Author Topic: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...  (Read 1787 times)

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KnaveofAlbion

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Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« on: June 24, 2021, 12:08:33 AM »
Hi all,

One of the most constant things on here is the board/owner are called "cheap" and every single time i cringe a little and move on. But I'm open to the idea I'm missing something. So here is my 2 pence (pun intended), please chip in and say where you think I'm wrong.

The ideal owner is a benevolent benefactor who loves the club, has "done good" and wants to raise up the team they supported as a kid from the stands. Now we'd all love that, but that aside i think who we have is on the negative side of neutral and is FAR from the worst we could do.

The owner/s (i do understand there are questions about exactly who the real owners are) brought the club over the odds and wanted to use Albion as a platform to promote their businesses. To my understanding they got unlucky as the Chinese gov was promoting the idea of Chinese business leaders doing this and then realised how much money was leaving the country and put an immediate halt on the idea. I'm not saying the owners would or could have chipped in cash, but at that moment the very ability to do so was stopped.

Since then the club have spent basically all they can. We were into an overdraft for the first time in ages 2 years back, that has been corrected. We've spent all we can on fees and wages, there is a very strong argument this was done poorly. But buying unwisely isn't the same thing at all as being cheap. Its sort of the opposite.

I see a lot of vague "the owner hasn't invested". Which is very odd language to use, mostly by people who themselves have no history in business or corporate finance. What they are really saying is the owner should pump X amount of £10s millions in on a few players on the hope it goes well...

In short, the owner cannot put money into the club, even if they wanted to it would almost definitely be a bad business decision and as a self running business we do all we can with the funds available. For example, prior to VI coming people mocked the idea we'd spend £700k on buying out Appleton. Now we've paid £2m+ on VI and his team those voices have gone quite.

Buying out a coaching team isn't exactly the act of a cheap ownership? Any chance people are going to come out and say they were wrong?

As i say, this is a place for discussion. So aside from vague dreams of carefree billionaire owners, what are people wanting that isn't happening?
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boinging_along

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2021, 07:50:21 AM »
Likewise though I hear that we are a well run club and spend within our means, but then the same people will insist that we can't possibly afford an extra £5m because we'll go to the wall.  Seems we're always on the brink of doing a Bolton yet we are also a well run club.

What I'd like is a bit more clarity from the club. Eg, When the summer transfer window shuts and we've inevitably missed out on targets we get told that the money was there for purchasing players.  January transfer window opens, the money is no longer available.  When we sell MP, will that money be available for transfers? What would the budget be with/without the sale?

We also have no clarity on where the decisions lie for transfers anyway.  When we've gone into seasons with obvious holes in the squad it would be nice to know who is responsible, did the board refuse to sanction purchases, did the manager turn them down, did we buy others when the manager didn't want them?  This can cause frustration for the fans as you've no idea if the manager has his hands tied by the club or if he has a blind spot in the squad.

It is an investment for the owners though.  Nobody is saying we should pump 10's of millions, but for example, it was clear we were short a couple of players (at least) last summer.  I've no problem if we had a long term plan and the board explained that.  Might have meant a rubbish season but knowing it's allocated for means it's one the fans could have got behind but they didn't do that.

They genuinely believed we should have stayed up last season and gambled on Allardyce.  Offered him a 7 figure sum, paid God knows what on wages to him, had to pay Bilic off, then managed to find money down the back of the sofa in January.  If that money was available why not use it in the summer and give us the best chance.  Or if the squad wasn't good enough, concede that it'll be tough and plan for it.

Instead we get this middle ground of mismanagement.  We didn't spend enough in summer, but Lai still expected Premiership football. That's why he's getting accusations of being cheap.  You don't call someone who doesn't have a lot of money, but manages it well, cheap, but someone who refuses to spend the going rate on something but still expects a top quality product will get called it.  Lai wanted a Premiership squad but expected to spend Championship money.

