back up goalkeeper, atleast 1 more centre back (but equally we might need 2 or 3 if Hegazi and Dawson go), another wide man, another central midfielder and maybe 2 more strikers. All of this because we do not have full control of our own destiny this window.

Next time you think "why do we need a director of football", remember the short term thinking of the Tony Pulis era, and remember the position we sit it now, feeling very unstable and unable to plan. Directors of football are vital.
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Offline baggiejohn

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Johnny Evans left a couple of weeks ago for around £3.5 million, in what looks like one of the bargains of the summer for Leicester. Many in the local media, and also fans after reading the rationale, were frustrated but understood the reasons why the club put the option in the contract, as it allowed us to sign a top class centre half who was used to winning things in his career.

We have however since found out that at least 4 players have these relegation release clauses in their contracts and this is now resulting in a real period of uncertainty, as the club know that these players could leave on the final day of the window with us having no power to stop them, but equally they might all end up having to stay and we may have spent a lot of money on replacements, going over budget and hurting our FFP position.

Due to the lack of structure at the club, and the continued poor recruitment by Lai's administration (Terraneo being the latest example), it is hard to imagine that the club are going to pull a few rabbits out of the hat in the final month of the window and somehow clear the decks while recruiting a number of successful replacements.

It has got me thinking about the apparant recent culture at the club to offer release clauses in players contracts, and if this was a wise decision. Now some will argue that we had to offer it to get these players (including the local media), but as far as I can see, neither Swansea nor Stoke are in this position and yet they also signed a number of very good players in recent years, so clearly release clauses were not something we HAD to offer so freely.

Instead, it appears this was a risky choice the club chose to include in players contracts in the Tony Pulis era, possibly even driven by Pulis himself. Pulis after all had a lot of power at the club (if the reports are true), and he would have known that if we were to be relegated, he would have been sacked anyway so would not have needed to deal with the risk associated with these contracts. He would only get the benefits, ie, getting the players over the line without letting negotiations drag on.

It is this short term thinking which puts the club in the long term in a dangerous position, and proves just how important a director of football or technical director is.

A manager only thinks about his (or her) short reign (average 2 years). They don't care about the bigger picture, just their own success. Had a competent director of football  been in place and had the final say, I doubt that so many players would have had these release clauses as the director of football would have recognised the position the club may have been put in should we get relegated.

Now however, we sit here in the final 4-5 weeks of the transfer window, with 3 ticking time bombs on our books in Hegazi, Rondon and Chadli, all with a 50-60% chance of having their release clause met, and others like Dawson putting in transfer requests. We probably need 1 back up goalkeeper, atleast 1 more centre back (but equally we might need 2 or 3 if Hegazi and Dawson go), another wide man, another central midfielder and maybe 2 more strikers. All of this because we do not have full control of our own destiny this window.

Next time you think "why do we need a director of football", remember the short term thinking of the Tony Pulis era, and remember the position we sit it now, feeling very unstable and unable to plan. Directors of football are vital.


Valid argument except:

We did have a Director of Football, a Technical Director, a Chief Executive Officer & a Chairman, all of whom would have given the go-ahead for the release clauses.

What nobody seems to know is, are the release clauses linked to a wages flex down? If they are, then retaining the players concerned won't hit us so badly financially.
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Offline paulosull

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Evans release clause was a joke and who ever agreed to it must be inept. If agents insist on these arrangements then an extra fifty percent of original transfer has to be the minimum, buy someone for 10 million relegation release clause 15 million and if triggered same as player requesting transfer if he decides to go.

Offline Standaman

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I have often ranted about the stupidity of the relegation release clauses particularly the sweetheart deal given to Evans but also the others although not as bad in terms of the fees still terrible in that it negates the point of the 50% flex down clauses in their contracts.

Yet I agree with Baggies they are very much symptomatic of the short term thinking that characterised the end of Peaces time in charge that culminated in the appointment of Pulis and the legacy that we are now working with. 

