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[Albion] Not just our club - a very clever club indeed.......A meeting with Tony Bloom and Paul Barber

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attila

1997 Club
Jul 17, 2003
2,141
South Central Southwick
This is a piece for the newspaper I write for, published last weekend. Apologies for repetition of the bit I had already posted here, I wanted to put it up in its entirety for context.
It has insights into our strategy I think you'll find interesting. Cheers, Attila/John

I had a serious football meltdown a few weeks ago.

The obscenity of the amount of money sloshing around in the Premier League while millions of our fellow citizens are in desperate poverty had been gnawing at me for years. The imminent arrival of the World Cup, barging into our domestic season like a braying, banknote-waving Hooray Henry following its award to Qatar, a misogynistic, homophobic theocracy where it’s so hot in the summer that the competition had to be staged in November, was giving me further dark thoughts – especially since allegations of bribery and corruption were everywhere.

And then Brighton manager Graham Potter went to Chelsea, who’d already had our player of the season, taking with him our backroom staff and letting it be known that he’d be back for our head of recruitment (now gone) and probably more players as well. Not just taking all our fish, but the rod we catch them with. And the response from the corporate media: ‘It’s business. Chelsea are a ‘big club’, Brighton are a ‘small club’. That’s what happens. Know your place and move on’.

That was the last straw. I lost it big time. I know we’re an incredibly well-managed operation, with a forensic, well-researched and well-rehearsed set-up. I knew that there would already be a plan in place for all this. Nevertheless, the sheer temerity, the disgusting brazenness of money, brought my combative streak out.

I put my thoughts into words, posted them on my Facebook blog and sent them to Paul Barber, chief executive and deputy chairman of the club, and Paul Camillin, head of media. Both known to me for years – in the latter’s case over 25 of them, since he stood alongside us against the rogue chairman Archer when we fans were battling to save the club, and his elevation is well-merited.

‘We have had an incredible 25 year rise from the bottom of the 4th division with no ground to 7th in the Premier League. It has been a roller coaster of wonder. Now we have reached the glass ceiling, it’s nowhere near as interesting. The football is beautiful, but the game is sick.The Potter episode sometimes makes me think of walking away, if I am honest, and though I know I won’t, that is saying something, given my passion for the Albion. Brilliantly run club, great recruitment, unique manager, everything ripped away by the power of money. And not just any money but Chelsea money, stolen from the Russian people, leaving millions in misery. As I have said before, I feel like a goldfish owner who loves my pet as much as ever but utterly loathes the water it is swimming in now. Something fundamental has to change. If someone like me - who spent years of my life battling to save the club he loves - feels like this when we are 7th in the Premier League, there really is something wrong with the game.’

And I got an email back from CEO Paul Barber inviting me to be his guest in the boardroom against Villa last Saturday and talk about it all. ‘I know the corporate stuff isn’t really your thing, John, but…’

Of course I went. I had always known that we were still different as a club, but when Paul and chairman Tony Bloom said ‘If it wasn’t for you lot, we wouldn’t be standing here now’ I felt proud for us all. Before the game I had a good think about what the strategy might be: I asked if my analysis was correct and found I was on the right track.

Brighton is now the gateway to the Premier League for young, supremely talented players from all over the world – and, more importantly, for their money-hungry agents.

The message is out. Come to Brighton and your client will have world class training facilities and the chance to break quickly into a progressive, egalitarian team rather than being a bench warmer for years at a ‘big club’. If he is as good as you say he is and the bloated monsters come calling, we won’t stand in your way and every last penny will be extracted on your behalf by some very good negotiators so you get the huge commission which is your reason for living. Meanwhile, we’ll have developed his successor, ready to take his place.

And Tony Bloom is that rare thing among Premier League chairmen – a lifelong fan. So I posed the question. ‘You want to see us play in Europe as much as the rest of us do, Tony. Can we do it with a revolving door policy? Can we break the glass ceiling?’ He looked me in the eye and said ‘Yes, I think we can’.

There wasn’t a prawn sandwich in sight, but I had three (mini) Piglets Balti pies and trousered three bars of Albion branded chocolate, a gift from the CEO :) I met some old faces I hadn’t seen for years.

I’m still sick of modern football, the water, I still love the Albion, the goldfish. As for Europe, Tony, we’ll see.

But we sure are a well run club. Surfers on, rather than in, the sewage which is the Premier League.
 


Badger Boy

Mr Badger
Jan 28, 2016
2,640
Brilliant article and your passion can be felt on every line. It's a strange time to be a Brighton fan right now, we aren't used to the type of position we're in. For Tony and Paul it's the pay-off for a decade of hard work, excellent planning and brilliant execution. My concern is how they continue to build the club without the crazy level of investment available at other football clubs. How do you keep signing good young players without a run of Locadia's? How fine is the line between sustainable success and quick descent towards relegation?