I'd argue it's not that we always do everything on the cheap - it's that we seem to do things badly.

darbolina

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2021, 08:24:40 AM »
I think my overall criticism of our leadership over the years is that unlike some clubs, we seem to settle for being enough. A few years ago , we were in far better shape than Leicester, Burnley, Palace, Brighton, Leeds, Wolves, Southampton and a few other established premier league teams. We had a good crop of youngsters coming through, a good youth system, a strong squad and a solid structure. At the time, we were content to stand still (stay up) and therefore went massively behind and dismantled all of the good work it took about 10 years to implement.

Since Lai came in , we've simply had no ideas, energy, innovation (as well as money which we never had) and became a Sunderland style club , let's appoint him as he has a bit of experience at keeping teams up or let's appoint him as he has done well in the past with seemingly little long term vision. I mean Dowling ran the football side for the past  few years so that speaks volumes for me as to the benchmark the club set!

Nothing to do with money for me  (we've never really had it and had to work to get it), but I see no progress, innovation, energy or ideas to progress as a club. Meanwhile Brentford, Norwich, Swansea and others are methodically building something in our old vision whilst we fall further behind by looking for the next short term fixes.

We're just flat and stagnant. We will remain so unless we overhaul the top of the club completely and start with a clean slate.

baggiejohn

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2021, 09:01:43 AM »
Don't think we could be described as cheap, the club are spending within their means.

I think it's fair to say, we've not spent our money very wisely over the past 2 or 3 seasons, & there doesn't seem to be a focused approach.

Have to say though, I don't understand a policy of paying by installments when the club is up for sale, all that does is to increase the debt, & subsequently reduce the amount of cash the owner would get in a sale.
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paulosull

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2021, 10:05:32 AM »
Investment is part of our problem but main culprit is vision, Ebenezer and Lai only had or have one priority what's in it for me. Scrooge sold him and his Chinese investors a pup, double your money in a few years with no outlay bar your initial investment. Now with his eyes we'll and truly opened bloke is desperate to sell in the hope of recovering most of his money.

wodenson46

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2021, 12:33:22 PM »
Pretty much agree with every point made by KnaveofAlbion. By and large we tend to do as much as we can be expected to regarding spending, so we are not essentially a cheap club just not a wealthy one by Premier League standards.

However I believe Darbolina when he  calls the lack of progress, and Paulosull when he argues about lack of vision have both hit the nail squarely on the head. It is not just the low levels of investment, it is the particularly narrow short sighted lack of vision shown by the most recent ownership, and their senior employees that is the prime reason for our lack of progress.

We all understand that the club is not wanted by the ownership, but that he will not sell at the current going rate as the loss over what he paid is considered too great. Being in the Premier League will help reduce a loss on the sale so at a superficial level this is all he needs to do. His only vision then has to be promotion asap, and a sale before lack of investment brings us back down. There is no interest in a longer term vision nor in developing young talent.

The Allardyce experiment, was merely an elastoplast on a severed artery. It was no more than a panic driven failed attempt to buy more prem time in order to get a better price regardless of any long term damage to the object of the sale.

We desperately need new ownership, who truly see WBA as a project worth developing to their rightful potential as a top half top English league club. This will take vision innovation, time and a hell of a lot more money than most potential candidates will have, so unfortunately, I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

The best we can hope for is the occasional foray into a greed league to top up the meagre funds, maybe even stay for a couple of seasons, then back to start over sort of Groundhog Day style. With any luck there might be a few good bits and pieces to enjoy along the way, and we will still have something to aim for.

The first thing is getting an exciting new Manager so for ***** sake Albion get on with it

Albionic

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2021, 01:17:38 PM »
no one can accuse Fulhams owner of being "cheap" and this proves that the amount invested does not correlate to success.
What does correlate is a plan, however there isn't only one plan Abramovic has a different modus operandi to Man City for example,
The issue at the Albion seems to be "the plan" is to sell the club for as much as possible, no more no less.
If the plan means constant changes in personnel, style, development (academy) so be it, just get the club into a position that someone / anyone will buy it,
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PartisanBaggie

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2021, 01:28:31 PM »
We’ve always been a tight, penny-pinching football club. It’s been going on for years and years and years. Ingrained in Albion’s soul, sadly.