To some degree the issue is n't  real until you are actually relegated and going down this route the board might of kidded themselves that the combination of Pulis and these signings would somehow be a guarantee against relegation well that wasn't the case and yes it has come home to roost now we have been relegated.

A competent DOF is something we have been crying out since Ashworth left. However it is more than just the person in the role it is the whole approach which is methodical geared to the long term and supported at board level without that we won't get to first base regardless of who we appoint.
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Offline overseas baggie

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It isn’t the release clauses per se which are the problem, it’s the risk of them being met in the last hours of the transfer window, leaving us with millions in the bank but no time to buy a replacement.  Easily solved if the release clauses are drafted so that they are only exercisable if the price is met more than say 2 weeks prior to the end of the transfer window,

Offline BoingFlyer

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Thing with Evans release clause is it would only have been activated if we were relegated. I guess it's something his agent negotiated to offset the wage step down we would have insisted on. Last thing we would of wanted was a disruptive Evans as the highest paid player in the championship. Also at the time the contract was signed we only paid £6 million for him.
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Offline baggiejohn

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It isn’t the release clauses per se which are the problem, it’s the risk of them being met in the last hours of the transfer window, leaving us with millions in the bank but no time to buy a replacement.  Easily solved if the release clauses are drafted so that they are only exercisable if the price is met more than say 2 weeks prior to the end of the transfer window,

On the face of it, you're right, but all we know are that some players have relegation induced release clauses.
We know none of the details.
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Offline Mr Cynical

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3 of the 4 with release clauses are overseas, and high profile players in their countries.  I imagine they wanted the release clauses so that they can continue to play in a top league and get the exposure they desire at home.  (As well as protect for wage loss, etc.)

Evan's release clause is an anomaly, as he's UK based and the trigger is actually less than we paid for him.  It's probably there to offset the chance of him having to face a 50% wage drop.  IIRC Kanu (the real one) had a relegation release clause, so he could just walk away when we were relegated.

The addition of a contractual term removing the right to a release clause in the last week of the window would protect us from players departing at the last minute with no control or chance to replace.  I don't know if we have these terms in the contracts.  It's probably the first time we've dealt with the impact of the scenario so maybe we're naive and they're not there?

We have to remember that contracts are there to protect the players as well as the club, and not every clause works in the clubs favour.

Offline baggiejohn

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3 of the 4 with release clauses are overseas, and high profile players in their countries.  I imagine they wanted the release clauses so that they can continue to play in a top league and get the exposure they desire at home.  (As well as protect for wage loss, etc.)

Evan's release clause is an anomaly, as he's UK based and the trigger is actually less than we paid for him.  It's probably there to offset the chance of him having to face a 50% wage drop.  IIRC Kanu (the real one) had a relegation release clause, so he could just walk away when we were relegated.

The addition of a contractual term removing the right to a release clause in the last week of the window would protect us from players departing at the last minute with no control or chance to replace. I don't know if we have these terms in the contracts.  It's probably the first time we've dealt with the impact of the scenario so maybe we're naive and they're not there?

We have to remember that contracts are there to protect the players as well as the club, and not every clause works in the clubs favour.


I find it difficult to believe we're that naive & haven't gone through the thought process, if it's then been overruled or dismissed, that's negligent.
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Offline kie the baggie

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I know a few stoke players have release clauses, joe allen one but he sighned a new contract a couple of weeks ago, also shakiri has a release clause of 12 million, who would in my opinion be better value than any of our lot with clauses.

Offline Mr Cynical

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I find it difficult to believe we're that naive & haven't gone through the thought process, if it's then been overruled or dismissed, that's negligent.

See everything about last season and our recruitment over several years, plus the (non) sales of Berahino and Evans. It would be easy for me to believe this too.

Offline tylerm

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A club like our has to get used to players having release clauses. In Evans case he would not have signed for us without that clause in place. Same for Chadli and probably Rondon too. These clauses don't have to be market value although I do believe that the clauses for Chadli and Rondon are close to their market value.

Offline DaveWBA

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https://www.expressandstar.com/sport/foo...e-bartley/

A few interesting comments r.e. release clauses at the bottom of this.

