Matt Scott: Debts are no longer a taxing issue for the big clubs


“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.” John Maynard Keynes

Like him or loathe him – and he splits opinion as surely as Marmite – John Maynard Keynes was one of history’s greatest minds. His writing has formed the basis of the modern economic system. (Although what he taught has been treated as a piecemeal buffet from which to pick and choose according to political expediency,

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Matt Scott: Managers are too important to hire and fire on a whim. But are they all up to it?


“Sacked in the morning, your getting sacked in the morning…” Terrace chant

It is one of football’s accepted truths that no employee in a club is more important than the manager. His influence on the most decisive input into the club’s operations – the results on the pitch – makes him so. It follows then that with so much swinging on how they do, there must be some objective measure for the quality of their performance.

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Matt Scott: How the De Gea mess shows who football’s winners really are


“The money coming into the game [football] is incredible. But it is just the prune-juice effect — it comes in and goes out straight away. Agents run the game.” Lord Sugar

Lord Sugar (then just plain Alan) became chairman of Tottenham Hotspur in 1991 and stayed at the helm there for 10 years. He was even manufacturer of the set-top decoder boxes that took content from dominant UK pay-TV channel,

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Matt Scott: Nothing but the best will do. But can Everton really do better?


“Nil satis nisi optimum” Everton Football Club motto

How Everton’s owners must lament that history has bequeathed them as a motto a Latin phrase meaning “Nothing but the best will do” because, since their 1995 FA Cup win, Everton really haven’t been the best at anything. But it is a stick with which to beat an underperforming club, and so it was with the acronym NSNO that disaffected Everton fans appended their banner of dissent as it flew by St Mary’s Stadium last week.

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Matt Scott: Roman, please may I have another two more players?


“Thinking to get at once all the gold the goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.” The goose with the golden eggs, Aesop

Even John Terry – that Captain, Leader, Legend of Chelsea lore, who would in time make rubble of walls with his bare thighs if his manager so desired – is not superhuman. Eight years ago even he was knocked unconscious on a football pitch,

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Matt Scott: Champions League puts gas in engines of top Premier League clubs


“Money, it’s a gas/ Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash/ New car, caviar, four star daydream/ Think I’ll buy me a football team…” Pink Floyd, Money

When in 1975 Roger Waters wrote the lyrics to Money, Manchester United belonged to a local meat wholesaler, Louis Edwards. It was still about 15 years before his son Martin accepted a £20 million (€28.7m, $31.2m) bid for the club from a consortium led by Michael Knighton,

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Matt Scott: Jose is talking piffle. But can he do without the presents of the past?


“If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise.” Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho sat in the press conference with his arms folded. His bottom lip was pouting. This was the face of a child whose daddy had told him he was not allowed a lollipop. For the world’s top managers, and the habitually successful Portuguese is certainly one of them,

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Matt Scott: FIFA has created a moral vacuum that other interests will fill

“The danger is that the indulgence and attachments of the people will keep a man in the chair after he becomes a dotard, that reelection through life shall become habitual and election for life follow that.”

“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” Thomas Jefferson

Young nation though it still is,

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Matt Scott: Broken windows? How the transfer system is under threat

“What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what goes on behind a windowpane. In that black or luminous square life lives, life dreams, life suffers.” Charles Baudelaire

There is something visceral, something deeply emotional, about the transfer window. For fans of clubs who are apt to sell their best players, it stirs deep pangs of jealousy at the threat of a love lost to a more potent rival.

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Matt Scott: How do you price a player? Football’s fundamental inefficiency


“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” Albert Einstein

When Einstein wrote the most famous equation in physics, he identified his inputs very clearly as energy, mass and the speed of light: E=mc2. But then the relationship between energy and mass is itself intrinsic, a fact represented in the paradox about what counts and can be counted.

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Matt Scott: Why FFP is right and proper, whatever City fans might say

“No man can judge what is good evidence on any particular subject, unless he knows that subject well. A lawyer is no better than an old woman at a post-mortem examination.” George Eliot, Middlemarch

For hundreds of years the legal profession has been among society’s least popular functions. It’s pretty clear that not everyone likes the way lawyers practise their business but the fact is the modern world could not carry on without them.

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Matt Scott: Can Henry persuade Wenger to spend? £200m says he should


“Arsenal need to buy four players, they need that spine. They need a goalkeeper, they still need a centre-back, they still need a holding midfielder and, I’m afraid, they need a top, top-quality striker in order to win this league again.” Thierry Henry, Sky Sports

They have a statue of Thierry Henry outside the Emirates Stadium. For most Arsenal fans he was the champion of champions, the Achilles from Paris,

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Matt Scott: Why are English clubs so hard to sell? Ask Warren Buffett


“For the investor, a too-high purchase price for the stock of an excellent company can undo the effects of a subsequent decade of favorable business developments.” Warren Buffett

It’s hard to argue with any of the aphorisms spoken by the most successful investor in modern history. Warren Buffett has made himself a multi-billionaire, and lots of other people very rich too, with his seer’s ability to pick a stock through forensic financial analysis.

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