One thing that always gives me hope is thinking that Gus thought the ceiling was a play-off semi-final defeat to the enemy. He couldn't see how high we could fly and whenever I think I'm struggling to see it, I remember that better men than me have been wrong previously.
 

AmexRuislip

Longing for retirement.
Feb 2, 2014
31,031
Ruislip
This is a piece for the newspaper I write for, published last weekend. Apologies for repetition of the bit I had already posted here, I wanted to put it up in its entirety for context.
It has insights into our strategy I think you'll find interesting. Cheers, Attila/John

I had a serious football meltdown a few weeks ago.

The obscenity of the amount of money sloshing around in the Premier League while millions of our fellow citizens are in desperate poverty had been gnawing at me for years. The imminent arrival of the World Cup, barging into our domestic season like a braying, banknote-waving Hooray Henry following its award to Qatar, a misogynistic, homophobic theocracy where it’s so hot in the summer that the competition had to be staged in November, was giving me further dark thoughts – especially since allegations of bribery and corruption were everywhere.

And then Brighton manager Graham Potter went to Chelsea, who’d already had our player of the season, taking with him our backroom staff and letting it be known that he’d be back for our head of recruitment (now gone) and probably more players as well. Not just taking all our fish, but the rod we catch them with. And the response from the corporate media: ‘It’s business. Chelsea are a ‘big club’, Brighton are a ‘small club’. That’s what happens. Know your place and move on’.

That was the last straw. I lost it big time. I know we’re an incredibly well-managed operation, with a forensic, well-researched and well-rehearsed set-up. I knew that there would already be a plan in place for all this. Nevertheless, the sheer temerity, the disgusting brazenness of money, brought my combative streak out.

I put my thoughts into words, posted them on my Facebook blog and sent them to Paul Barber, chief executive and deputy chairman of the club, and Paul Camillin, head of media. Both known to me for years – in the latter’s case over 25 of them, since he stood alongside us against the rogue chairman Archer when we fans were battling to save the club, and his elevation is well-merited.

‘We have had an incredible 25 year rise from the bottom of the 4th division with no ground to 7th in the Premier League. It has been a roller coaster of wonder. Now we have reached the glass ceiling, it’s nowhere near as interesting. The football is beautiful, but the game is sick.The Potter episode sometimes makes me think of walking away, if I am honest, and though I know I won’t, that is saying something, given my passion for the Albion. Brilliantly run club, great recruitment, unique manager, everything ripped away by the power of money. And not just any money but Chelsea money, stolen from the Russian people, leaving millions in misery. As I have said before, I feel like a goldfish owner who loves my pet as much as ever but utterly loathes the water it is swimming in now. Something fundamental has to change. If someone like me - who spent years of my life battling to save the club he loves - feels like this when we are 7th in the Premier League, there really is something wrong with the game.’

And I got an email back from CEO Paul Barber inviting me to be his guest in the boardroom against Villa last Saturday and talk about it all. ‘I know the corporate stuff isn’t really your thing, John, but…’

Of course I went. I had always known that we were still different as a club, but when Paul and chairman Tony Bloom said ‘If it wasn’t for you lot, we wouldn’t be standing here now’ I felt proud for us all. Before the game I had a good think about what the strategy might be: I asked if my analysis was correct and found I was on the right track.

Brighton is now the gateway to the Premier League for young, supremely talented players from all over the world – and, more importantly, for their money-hungry agents.

The message is out. Come to Brighton and your client will have world class training facilities and the chance to break quickly into a progressive, egalitarian team rather than being a bench warmer for years at a ‘big club’. If he is as good as you say he is and the bloated monsters come calling, we won’t stand in your way and every last penny will be extracted on your behalf by some very good negotiators so you get the huge commission which is your reason for living. Meanwhile, we’ll have developed his successor, ready to take his place.

And Tony Bloom is that rare thing among Premier League chairmen – a lifelong fan. So I posed the question. ‘You want to see us play in Europe as much as the rest of us do, Tony. Can we do it with a revolving door policy? Can we break the glass ceiling?’ He looked me in the eye and said ‘Yes, I think we can’.

There wasn’t a prawn sandwich in sight, but I had three (mini) Piglets Balti pies and trousered three bars of Albion branded chocolate, a gift from the CEO :) I met some old faces I hadn’t seen for years.

I’m still sick of modern football, the water, I still love the Albion, the goldfish. As for Europe, Tony, we’ll see.

But we sure are a well run club. Surfers on, rather than in, the sewage which is the Premier League.
Agent Atilla, I doff my hairpiece to you.
Superb work as always 🙂
 

ozzygull

Members
Oct 6, 2003
2,947
Reading
Thank you for that post

I can't believe how lucky we have been with owners since the unmentionable @rses were outed.

