Often Partisan

Long Term Contracts Equal Short Term Suicide

It emerged yesterday that the former Fulham, Portsmouth and West Ham midfielder Papa Bouba Diop is training with Blues with a view to being signed. Whilst there is certainly nothing to suggest that Blues are going to sign the Senegalese player nicknamed “the Wardrobe” I’m of the opinion that even looking at him shows just how flawed the Blues transfer policy is becoming.

Looking through Blues signings since the arrest of Carson Yeung on June 30, 2011 doesn’t make for the prettiest of reading. In that time Blues have signed 25 players – paying a fee for only three. With the financial climate that surrounds Blues that is to be expected and whilst it’s hard to swallow when watching some of the other teams in the division splashing the cash it’s not a bad thing that Blues are tightening their belts in the transfer fee stakes.

However, what does irk me is the short-termism. Last season, under Chris Hughton Blues signed eight players on permanent long-term (ie a year or more) contracts, and of those eight four were over the age of thirty – a 50% rate of older players. This season, under Lee Clark, Blues have signed four players on permanent long-term contracts – and of those only one (Darren Ambrose) is under 30, and he’s 28. I’ve put together a spreadsheet outlining all the deals here.

I do think that there is a place in the team for older, more experienced heads but financially it’s suicide. Older players are less likely to have re-sale value and are more likely to suffer long-term injuries. Furthermore, they will need replacing quicker than a younger player who is retained will as the younger player has by definition more of his career left.

It’s especially worrying that we’re handing out two-year contracts to players like Hayden Mullins (33) and Peter Lovenkrands (32) who are coming to the end of their careers despite the fact that if we don’t go up this season our parachute payment drops by £8mil – or in weekly wage terms, a budget cut of approximately £160k per week. Thus the signing of any player on a long-term high wage is a massive gamble – signing one with little to no resale value means we could end up in the same situation as we are with Nikola Zigic where we have a player no one else can afford taking a massive chunk of what little money we have.

People have spoken about what they want from new owners on various forums. One thing that I would like to see implemented by any new owners would be a strict transfer policy whereby the club would aim to sign players under the age of 26 only, and not offer players over the age of 32 anything longer than a year contract if they can. I’d aim to turn Blues into a club that signs promising talent young – for example, I think Paul Caddis will be an excellent signing if we get to keep him permanently and at 24 he’s the right sort of age – makes them better and then sells them on for a profit. I can accept that people might not want us to be a breeding ground for better teams but it’s my belief that as it continually brings through good talent the club will improve and the money can be reinvested in infrastructure to improve scouting and the academy, to build a firm base for the future. With that, then Blues can really aim to succeed.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that this can happen until we get new owners because it will require some seed capital but the hope is that anyone who does come into the club will see it as a long-term project and not as a vanity exercise.

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25 Responses to “Long Term Contracts Equal Short Term Suicide”

  • Blueb says:

    Would like to see youth development improve too.

    Southampton are an example of the model we should follow . Consistently signing and developing young talent and selling on – whcih has given them money to bring better players in and get promoted.

  • andy says:

    It takes me back to the days when Blues were signing the likes of Dennis Mortimer, Tony Morley and Peter Withe amongst others. No doubt other clubs are competing with Blues for these “experienced” players but they sign for us because we offer the best deal. Iv said previously that the club is in a mess, not a crisis but a mess.

  • Macc lad says:

    Is it only me that sees Southampton as symptomatic of everything that’s wrong with football at the moment?
    Go into administration, only pay a proportion of their old debts off, start again and 3 years down the line pay astronomical transfer fees again.
    It’s not fair on all the local businesses who lost money, and it’s not fair on all the other teams trying to stay within budget. It’s cheating. Portsmouth won a cup with a team of players they couldn’t afford.
    Therefore, I’m not sure I’d hold Southampton up as shining example of how to behave.

    • Paul Randle says:

      Southampton did not knock all the local businesses, in fact you will find that no local businesses suffered any loss.There was not a cva, the new owners settled all outstanding debts.

