The dog house problem


In baseball players are sometimes known to have extremely good seasons just before their contracts expire. The thinking here is that they’re about to enter the free market and know that their value will be judged on their most recent performances.  So they give absolutely everything.

In football we seem to take another approach.  Players near the end of their contracts are dangerous.  Every moment they are either not signed to an extension or not sold to someone else is another moment they’re losing transfer value.

Transfer value is interesting.  If a player is in demand he will cost a lot.  If a team doesn’t want to sell someone they cost more.  It’s called leverage.  If a player is part of things the selling team can reasonably expect a premium price.  If the player isn’t being used it’s a lot harder for the selling team to say “nah, we’re not selling him.””why not? you’re not playing him!” “Oh yeah. We are selling him.” “How much?” “10m” “how about 5m?” “No” “Okay, bye” “Wait! 4m!” “No, we’ll pay 2.5m.” 

And so on.  The leverage is always with the buyer.

Bryan Ruiz

Konstantinos Mitroglou

Fernando Amorebieta

Dan Burn

Alexander Kačaniklić

All of these players have track records, to varying degrees.  If Fulham go down by a point, or miss the playoffs by a point, will they regret not fielding the above players?   We can talk about going in a new direction but if you look at it rationally, how stupid is it to have international quality players not being selected in the Championship?

If you then sell them, you play someone else in their place.  

Have we really gelled so much as a team in the games they’ve been omitted to justify their absence?  Has not having them around accelerated the new Fulham?   Yeah, maybe the youngsters have enjoyed their role in the team, but is this the optimal approach to achieve the club’s stated goal of promotion?  

I would suggest that the job of the manager is to maximise the points his team earns.  If he doesn’t like all his players, fine, but find a way to get the best out of them.   The players want to leave?  Are they under contract?   Well then.  I’m not stupid, I appreciate that contracts in football aren’t all that.  But if we want a season of Ruiz as a #10 behind Ross McCormack it’s in our power for that to happen.   If we want Fernando Amorebieta as a centre-back while the younguns acclimatise, well we can do that.  Or Dan Burn, who has played well in the Championship before, could play.  Mitroglou might be something other than what Felix appreciates in a footballer but at some point he was bloody good.  I can’t believe that he’s still not fit.  He would be one of the best strikers in the Championship.  But Fulham willingly ignore him.

Are we that good that we can do this?  Are we so good that we can throw out some good footballers in the name of ‘going forward?’.  

It just seems absolutely stupid to me.  Ridiculous.  This kind of self-sabotage sums up Fulham at the moment.  Promotion and progress will come when we make efficient, optimal decisions.  Make the most of the assets we control, not rubbish them, devalue them, give them away for much less than they’re worth, all on a whim.  


14 thoughts on “The dog house problem

  1. I get your point, and it is beyond stupid, but the context is different. In footy, players’ contracts change immediately once they find a new team. Here they don’t. That change in dynamic is everything.

    In baseball, and pretty much every other sport here, the contract you sign with Team A is the same even if you get traded to Team B, and then Team C, until it expires from the original date signed. There’s reason to perform in a “Contract Year” because you get a payday at the end. No money is exchanged between clubs for your services, just how much they’ll pay you specifically.

    There’s also an unspoken, nebulous agreement amongst owners to avoid so-called “troublemakers”. Do anything to avoid “distractions” ( It’s stupid, but it’s real.

    In footy it’s bizarro world. Players, regardless if you’re a model citizen or a cancer, will get a new, often better, contract once you join a new team. Clubs either make or spend money on the deal. Agents often push for these moves, even if it torpedoes their career, as they get a large cut too. Everyone is trying to dick over someone else.

    Granted, none of us know anything about WHY EXACTLY none of the players are featuring because this sport is beyond opaque (and we’re all a-okay with that fact); but I imagine the players and manager both know the deal and are biding their time.

    Now, why can’t they both act like adults and be productive and work together? Well, you could probably ask that about a majority of humanity…

    We know that Kaca and Ruiz have talent, but they don’t fit into the team and Magath feels that they’ll detract from overall performances. Burn, Mitroglou and Amorebieta are nowhere near as good as we hope they are.

    Magath is insane.

    Right now, I’m leaning towards Explanation 2, but let’s give it a couple more games.

    1. Yep, Magath is insane.

      Ruiz is currently the best player in the club, Mitroglou is a Champions League goal scorer while Burn, Amorebieta & Kaca are at least as good as what we have bought in.

      It makes not sense. I am not sure we can afford to let Magath have too many more games in charge.

  3. Summarise my thoughts exactly thanks Rich. I am also pretty dam sure the footballers you have mentioned above really want to play some football at some point this summer! leaving them out in the cold is putting them all out of form and as you say, decreasing their potential value. Magath’s excuses in the past have been that these players won’t battle/fight/whatever for Fulham. I really don’t think this is actually important; if they play games, they should and will I think, strive to play well. They are professionals being paid a salary to do a job. I think the current situation is crazy.

  4. I’d suggest that the club expected to get rid of these players weeks even months ago and Magath had no interest or reason to use them. The consequence of that of course is that they’re not match fit, can’t therefore be used and their price is decreasing as the transfer window ebbs away.

    I’d like to think that Magath expected to do rather better with the players he was using or else he’d have brought in better.

    The fault may not be Magath’s because it is possible that the club simply can’t or won’t afford them so keeping them wasn’t considered an option and it may even be that we can’t bring players in until they’re gone.

    If we can’t offload them it suggests also that they may not be considered by other clubs to be worth anything like what we’re paying them.

  5. I wouldn’t mind if our young guns were tearing up the league but instead we look like we find them at a park, see that they can play a bit and chuck them all together each game even though they have never met. Let’s use this talent and gel a team together by blending, not chucking all the names into a tom-bola and pulling them out to fit in the next position on the list.

  6. There comes a point when Magath’s job is on the line and he’ll simply have to pick the best team available. Or from the remaining players who havent yet disrespected him in some way or another.

    1. Let’s hope that he has a plan so that it doesn’t come to a desperate knee jerk reaction as I actually want him to succeed for Fulham and for us to have the confidence in knowing that he knows what he is doing.

  7. I am very sorry but today we’ll have the fourth SORRY from mr. Magath.This man has ready to play international players like Mitroglou ect.and and he watch them at the bench.You are a GOD MAGATH..BRAVO.

  8. After recent performances I have no reason to trust that Magath knows what he’s doing at Fulham. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong after today’s match against Derby now that I’ve written it down, but I think odds are good that we’ll lose.

  9. At Derby today Alec Kacaniklic came on for the last 25 mins. He looked superior to anyone in the FFC team. Which illustrates Magath’s profound stupidity. It’s to do with ego. He is reluctant to play anyone who isn’t HIS idea. The man is destroying our club.

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