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always talk about the impact players and managers have on clubs. As they are
actively involved in the matches, it’s simpler to measure the impact of their
efforts and therefore it becomes so much easier to judge whether a player or a
manager has been good or bad. Not so easy in the case of club owners.
of them hardly get involved in running the club. Others who do get their hands
dirty have different levels of involvement – and that makes the task of
comparing owners extremely difficult. Therefore, for the purpose of this
exercise we simply got down to the bottom line – we judged the owners based on
the success or failure of their clubs irrespective of their level of
involvement. You are still a good owner if you hire correctly and then sit back
to enjoy the hired men bring success to your club.
here we go, in particular order. We will be limiting the timeline of this
exercise to the last 25 odd years. We will have just five owners in each
category and hence will have to miss out on a few good and bad ones
Malcolm Glazer and
He took over in 2005 when United had just finished their worst season in the
Premiership. He had financed his purchase through debt financing and there were
fears that the heavy interest charge would sink the club. Three years on,
United have two league titles, a Champions League crown, a reduced debt and
money flowing in from everywhere. Thanks to Glazer, Sir Alex always has the
money to get his transfer targets and has no management guys interfering with
his football decisions. The club has never been in better shape.
Bernard Tapie and
Forget the match-fixing scandal which finished his involvement with football.
Remember the two trips to the Champions League final including one title – the
likes of Chelsea, Inter and Lyon would give an arm and a leg for that. Their
accomplishments continue to remain the most glorious chapter of French club
football. They also won four consecutive Ligue 1 titles. Tapie achieved this by signing a bunch of
great players and managers – and did this within the foreign player restriction
of the pre-Bosman era – a highly creditable effort.
Silvio Berlusconi and
When he took over AC Milan were the target of constant ridicule at the hands
of cross town rivals Inter – having faced the ignominy of multiple relegation's
in the 80’s. Today Milan are the most successful European club of the last 20
years and their bitter rivals are the ones getting ridiculed. Berlusconi gets
his hands into everything – from player signings to match formations. But it
seems to work and Berlusconi has built Milan into one big happy family. Big
time players rarely leave and retired ones stay on to join the coaching or
Gianni Agnelli and
He ran the club just like his family ran Fiat – like a corporate organization
and the club was just as successful as the car company.
have won the most Serie A titles and made four trips to the Champions League
final. Agnelli built Juve into the most well-supported club in Italy and one with
a very solid foundation. Other clubs would have taken years to rebound from the
point deduction and the relegation. Juventus were back amongst the Serie A
elite in just one season.
Jean Michel Aulas and
Imagine a new guy takes over at a club like West Bromwich Albion and
step by step builds it into the most dominant side in England – one which wins
seven premiership titles in a row virtually unchallenged. That is exactly what
Aulas has achieved with Lyon. They were oscillating between Ligue 1 and 2 in
1986 when he took over. He had a 15 year plan for the club with lots of small
targets thrown in. His painstaking
approach is an anomaly in modern football, but one which has worked wonders.
Roman Abramovich and
He is the polar opposite of Aulas in terms of patience and markedly different from
Glazer by not letting his manager take complete charge of football matters. And
that is why in spite of spending almost 600 million pounds on Chelsea and
guiding them to two titles he makes the latter list. He wanted to build Rome in
one day. Chelsea are already onto their fourth manager during his stint – and
that is never the sign of a good owner.
Massimo Moratti and
He is Abramovich spread over a longer period of time but with a little less
money and even less success. Thanks to him, Inter are no longer spoken of in
the same vein as Milan and Juventus. They are a dysfunctional club which keeps
losing its big stars all the time. Ronaldo, Vieri, Roberto Carlos, Cannavaro
have all moved out. Moratti also has no patience and just fires everybody and
starts afresh every time things get too bad. His father brought glory to Inter
under the managerial aegis of Helenio Herrera. Massimo’s managers don’t stay
long enough to emulate the Fench-Argentine.
Gillett and Hicks and
Liverpool welcomed the pair with open arms in stark contrast to the hostile
reception given to Glazer by United. But while Glazer has brought money and
success, the financial restraint of the American pair almost always leaves
their manager Benitez narrating his sorrows in public. The Spaniard is often
forced to sell players to finance his purchases and even then fails to get the
players he wants. Ironically Tom Hicks is famous for giving Alex Rodriguez the
most expensive contract in baseball – he finally sold the player off to the
Yankees by agreeing to pay half his salary! To add to the tragedy for the club,
the pair is embittered and was almost on the verge of a break-up.
Mike Ashley and
His manager turnover ratio beats that of Abramovich and Moratti and that too
when his club is without a manager now. Also belongs to the category which
believes in reducing the manager’s powers. The fans hate him and want him out.
And he has managed to do all this in just one year.
businessmen who bought Wimbledon when Joe Kinnear was manager -
Wimbledon had no
stadium and a meagre transfer budget. Yet Joe Kinnear’s men continued to defy
the odds finishing regularly in the top ten in the premiership and securing
impressive results in the cup competitions. Then a couple of Norwegian
businessmen bought the club. They thought Kinnear was no good and brought in
countryman Egil Olsen to run the club. The club got relegated, Egil Olsen left
and then they went on a free fall, finally ceasing to exist in 2004. As they
say, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.
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