    • chris says:

      don’t know about paying all their debts, but they were only docked points because their parent company went into admin, which is just the position we may be in very soon.

  • prewarblue says:

    Younger players wont join the club when they see other young players being left on the bench for others who are just here to grab the money,,,,,,,managers havnt had the guts to give the kids a chance since Freddie Godwin and Jim Smiths tenure of the hot seat

  • AL-LAD says:

    Follow the Arsenal model, would be delighted if we tried to tempt their youth/reserve team coaches into our top job. Although I don’t think LC is a bad coach and feel he’s working under restraint, and unwilling to take gambles on youth, maybe he needs to have a rethink with regards to the coaches he’s employed, maybe someone like Raymond Verheijen.

  • tamuffblue says:

    wakey wakey !!!!! at last some one as spotted the signing of older pros who’s agents shout the loudest and cheapest and this is all down to non footballing people ie owners – acting chairman etc not having a clue what is needed and required by the football club – I really believe that since the likes of Sullivan – gold – and the Barber of HK entered into our lives ( and majority of football ) this has been the policy – running it as cheaply as poss and getting out of their depth Make no bones about it we are a club in turmoil and only a sale of the club will rescue us from the wilderness !!!! – WE DONT CARE ABOUT CARSON !!!!!!!!

  • Blue Pete says:

    Whilst I agree about the age argument – the middle of the park is not somewhere you can deploy an inexperienced youngster. I think a fit bouba diop could replace N’Daw which has been our biggest problem this season. I like Mullins and think he is an adequate replacement for Mutch, but feel a bigger prescence is needed in there. Hughton liked the 4-5-1 approach and given our current situation I think thats probably the best option, giving the wingers and either Redmond or Morrison the free reign in the centre to join in with whomever is deployed up top.

  • Art Watson says:

    Yet another great report but sadly its very depressing and of great concern.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    I must admit great surprise that Marlon King was on a 3yr contract, ?. and Mullins on a 2yr, as well .

  • Cliff says:

    The only one to blame for Loven and Mullins is Clarke
    Out his depth desperate to sign “quality” he is saddling us with players over the hill and expensive in terms of wages you would imagine.

    Please get this idiot out before he ruins us fully.

  • evesham blue says:

    Let’s get a reality check here before we think about building a club dynasty. Needs must and all of that.

    We are broke and we are in the championship……not much money sloshing around as is the case with most championship clubs.

    Now. I must confess I would like to give youth a chance but we are all forgetting Butland has been given his chance and has re-sale value.

    I dont understand why Mullins was given the length of contract he was given. I do not understand why you loan a young player from the prem and you dont play him e.g Morrison and Gordon

    Due to our injury crisis we are fire fighting and plugging gaps at the moment tho. Please bear this in mind. We wont get promoted – simple as as we cant invest at the mo. We are just treading water until the last parachute pyt has evaporated and the CY has gone. Simple – we wont go anywhere with this lot in charge. Best we can hope for is to give ourselves a chance. Alas – dwindling gates and more sales and the coffers drying up further.

    Reality check – we were thrashed by Barnsley at home albeit mitigating circumstances. We wont make the Prem with no money. If by some fluke we did – we would annihilated evry week in the Prem

  • jazzzy786 says:

    We have some great youngsters at the club in the likes of Butland, Redmond, Asante, Packwood, Hancox, Deaman and Reilly. Clark doesn’t know who his best side is as he is constantly tinkering with it. He doesn’t appear to study the opposition before deciding who would be the best personnel to use versus them. He hasn’t the guts to play the younger players even when the older players are out of form and the development squad is winning game after game. You don’t have to be a genius to see if you play Mullins, Caldwell and Pablo in the same defence it is going to get destroyed by anyone with an ounce of pace. Worryingly Robinson is also pretty slow and even Spector at Right Back is not the quickest meaning Davies will be pulled all over the place to cover both sides as well as Caldwell if he plays. The answer is to play Packwood and Davies at CB. I’d play Redmond at left back as Robinson will need someone quick in front of him to help him out. My side would be


    Spector Packwood Davies Robinson

    Burke Gomis Morrison Fahey Redmond


    If our 5 in the middle can win the midfield battle then we can compete otherwise Brighton will overrun us. Its as simple as that. If we play old and slow players Brighton will murder us.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Should read redmond at left wing

  • bluespeter1 says:

    We can only start to go up when we hit the bottom. The bottom is Carson getting out. The longer he stays, the deeper we’ll sink.