They all time out later this month and at the start of August meaning we wont be left short if someone were to make a last minute bid to sign one of Hegazi, Rondon or Chadli. Seems the club are hoping to keep hold of as many players as possible and replace them if needs be. Perhaps this can allay some of the worriers slightly?

Offline SmethDan

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https://www.expressandstar.com/sport/foo...e-bartley/

A few interesting comments r.e. release clauses at the bottom of this.

They all time out later this month and at the start of August meaning we wont be left short if someone were to make a last minute bid to sign one of Hegazi, Rondon or Chadli. Seems the club are hoping to keep hold of as many players as possible and replace them if needs be. Perhaps this can allay some of the worriers slightly?

Doubt it, but you never know.
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Offline ex coseley kid

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https://www.expressandstar.com/sport/foo...e-bartley/

A few interesting comments r.e. release clauses at the bottom of this.

They all time out later this month and at the start of August meaning we wont be left short if someone were to make a last minute bid to sign one of Hegazi, Rondon or Chadli. Seems the club are hoping to keep hold of as many players as possible and replace them if needs be. Perhaps this can allay some of the worriers slightly?

I hope you are right.
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Offline DaveWBA

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I hope you are right.

Even if I'm not it at least shows that we're thinking about it. Which is more than some seem to think we're doing.

The plan is to either keep hold of as many players as possible, or we've released this information now to give clubs the hurry up into making the right offer. Expect things to quicken up as players return from World Cup squads in the next few days.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 02:52:41 PM by DaveWBA »

Offline Baggies

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It does make me worry slightly less, as i did try to clarify thisbwith Wilson (and Lepkowski to a degree) on twitter a while back but neither knew at the time. Not sure why the club didn't cinfirm this earlier.

I still feel strongly about the short term thinking though and the need for a director of football.
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Offline TheJacko2000

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I hope you are right.


I hope the Express and Dingle journo is right.
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Offline Standaman

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It is a relief that the release clauses are time barred then at least the worst case scenario is taken out of the picture. Equally while I remain pessimistic about holding onto any of the 3 but although there is the usual swirl of speculation no one has actually triggered any of the clauses.

Darren has obviously spoken to the players concerned and while I'm sure if the "dream move" comes up they would be off in a heartbeat but I have no idea what their dream move is and if it doesn't materialise then maybe just maybe we have a chance of holding onto one or two of these players and that is a massive bonus for us.   
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Offline TheBrom

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The director of football role really worked for us in previous years. I mentioned on numerous occasions that when we started to give the manager too much power around transfers again we’d end up in a position where we have a squad suited for a certain manager that would be unworkable for future managers. A solid director of football that oversees the transfers and makes them for the long term gain of the club is invaluable to modern football clubs in my opinion.

Regarding release clauses, again in my opinion they are fine in general as they provide the club with a better calibre of player under the premise that the club performs well. However this is also bittersweet as the player knows that if we do get relegated then they have a potential out. Some form of middle ground would be preferable but to be honest the club has been run based on short term goals for a couple of seasons now, which again links with my director of football point above. We need to start looking towards building a long term plan again, rather than trying to get by season by season.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 06:40:47 PM by TheBrom »

Offline zippyandbungle

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Evans release clause was a joke and who ever agreed to it must be inept. If agents insist on these arrangements then an extra fifty percent of original transfer has to be the minimum, buy someone for 10 million relegation release clause 15 million and if triggered same as player requesting transfer if he decides to go.
Clubs like wba have to fish in quite a big pond, it's very easy to look back now and say what should have happened but at the point of negotiations...we wanted him, there were many others interested and as a top level pro, him and his team insisted on the clause to protect them if heaven forbid we got relegated

Would you not have signed him?, if not who else would you have signed that was as good, same fee and wouldn't want the clause?
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Offline geoff

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Clubs like wba have to fish in quite a big pond, it's very easy to look back now and say what should have happened but at the point of negotiations...we wanted him, there were many others interested and as a top level pro, him and his team insisted on the clause to protect them if heaven forbid we got relegated

Would you not have signed him?, if not who else would you have signed that was as good, same fee and wouldn't want the clause?

