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







whosthedaddy

striker256
Apr 20, 2007
459
Hove
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.
Many thanks for posting your well written piece John, I too have had 'wobbles' over recent times knowing that the glass ceiling is there and seeing the Premier League awash with money, but I maintain a sense of belief that all will be well with Tony at the helm.

I can understand why Potter was tempted by Chelsea but I really struggle with players that just love being a bit part player for a 'bigger' (but not better) club knowing they will be warming the bench on many occasions. If you've spent all those years learning and honing your skills and then went to a club that partially retires you :unsure: I just can't fathom where there head is at...apart from greed.

I too dream of the Albion playing in Europe but ultimately I'm happy to watch us play great football at the Amex and at away games and put so called 'bigger' clubs to the sword.

There are some things I would still like to see improved for a better fan experience at the Amex like a bigger, and hence more vocal North Stand, and I still insist the noise would rise more if the away fans were sited closer to our more vocal supporters. Also, transport to and from the stadium can be infuriating, time taken to get to games and then home again on very sporadic trains and buses is still sub par on far too many occasions.

Ultimately I wouldn't swap my experience of my beloved Albion for much else in life, on the whole I'm pleased with the direction of travel :albion2:
 


sparkie

Well-known member
Jul 17, 2003
12,725
Hove
I've come to terms with us selling our stars.

If they have done 2-3 seasons+ in the first team then I think they've earned their big move.

Hopefully Mac Allister will stay longer than that, but on the other end of the scale Cucurella sodded off a bit too quickly for me.

So, I prepare to wave goodbye to Trossard, Caicedo ( again a bit quickly but he's exceptional ), and Sanchez fairly soon. Big, big money banked and re-invested.

Barber talked about already having replacements for those who leave. I don't see one for Sanchez yet - a bit early for Rushworth, so maybe a new keeper is on the shopping list.
 




sparkie

Well-known member
Jul 17, 2003
12,725
Hove
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.

This is the fun for Tony.

Success just bought with billions is lessened.

The challenge and game is to win against the odds.

It reminds me of the story about USG - where they apparently sat down before last season and genuinely discussed whether they could find a way to win the league. Overcome all the established teams. Well they won the main league but not the the end of season decider league. That thinking comes from the very top.
 
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Perfidious Albion

Well-known member
Oct 25, 2011
6,138
At the end of my tether
Wonderful piece by Attila…. I love the line that we merely surf the tainted waters of the Premier League…
His original disillusionment when Potter left was felt by many of us, but I could not have expressed it so well.
With men like TB and PB at the helm, something tells me that the Albion are going to be ok !
 




boik

Well-known member
Many thanks for posting your well written piece John, I too have had 'wobbles' over recent times knowing that the glass ceiling is there and seeing the Premier League awash with money, but I maintain a sense of belief that all will be well with Tony at the helm.

I can understand why Potter was tempted by Chelsea but I really struggle with players that just love being a bit part player for a 'bigger' (but not better) club knowing they will be warming the bench on many occasions. If you've spent all those years learning and honing your skills and then went to a club that partially retires you :unsure: I just can't fathom where there head is at...apart from greed.

I too dream of the Albion playing in Europe but ultimately I'm happy to watch us play great football at the Amex and at away games and put so called 'bigger' clubs to the sword.

There are some things I would still like to see improved for a better fan experience at the Amex like a bigger, and hence more vocal North Stand, and I still insist the noise would rise more if the away fans were sited closer to our more vocal supporters. Also, transport to and from the stadium can be infuriating, time taken to get to games and then home again on very sporadic trains and buses is still sub par on far too many occasions.

Ultimately I wouldn't swap my experience of my beloved Albion for much else in life, on the whole I'm pleased with the direction of travel :albion2:
I think it is the nature of top level sports people to believe that they are good enough to break into the team, even when experience suggests they might not. You don't get to the top without supreme self confidence. I don't think it is just greed in most cases, although probably is in a few.
 




Lever

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2019
5,398
We reach the pinnacle of the English football pyramid an amazing achievement and you would rather watch the Albion slosh around in the lower leagues?
We do exactly the same to clubs further down the food chain take their best players so don’t really get the Chelsea raid aspect.
Difference for me is two fold. Generally we don't take players from the Premier League who have a bright future at their club; also we have never all but picked clean the backroom staff.... so I am not sure how helpful your comparison actually is. But we all have different perspectives I suppose.....
 


Justice

Dangerous Idiot
Jun 21, 2012
19,462
Born In Shoreham
Difference for me is two fold. Generally we don't take players from the Premier League who have a bright future at their club; also we have never all but picked clean the backroom staff.... so I am not sure how helpful your comparison actually is. But we all have different perspectives I suppose.....
Didn’t we? How did Potter and his team of three others arrive from Swansea? It’s all in order of the football food chain.
 






