Football - The Modern Concept

Football Agents -  Sports Article by Kevin Walters
Football Agents - Sports Article by Kevin Walters

Football – the modern concept

In this article for football agents & Sports Lawyers, Kevin Walters evaluates the modern concept of Clubs increasingly becoming a professional businesses at every level.

New ways of thinking to improve on old and existing methods is not new in any walk of life in the UK. Manufacturing industries tended to lead the way, with the Japanese continuous improvement programs being so apparent in the UK manufacturing world since the late 70’s / early 80’s.

Sport quickly followed on with different forms of continuous improvement in fitness, nutrition and general health which saw world records being destroyed in almost every field. Nowadays, the world of business, manufacturing and sport are not even remotely like they were in the 80’s and before …… the world has changed and continues to change with improvements happening every day in every walk of life.

Football Revolution

However, there is a new revolution happening in football. It’s been happening for a while now, but many clubs have been using old methods in the new environment, which has subsequently shown little or poor improvements. This in turn has made many people sceptical of the new concept.  Traditionally, a football manager in the UK, at the professional level, would do everything from lead the coaching / training at all levels, to negotiate contracts, scout for new players, sign new players, hire & fire personnel and liaise with the media.

In Europe, many years ago, clubs decided that this was too much to handle for football coaches who had no or little experience in managing people, negotiating contracts and dealing with the media. New structures were created at top European clubs with people being responsible for specific roles: director of football was responsible for the scouting system and the signing of players; a coach did what he was good at – coaching, academy managers were hired to manage the youth levels; finance, law and media specialists were recruited to assist the director of football.

This became the norm at top European clubs in Holland, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Germany and Italy. English clubs messed around with the idea for years but very few, if any, really grasped the opportunity. They were operating with the new titles in place, but old methods were continuing to be used. However, this is changing, and a few clubs are really seeing the benefits of the new ways of thinking, working and improving.

Clubs who embraced change

Clubs like Southampton, Swansea, Bournemouth, Watford, Middlesbrough, Brentford and Burton are reaping the rewards of the new wave of change. Academies are being managed properly; directors of football are working with specialists in finance, law, psychology and statistics to bring the best players into specific environments. Mathematical modelling is being used to acquire players who are seen to be undervalued and therefore signed at significantly lower transfer fees, and placed on realistic wages. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are now commonplace in football circles, as common as they are in business boardrooms.

Statistics are used daily – on the training ground and during matches ….. It’s all high tech stuff which is beginning to turn the heads of the old fashioned football men.
Clubs like the ones mentioned above are typical of this new wave of management. Wages are being reduced but the players brought in are better equipped for success. More academy players are being introduced to the first team. The system of play continues from the grass roots through to the first team, which makes the transition from academy to first team much easier. KPI’s are showing individuals where they need to make improvements, and psychologists are helping to get the mind-set right from an early age - so success becomes the norm.

It’s a long way from the old football way, but modern technology seems to have finally prevailed in the new world of football in the UK.

A sports article for football agents by Kevin Walters (Durham)

All opinions and any factual content are the sole responsibility of the sports writer.


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