    Then we need to build a young and mid aged team. The only way for Blues to get back into the premiership and stay up for more than a season or two is to build up with youth and this would take some time and of course all the pressure is on for the manager to deliver now (which isn’t going to happen). Time takes a long term multi season perspective, which Carson can’t afford and doesn’t have.

    We don’t and will never have the cash to do it any other way and stacking in the oldies is an unsustainable band aid that every year you have to rebuild the team because of injuries or retirement. Yes you need a few old heads to lead and mentor, but 1 in defense, 1 in mid and one in attack not 9 out of 11. Someone said Butland and Redmond were the only ones up for it with Barnsley the only ones with energy and something to prove?

    We clung on to Redmond and Butland and should of sold of someone else instead of Mutch to balance the books it now seems. That could of been our foundation.

    I don’t see anyway we’ll get promoted this season with the financial problems, injuries, poor form of last years stars, oldies a year older and slower and much weaker manager, so our goal should be to avoid the relegation zone, get rid of Carson and blood and build cover with some youth for a crack next year or even the year after if we can get new owners/some new investment.

    It ain’t pretty any which way, but at least building with youth has hope and can create some assets down the line.

  • chris says:

    Not only, is it the length of their contracts which should concern us, but the fact they are probably on £15 to £20k a week.
    Whereas if we had signed younger players, not only would they hopefully have a resale value but their wages would be about £5 to £10 k a week meaning we could have signed twice as many than the oldies coming for a last big pay day, struggling to compete pace wise and getting injured more often.
    We have two more seasons where we will have to change this, as we won’t be able to pay these high wages once the parachute payments have gone, that is presuming we don’t go up of course, which personally i don’t see happening this season anyway and not next if the off field turmoil is still going on.
    These parachute payments should have been invested in young players not over thirties, a massive failling and incompetence by this inept board.

  • Paulo says:

    I think it’s just the way things are. I doubt many young prospects (or their agents) are looking at us, as it’s quite obvious there is no ‘sky’ cash to buy them and pay them! It takes a certain kind of teenager to go to a struggling club, but there has to be some out there, doesn’t there? The rewards could be huge on the pitch, and if LC and his dads army staff had the contacts and networking ability that CH has (or others) then things might be different.
    But that’s the difference really, it does seem that when CH left us, he took with him a lot (if not all) of valuable unwritten information on how things are, and what he did behind the scenes this time last year. Add to that his people skills and technical experience ..everything the players needed, just vanished overnight. Then all his back room went with him, leaving nothing behind ..it was like open season on us, and all the knowledge walked through the door. LC stood no chance.
    But ..it’s now a sign of the times I guess, and there’s nothing left in the kitty. So LC has suffered a lot of ridicule for the mess BIHL has put us in, and not forgetting relegation, then one of the best managers we have had ‘using’ us and buggering off with a premiership job to Norwich. Well, all this put us in a position where we have to survive on transfers right now, and if it wasn’t for PP getting the embargo lifted, then where would we be?
    I agree with almajir, these over 30 players we are getting are risky financially, and we are operating like a business first and foremost, so I guess as much as LC would like many other younger options, he just cant. Who knows what is going to happen to us throughout this season anyway?
    Keeping the faith ….still …and only just.

  • bluesfreak says:

    That Southend trainee and DJ Campbell just signed on loan for Ipswich…we don’t even have any influence in the free agent market!!! desperate times!!!!

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