Lever

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2019
5,398
Didn’t we? How did Potter and his team of three others arrive from Swansea? It’s all in order of the football food chain.
Swansea was a Championship Club, not a rival in the same league. Did you forget? Potter brought two members of his team to Swansea and then brought them to us., Fair enough.... but in our case he carried on taking several others who had been with us some time before he arrived.
Of course you are entitled to feel sanguine about it, but I don't.... and I dispute your simplistic comparison with the Albion's dealings and the metaphorical 'football food chain'.
 
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BadFish

Huge Member
Oct 19, 2003
17,246
Swansea was a Championship Club, not a rival in the same league. Did you forget? Potter brought two members of his team to Swansea and then brought them to us., Fair enough.... but in our case he carried on taking several others who had been with us some time before he arrived.
Of course you are entitled to feel sanguine about it, but I don't.... and I dispute your simplistic comparison with the Albion's dealings and the metaphorical 'football food chain'.

The food chain metaphor stands up for me. The only difference to what we did to Swansea is that Chelsea did it more so and at a really annoying time. Backroom staff often go with their manager, such a large percentage is a little unusual but then we had, in premier league terms quite a small backroom staff. I would also suggest that some of those staff took the opportunity to go because there were no guarantees that they would be a valued member of the team when the new manager came in (and brought his own staff with him).

Anyway this has been done to death. The fact is that the club knew that the day was coming and have done a brilliant job of riding the bumps and keeping on.
 




Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
NSC Patron
Oct 8, 2003
52,025
Faversham
Swansea was a Championship Club, not a rival in the same league. Did you forget? Potter brought two members of his team to Swansea and then brought them to us., Fair enough.... but in our case he carried on taking several others who had been with us some time before he arrived.
Of course you are entitled to feel sanguine about it, but I don't.... and I dispute your simplistic comparison with the Albion's dealings and the metaphorical 'football food chain'.
Even worse then :shrug:
 


attila

1997 Club
Jul 17, 2003
2,252
South Central Southwick
One final point from our meeting. The lines of communication are as good as we, the fans, want them to be: we would be pushing at an open door if we were pushing at all, but nobody seems to be. I was always going to 'retire' from Albion activism once we got Falmer and really hoped that the younger generation would take on the BISA mantle and that the fan representation method we had established would continue, but nobody wanted to do it.

The club has actually asked us to be more involved, both with Paul Beirne's initiative a few years ago and the recent fan representation one. At the moment that, and the annual fans' forum, are what we've got. (Paul B actually said to me that he wished the kind of topics we were discussing were more in evidence there, rather than flasks, bottle tops etc.) :) I very much enjoyed my visit, but I HAVE retired from any form of 'spokesperson' role: further communication on any kind of formal level is down to others, but will be very much welcomed if/when it happens at any level other than PB's admirably comprehensive responses to individual fans and whatever happens at the 'consultative committee' meetings and fans' forums.
Cheers John
 


hans kraay fan club

The voice of reason.
Helpful Moderator
Mar 16, 2005
61,761
Chandlers Ford
Swansea was a Championship Club, not a rival in the same league. Did you forget? Potter brought two members of his team to Swansea and then brought them to us., Fair enough.... but in our case he carried on taking several others who had been with us some time before he arrived.
Of course you are entitled to feel sanguine about it, but I don't.... and I dispute your simplistic comparison with the Albion's dealings and the metaphorical 'football food chain'.
Three. Bjorn Hamberg, Billy Reid and Kyle McAuley.
 


timbha

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2003
10,112
Sussex
One final point from our meeting. The lines of communication are as good as we, the fans, want them to be: we would be pushing at an open door if we were pushing at all, but nobody seems to be. I was always going to 'retire' from Albion activism once we got Falmer and really hoped that the younger generation would take on the BISA mantle and that the fan representation method we had established would continue, but nobody wanted to do it.

The club has actually asked us to be more involved, both with Paul Beirne's initiative a few years ago and the recent fan representation one. At the moment that, and the annual fans' forum, are what we've got. (Paul B actually said to me that he wished the kind of topics we were discussing were more in evidence there, rather than flasks, bottle tops etc.) :) I very much enjoyed my visit, but I HAVE retired from any form of 'spokesperson' role: further communication on any kind of formal level is down to others, but will be very much welcomed if/when it happens at any level other than PB's admirably comprehensive responses to individual fans and whatever happens at the 'consultative committee' meetings and fans' forums.
Cheers John
Dare I say that you’ve made yourself redundant!! Thanks for speaking out and making challenges (with others) over the years. Slippers and a pipe now😉
 








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