Dick Knight along with Martin Perry never ever giving up on the dream of the new stadium and keeping us alive while we waited. Followed up by Tony Bloom's amazing generosity, the infrastructure, and the way the club is managed.

There is a lot not to like about the Premier league, but we must be in it just to be able to dream about playing in Europe.

If we ever manage it before I pop off this earth, I think my little head would explode
 

Justice

Dangerous Idiot
Jun 21, 2012
14,754
Born In Shoreham
This is a piece for the newspaper I write for, published last weekend. Apologies for repetition of the bit I had already posted here, I wanted to put it up in its entirety for context.
It has insights into our strategy I think you'll find interesting. Cheers, Attila/John

I had a serious football meltdown a few weeks ago.

The obscenity of the amount of money sloshing around in the Premier League while millions of our fellow citizens are in desperate poverty had been gnawing at me for years. The imminent arrival of the World Cup, barging into our domestic season like a braying, banknote-waving Hooray Henry following its award to Qatar, a misogynistic, homophobic theocracy where it’s so hot in the summer that the competition had to be staged in November, was giving me further dark thoughts – especially since allegations of bribery and corruption were everywhere.

And then Brighton manager Graham Potter went to Chelsea, who’d already had our player of the season, taking with him our backroom staff and letting it be known that he’d be back for our head of recruitment (now gone) and probably more players as well. Not just taking all our fish, but the rod we catch them with. And the response from the corporate media: ‘It’s business. Chelsea are a ‘big club’, Brighton are a ‘small club’. That’s what happens. Know your place and move on’.

That was the last straw. I lost it big time. I know we’re an incredibly well-managed operation, with a forensic, well-researched and well-rehearsed set-up. I knew that there would already be a plan in place for all this. Nevertheless, the sheer temerity, the disgusting brazenness of money, brought my combative streak out.

I put my thoughts into words, posted them on my Facebook blog and sent them to Paul Barber, chief executive and deputy chairman of the club, and Paul Camillin, head of media. Both known to me for years – in the latter’s case over 25 of them, since he stood alongside us against the rogue chairman Archer when we fans were battling to save the club, and his elevation is well-merited.

‘We have had an incredible 25 year rise from the bottom of the 4th division with no ground to 7th in the Premier League. It has been a roller coaster of wonder. Now we have reached the glass ceiling, it’s nowhere near as interesting. The football is beautiful, but the game is sick.The Potter episode sometimes makes me think of walking away, if I am honest, and though I know I won’t, that is saying something, given my passion for the Albion. Brilliantly run club, great recruitment, unique manager, everything ripped away by the power of money. And not just any money but Chelsea money, stolen from the Russian people, leaving millions in misery. As I have said before, I feel like a goldfish owner who loves my pet as much as ever but utterly loathes the water it is swimming in now. Something fundamental has to change. If someone like me - who spent years of my life battling to save the club he loves - feels like this when we are 7th in the Premier League, there really is something wrong with the game.’

And I got an email back from CEO Paul Barber inviting me to be his guest in the boardroom against Villa last Saturday and talk about it all. ‘I know the corporate stuff isn’t really your thing, John, but…’

Of course I went. I had always known that we were still different as a club, but when Paul and chairman Tony Bloom said ‘If it wasn’t for you lot, we wouldn’t be standing here now’ I felt proud for us all. Before the game I had a good think about what the strategy might be: I asked if my analysis was correct and found I was on the right track.

Brighton is now the gateway to the Premier League for young, supremely talented players from all over the world – and, more importantly, for their money-hungry agents.

The message is out. Come to Brighton and your client will have world class training facilities and the chance to break quickly into a progressive, egalitarian team rather than being a bench warmer for years at a ‘big club’. If he is as good as you say he is and the bloated monsters come calling, we won’t stand in your way and every last penny will be extracted on your behalf by some very good negotiators so you get the huge commission which is your reason for living. Meanwhile, we’ll have developed his successor, ready to take his place.

And Tony Bloom is that rare thing among Premier League chairmen – a lifelong fan. So I posed the question. ‘You want to see us play in Europe as much as the rest of us do, Tony. Can we do it with a revolving door policy? Can we break the glass ceiling?’ He looked me in the eye and said ‘Yes, I think we can’.

There wasn’t a prawn sandwich in sight, but I had three (mini) Piglets Balti pies and trousered three bars of Albion branded chocolate, a gift from the CEO :) I met some old faces I hadn’t seen for years.

I’m still sick of modern football, the water, I still love the Albion, the goldfish. As for Europe, Tony, we’ll see.

But we sure are a well run club. Surfers on, rather than in, the sewage which is the Premier League.
How did they react during game? Was there oh FFS when Villa went ahead or was it all very polite?