We should have sold JE in the January to city, the club knew about the the release clause in his contract, yes we would of moaned but a release of this clause by the club would have shown the club had made the right decision.   

Offline Standaman

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Clubs like wba have to fish in quite a big pond, it's very easy to look back now and say what should have happened but at the point of negotiations...we wanted him, there were many others interested and as a top level pro, him and his team insisted on the clause to protect them if heaven forbid we got relegated

Would you not have signed him?, if not who else would you have signed that was as good, same fee and wouldn't want the clause?

No it is a matter of principle it cuts to the heart of everything we have done to protect ourselves against relegation. Fine let's not sign Evans I can live with that, Pulis might have got inebriated off and buggered off two years earlier which I would have regarded as a bonus.

To recap why they were awful deals.

1. Completely negates the 50% flex down in the contract for those players.
2. In the event of relegation we are in a difficult position of not knowing if and when the clauses will be triggered.
3. In the case of Evans was way too cheap although with all release clauses pitching it right is difficult particularly in a market which is inflating rapidly.
4. Evans deal was so good he has a financial incentive for us to be relegated.
5. Splits the dressing room difficult to say to Dawson sorry won't let you go for less than £20m when Evans etc.. can swan off to wherever for less.
6. Sign that the players won't take responsibility for the outcomes on the pitch which I know is endemic but gives them less skin in the game.
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Online costa blanca baggie

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No it is a matter of principle it cuts to the heart of everything we have done to protect ourselves against relegation. Fine let's not sign Evans I can live with that, Pulis might have got inebriated off and buggered off two years earlier which I would have regarded as a bonus.

To recap why they were awful deals.

1. Completely negates the 50% flex down in the contract for those players.
2. In the event of relegation we are in a difficult position of not knowing if and when the clauses will be triggered.
3. In the case of Evans was way too cheap although with all release clauses pitching it right is difficult particularly in a market which is inflating rapidly.
4. Evans deal was so good he has a financial incentive for us to be relegated.
5. Splits the dressing room difficult to say to Dawson sorry won't let you go for less than £20m when Evans etc.. can swan off to wherever for less.
6. Sign that the players won't take responsibility for the outcomes on the pitch which I know is endemic but gives them less skin in the game.
Excellent points. We, as a club, chose the wrong avenue to continue existing in the greed League. This example, and the extortionate loan deals, is what has put us in the position we are in now. Thank our creator for parachute payments. It was madness
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Offline zippyandbungle

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No it is a matter of principle it cuts to the heart of everything we have done to protect ourselves against relegation. Fine let's not sign Evans I can live with that, Pulis might have got inebriated off and buggered off two years earlier which I would have regarded as a bonus.

To recap why they were awful deals.

1. Completely negates the 50% flex down in the contract for those players.
2. In the event of relegation we are in a difficult position of not knowing if and when the clauses will be triggered.
3. In the case of Evans was way too cheap although with all release clauses pitching it right is difficult particularly in a market which is inflating rapidly.
4. Evans deal was so good he has a financial incentive for us to be relegated.
5. Splits the dressing room difficult to say to Dawson sorry won't let you go for less than £20m when Evans etc.. can swan off to wherever for less.
6. Sign that the players won't take responsibility for the outcomes on the pitch which I know is endemic but gives them less skin in the game.

Well the question was to paulosull...and the reason I asked was that I have never seen him post either positively or proactively with an idea , every response is after an event and "I wouldn't have done that the club is crap" type

Anyway
1) no it helps the club reduce wages
2) fair point(but we should be planned for the instance)
3) it looks cheap, but at the point of negotiations we were on the way up so possibly weren't looking at a "what if" (which was an error)
4) I'd word it as he couldn't lose
5) Dawson knows he is a different level, they all know they have different contracts, I don't think this point is valid
6) modern football, quite simple there is no loyalty or real caring for an individual club...we should stop expecting it
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