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2021, 01:39:18 PM »
Goes back to the Peace era - look at the battles with Daniel Levy - both as bad as each other.
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seteefeet

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2021, 01:56:44 PM »
I agree with the OP, not cheap at all, we just don't have enough money.
The Premier League has conspired to price out any club that doesn't fit into it's brand promotion and protect the cash cow's that are the big 6.

If anything we have punched above our financial weight for years.

albion59

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2021, 01:57:39 PM »
Goes back to the Peace era - look at the battles with Daniel Levy - both as bad as each other.
Way before Peace i am 61 now and i remember my Grandad telling me when i was a kid the Albion have loads of money but will never spend it! Also at a supporters club meeting years ago Johnny Giles was talking about signing Brian Kidd and the board had agreed a fee but when they met Kidd  he asked for £200.00 per week wages so they called the deal off! Everyone in the room said nothings changed then.

WBA

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2021, 04:25:42 PM »
We’ve always been a tight, penny-pinching football club. It’s been going on for years and years and years. Ingrained in Albion’s soul, sadly.

We didn't seem to have a problem agreeing fees for Rondon, Chadli, Burke and Diang or paying Anelka 68k/wk, Krychowiak 108k and Sturridge 130k?   

However, Albion's approach generally has always had to be relatively conservative as we've never had a big money benefactor and therefore we need to get it right more often than not first time when we sign players.  That been said there's been a few bloopers recently.

Act in haste repent at leisure. 

If Barnsley aren't being flexible as is being reported (and you could argue why should they?) then if we want him we need to pay up and top-slice the 2m from the budget and just take a hit in one go.  Valerien is going to be our most important signing this summer,  let's get on with it would be my advice to Ken.   

« Last Edit: June 24, 2021, 04:27:43 PM by WBA »

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2021, 05:07:34 PM »
we have made record breaking signings in the past and they didnt go well

David Mills, in 1979, Ron Atkinson paid £518,000 to take him to West Bromwich Albion, breaking the English transfer record and making Mills Britain's first half million pound footballer
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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2021, 05:33:38 PM »
Way before Peace i am 61 now and i remember my Grandad telling me when i was a kid the Albion have loads of money but will never spend it! Also at a supporters club meeting years ago Johnny Giles was talking about signing Brian Kidd and the board had agreed a fee but when they met Kidd  he asked for £200.00 per week wages so they called the deal off! Everyone in the room said nothings changed then.
Although in the Silk/Atkinson era it was different remember breaking the the British transfer record on David Mills to replace Bomber (I am 61 too). Then signing Owen, Barnes etc...
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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2021, 05:52:13 PM »
Although in the Silk/Atkinson era it was different remember breaking the the British transfer record on David Mills to replace Bomber (I am 61 too). Then signing Owen, Barnes etc...

I don’t think they really had a clue why they spent £516k on David Mills. You may remember there was a lot of talk about avoiding a tax bill at the time after our unexpected success in the FA Cup the previous year and higher than anticipated gates as we chased the title.

But an attacking midfielder like Brown he most certainly wasn’t. He scored 6 goals in his Albion career.

Spending that money wasn’t much to boast about really because within four months we sold Laurie Cunningham anyway. And within a month Forest signed Trevor Francis for twice as much.

Mills for Cunningham and £400k in the bank. Yep - that’s Albion for you.

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2021, 03:00:44 PM »
I don’t think they really had a clue why they spent £516k on David Mills. You may remember there was a lot of talk about avoiding a tax bill at the time after our unexpected success in the FA Cup the previous year and higher than anticipated gates as we chased the title.

But an attacking midfielder like Brown he most certainly wasn’t. He scored 6 goals in his Albion career.

Spending that money wasn’t much to boast about really because within four months we sold Laurie Cunningham anyway. And within a month Forest signed Trevor Francis for twice as much.

Mills for Cunningham and £400k in the bank. Yep - that’s Albion for you.

