Column: Be careful to follow the path of current successful clubs - they look smart but it is not really a sustainable strategy

5 September 2021

Leo Messi
Photo: Alamy Lionel Messi wearing his new shirt as a PSG-player. According to the authors of a book about strategy in the football industry players has got too much power in modern football. "The players know it, and the clubs know it, and thus the dynamic is always unequivocally tilted in the players’ favour," they write.

The biggest challenge in the football industry is presented by players and their agents. It is their superior bargaining power that forms the financial achilles heel of the industry.

Clubs find themselves caught in what resembles a perfect storm in the players market. This is one of the key-points in a book about strategy in the football industry.

“How Hard Can it Be” is written by Mads Davidsen and Dan Hammer and the English version has just been released.

The authors have developed a formula saying that 70 per cent of an average club’s sporting success over time can be explained by capital, 20 per cent competency. The last 10 per cent go to, as it were, chance or luck.

This is chapter 5 from the book "How hard can it be". Chapter five has the title: "It's the economy, stupid!"

Mads Davidsen and Dan Hammer

Once a football executive has mentally prepared themself to handle the industry-specific stress factors and thereafter created consensus at the owner/board level that the club’s objectives are best achieved through a long and patient approach, the focus can shift to the next business strategic challenge: understanding football’s business system in depth.

Although it is not necessary to have an MBA under your belt to be a competent football executive, it can still be useful to apply some of those descriptive models so diligently employed across many business schools.

Do you want to read this article?

Get instant access by signing up for a 7-day free trial

No credit card, no commitments and it will expire automatically.

You will receive a link that activates your trial in an email.