It seems to be as much about hoping your club’s owner(s), board and senior management make the right decisions, as about hoping the manager picks the right team and the players perform to their potential. By way of example, this from the Guardian: Luka Modric presents Tottenham challenge that will define future. For the uninitiated: the context is that the possibilities for success in European football are heavily circumscribed by money: what a club can earn from TV rights, matchday ticket sales, merchandise and sponsorship, balanced against what they invest in player transfers and wages, their youth development and scouting systems, etc. You need cash to purchase and pay the wages of good players, but you need success on the field to generate that cash.
What this means is that, bearing in mind not just the immediate prospect of beating the team from down the road, but the possibility the club will have a set of players good enough to compete for trophies in five years’ time, you find yourself worrying as much about how they will finance a new stadium as about the form of the club’s best striker. Perhaps it’s a good thing. Football fans, via their passion, are getting a basic education in finance, economics and politics. In the case of Tottenham, they’ve got to work with the local council and the Mayor of London to help regenerate their neighbourhood if they want to build the big new stadium that will ensure a healthy stream of matchday revenue in future. Regarding Luka Modric, the calculation has so many variables: keeping him has shown the rest of the squad that the club has strong ambitions to qualify for the Champions League; but how much does him being there actually increase the probability that they will? They could have spent the 40 million pound transfer fee that Chelsea were apparently willing to pay to bring in two or more players who could have improved the squad in multiple areas. Keeping him has also introduced a risk that their wage bill will spiral as he will demand higher wages and other players who deem themselves equally important to the club will expect a raise as well. The fate that awaits the club who goes wrong on these decisions is “doing a Leeds” – going from a Champions League semifinal to relegation within a couple of seasons, as they spent all their money but failed to progress on the pitch, leading to the breakup of the team.
Along similar lines, the Guardian also ran a two-part interview with the new(ish) owners of Liverpool (part one, part two), an American investment group who have had some success as owners of the Boston Red Sox but who knew virtually nothing of European football before they dropped about GBP200 million buying one of its most famous clubs. A good read.