Very true Big Ron was asked what position he was going to play him and he said he hadn't a clue. Was there a vague notion he could adapt into the Bomber role - if so it was a complete failure.  The truth is Mills wasn't very good which became apparent in the first training session when his ball control and technique were found wanting.  IIRC we'd offered 250k for Mills which was rejected and then he suddenly signed for £516k - a bizarre figure (there was a rumour at the time that we were facing a big tax bill so spent it on Mills) - maybe it was also a  case of one upmanship over Liverpool at the time,  who'd sold Keegan to Hamburg for 500k in '77?   

Barnes was Laurie's replacement.

I'll never forget the Jack Charlton quote re Mills,  'he's the worst (or best) misser of chances I've ever seen'.  How true that was.  Ended up back at Boro 3 years after leaving us and scored 14 in 32 in 84/5! 

Interestingly we've held the transfer record in and out (twice) - Willie Groves to the Seals for £100 in 1893 and Robson to United for £1.5m in '79 held the record for nearly 3 years and Laurie missed holding the record by just a few months with his £950k move to Real Madrid -  Francis having signed for Forest for a £1m a few months earlier.   


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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2021, 03:30:18 PM »
Way before Peace i am 61 now and i remember my Grandad telling me when i was a kid the Albion have loads of money but will never spend it! Also at a supporters club meeting years ago Johnny Giles was talking about signing Brian Kidd and the board had agreed a fee but when they met Kidd  he asked for £200.00 per week wages so they called the deal off! Everyone in the room said nothings changed then.

Both my Dad and my late Grandad always said the same thing.

Heard plenty more of those Brian Kidd examples too!

PartisanBaggie

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2021, 03:42:51 PM »
We didn't seem to have a problem agreeing fees for Rondon, Chadli, Burke and Diang or paying Anelka 68k/wk, Krychowiak 108k and Sturridge 130k?   

However, Albion's approach generally has always had to be relatively conservative as we've never had a big money benefactor and therefore we need to get it right more often than not first time when we sign players.  That been said there's been a few bloopers recently.

Act in haste repent at leisure. 

If Barnsley aren't being flexible as is being reported (and you could argue why should they?) then if we want him we need to pay up and top-slice the 2m from the budget and just take a hit in one go.  Valerien is going to be our most important signing this summer,  let's get on with it would be my advice to Ken.   

I don’t mean to shoot you down mate, but the permanent signings you mentioned were relatively cheap in comparison to the market trends at the time. Two out of the four were a waste of money. That may yet increase to three out of four next season if Diangana doesn’t work out.

Rondon - £12mil
Chadli - £13mil
Burke - £15mil
Diangana - £12mil initial rising to £17.5mil

Anelka was a free agent whose contract got terminated just over the halfway mark of the season. Agree Kryochowiak at £113k a week for the whole season and Sturridge at £100k a week for 2 games in less than 4 months were a complete waste of money👍🏻 But no loan fees were paid for either of those two players, just their wages.

KnaveofAlbion

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Re: Albion being "Cheap" discussion...
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2021, 07:22:08 PM »
I don’t mean to shoot you down mate, but the permanent signings you mentioned were relatively cheap in comparison to the market trends at the time. Two out of the four were a waste of money. That may yet increase to three out of four next season if Diangana doesn’t work out.

Rondon - £12mil
Chadli - £13mil
Burke - £15mil
Diangana - £12mil initial rising to £17.5mil

Anelka was a free agent whose contract got terminated just over the halfway mark of the season. Agree Kryochowiak at £113k a week for the whole season and Sturridge at £100k a week for 2 games in less than 4 months were a complete waste of money👍🏻 But no loan fees were paid for either of those two players, just their wages.

Things not working out isn't the same as Albion being cheap. I agree that when we go big, on wages or fees, it tends to not go well. But Burke, for example, was a brilliant signing at the time (on paper). Young, British, great pedigree on paper... yes please! But it didn't work... OK... That isn't Albion being cheap.
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