Brilliant article and your passion can be felt on every line. It's a strange time to be a Brighton fan right now, we aren't used to the type of position we're in. For Tony and Paul it's the pay-off for a decade of hard work, excellent planning and brilliant execution. My concern is how they continue to build the club without the crazy level of investment available at other football clubs. How do you keep signing good young players without a run of Locadia's? How fine is the line between sustainable success and quick descent towards relegation?

One thing that always gives me hope is thinking that Gus thought the ceiling was a play-off semi-final defeat to the enemy. He couldn't see how high we could fly and whenever I think I'm struggling to see it, I remember that better men than me have been wrong previously.
Poyet would never blame himself for failure, he lost a game we should of won and immediately blamed the recruitment despite being heavily backed that season. He’s turned out to be a managerial failure since.
 


dejavuatbtn

Members
Aug 4, 2010
6,037
Henfield
Exactly my thoughts after supporting the club for 60 years. Whilst all the marches and protests saved the Club we love, I do keep asking “for what”. I have had many conversations with fans who do miss the camaraderie of a small club in a small pond with aspirations, rather than a small club in an Olympic sized pool.
 

highflyer

Members
Jan 21, 2016
2,241
We are 7th in the league. We smashed Chelsea, drew with Liverpool (away) and gave Man City a damn good game. At some point these young players (though maybe not their agents I fear) may begin to see a better future staying here, starting regularly, playing good football, learning from progressive managers and being supported by a superb club set up. And (in context of the water we swim in) playing for a set of fans, the majority of whom are prepared to show some some patience and appreciation for young players finding their feet. The barrier of course is partly the wage structure. And I absolutely believe in maintaining that. But we all know that a few years of playing for the Albion first team will make you are as rich as you need to be for life. Some may have the brains and the vision to decide that the opportunities on the pitch make up for the lack of a few more £££ on offer at the 'big' clubs.

If that happens then the ceiling lifts a little further...and Brighton will continue to show what can be done when you surf the sewage rather than swim in it.
 

attila

1997 Club
Jul 17, 2003
2,141
South Central Southwick
We are 7th in the league. We smashed Chelsea, drew with Liverpool (away) and gave Man City a damn good game. At some point these young players (though maybe not their agents I fear) may begin to see a better future staying here, starting regularly, playing good football, learning from progressive managers and being supported by a superb club set up. And (in context of the water we swim in) playing for a set of fans, the majority of whom are prepared to show some some patience and appreciation for young players finding their feet. The barrier of course is partly the wage structure. And I absolutely believe in maintaining that. But we all know that a few years of playing for the Albion first team will make you are as rich as you need to be for life. Some may have the brains and the vision to decide that the opportunities on the pitch make up for the lack of a few more £££ on offer at the 'big' clubs.

If that happens then the ceiling lifts a little further...and Brighton will continue to show what can be done when you surf the sewage rather than swim in it.
Absolutely my feelings. Is obscene money as a nonentity on the bench at a 'big club' really better than fantastic money as a hero at the Albion? I think we might find one or two why will stay. As you say, it's the agents who are the problem - but (some) players are capable of independent thought...
 
Absolutely my feelings. Is obscene money as a nonentity on the bench at a 'big club' really better than fantastic money as a hero at the Albion? I think we might find one or two why will stay. As you say, it's the agents who are the problem - but (some) players are capable of independent thought...
Alexis Macallister is one of them. I don't think Cucurella and Bissouma are enjoying their football as much since they left, although their bank balances will be bulging.
There are players who want to play, like Tariq Lamptey, rather than bench warm.
 

Tom Hark Preston Park

Will Post For Cash
Jul 6, 2003
65,805
Great post by OP :clap2:

Minor concern tho: that's the kind of thing that oils the wheels of football and ultimately leads to Qatar being awarded the World Cup. Hey FIFA reps and journalists! Come and see Qatar for yourselves! Come and enjoy our fabled hospitality! Subsequently write a positive fluff piece!

There is absolutely no suggestion that that's what happened here. All three of the main actors are the good guys. We know that. But that's how the guys with an agenda subtly push that agenda in all walks of life, whether it be sport or politics or anything at all. They're not all good guys.

Maybe OP ask yourself why you in particular are being invited into the boardroom ???
 


timbha

Members
Jul 5, 2003
8,636
Sussex
Great post by OP :clap2:

Minor concern tho: that's the kind of thing that oils the wheels of football and ultimately leads to Qatar being awarded the World Cup. Hey FIFA reps and journalists! Come and see Qatar for yourselves! Come and enjoy our fabled hospitality! Subsequently write a positive fluff piece!

There is absolutely no suggestion that that's what happened here. All three of the main actors are the good guys. We know that. But that's how the guys with an agenda subtly push that agenda in all walks of life, whether it be sport or politics or anything at all. They're not all good guys.

Maybe OP ask yourself why you in particular are being invited into the boardroom ???
There’s only one person with an agenda here 🤫
 

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