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Sir Alex Ferguson - the value investor?


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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2176993/Sir-Alex-Ferguson-defends-Manchester-United-owners-The-Glazer-family.html#ixzz21ITzWMic

 

Arguably the greatest football manager of all time (and probably in the very top across all sports). With his own two hands he turned Man Utd from a mid-table team to the world's most valuable sports franchise - without help from truckloads of outside money. Just like Buffett he is still going strong despite not growing younger.

 

The way he mentions 'value' during every silly season as his reason for not splashing out on flashy signings makes me wonder if he read a line or two from Buffett. At Man Utd long-term thinking is everything, Ferguson has been at the helm for 26 years. Two of the players (Scholes and Giggs) have had 20 year long careers in the club. The club is an odd bird in the league, not taking any expensive shortcuts to glory but still succeeding at the highest level and, as opposed to almost all the other top clubs in the world, being run like a business and churning out profits.

 

Even if you don't care for football, I think reading about Ferguson could be interesting for you. A truly fascinating man.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Ferguson

 

Well, that got long. It just struck me as a funny coincidence the way he presses on about getting value and there being 'no value in the market' every single summer.

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He is most certainly one of the greatest managers in the history of the sport but I honestly wouldn't classify Alex Ferguson as a value investor based on his football transfers. Sure compared to Manchester City and Chelsea you could call him a bargain hunter (any manager is actually a bargain hunter compared to those two clubs), but I would say that Arsene Wenger has him beat when it comes buying players on the cheap. Arsenal has consistently stayed as one of the top 4 teams in England over the past 16 years and I do not think Wenger has ever spent more than £15m pounds on a player.

 

In the article Ferguson says "‘There is a borderline in terms of what you would think is a good signing for United,’ said Ferguson. ‘I see some values on players, like Hazard for instance. To me it was a lot of money. He’s a good player, but £34m?". He mentions that and yet in the same week he just bid £32m for an unproven Brazilian 19 year old Lucas Moura who is far from the player that Eden Hazard is.

 

There's no doubt he's a great manager but I wouldn't consider him a bastion of fiscal responsibility. Arsene Wenger and David Moyes are more deserving of that mantle.

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but I would say that Arsene Wenger has him beat when it comes buying players on the cheap. Arsenal has consistently stayed as one of the top 4 teams in England over the past 16 years and I do not think Wenger has ever spent more than £15m pounds on a player.

 

From Wikipedia:

 

Although Wenger has made some big-money signings for Arsenal, his net transfer record is far superior to other leading Premier League clubs. A survey in 2007 found he was the only Premier League manager to have made a profit on transfers, and between 2004 and 2009, Wenger made an average profit of £4.4 million per season on transfers, far more than any other club. A notable example of his shrewdness in the transfer market was the purchase of Anelka from Paris Saint-Germain in 1997, for only £500,000 and the player's subsequent sale to Real Madrid just two years later for £23.5 million. This enabled Wenger to buy three players: Henry, Pirès, and Wiltord, who all played significant roles for the first team in the early 2000s. The sale helped the club fund its new training centre at London Colney, which Wenger campaigned for. The Arsenal defence, which set a new record after going 10 consecutive games without conceding a goal in the Champions League, cost the club less than £5 million to assemble. Wenger's reluctance to spend more money on transfers is often remarked as being the principal reason for Arsenal's failure to win trophies and contest in the Premier League, since moving to the Emirates Stadium. The current youth system has not had its desired effects, with footballer Patrice Evra branding Arsenal a "football training centre" who are incapable of winning trophies. Regardless, Wenger has been able to sell his players at a higher cost; in February 2012, Arsenal announced a £46.1m profit, largely due to the departures of Fábregas, Nasri and Gaël Clichy. The growing trend of player departures, beginning with Ashley Cole in 2006 has meant Arsenal are now considered a feeder club to bigger teams.

 

Wenger is a stern advocate of financial fair play in football. He has criticised the long term approach of other clubs, namely Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid for spending more than they take from revenue – something he refers to as 'financial doping'. The ongoing European sovereign debt crisis has coincided with Wenger forecasting that it will put football into "perspective," comments concurred by the Financial Times writer Gideon Rachman.

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He is most certainly one of the greatest managers in the history of the sport but I honestly wouldn't classify Alex Ferguson as a value investor based on his football transfers. Sure compared to Manchester City and Chelsea you could call him a bargain hunter (any manager is actually a bargain hunter compared to those two clubs), but I would say that Arsene Wenger has him beat when it comes buying players on the cheap. Arsenal has consistently stayed as one of the top 4 teams in England over the past 16 years and I do not think Wenger has ever spent more than £15m pounds on a player.

 

In the article Ferguson says "‘There is a borderline in terms of what you would think is a good signing for United,’ said Ferguson. ‘I see some values on players, like Hazard for instance. To me it was a lot of money. He’s a good player, but £34m?". He mentions that and yet in the same week he just bid £32m for an unproven Brazilian 19 year old Lucas Moura who is far from the player that Eden Hazard is.

 

There's no doubt he's a great manager but I wouldn't consider him a bastion of fiscal responsibility. Arsene Wenger and David Moyes are more deserving of that mantle.

Me branding him a value investor was not 100% serious, just a reaction to him using the word 'value' over and over :)

 

Yes, Wenger sure is a fine manager - but remember Arsenal haven't won the league for 8 years, whereas Utd has raked a title almost  every year since then and the league 4 times (since Wenger arrived at Arsenal in 96 the score is 9-3 in Fergie's favour). And if we are talking purely business, Man Utd is outperforming Arsenal financially, too.

 

Remember, there is no shame in paying up for quality. Rio Ferdinand was purchased as the most expensive defender ever 10 years ago, but he has arguably been the best centre-half of the Premier League era. Sure, hindsight is 20/20 and misfirings are bound to happen in transfers (Forlán and Verón come to mind), but I really don't think Ferguson can be accused of being loose with transfer money.

 

I do however agree that what Moyes has done with practically no funds available at Everton is very, very impressing. It will also be interesting to watch the new reformed Newcastle this year. The bargain signings they have made recently are just ridiculous - Ba, Papiss, Cabaye, Tiote, Krul to name just some outstanding performers.

 

I'm not going to pretend that I know what's in Ferguson's mind when it comes to Lucas Moura, but you have to account for the wages too. I think Hazard's wage bill is bound to be much higher.

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  • 1 month later...

Atletico Madrid, how to run a football team into the ground ... and other Spanish football musings.

 

http://swissramble.blogspot.ch/2012/08/atletico-madrid-its-mad-world.html?m=1

 

good write up on the state of football. Especially scary is the amount of debt that the clubs carry - even the top two. Its not a level playing field.

I've always found it ironic that the best revenue sharing leagues are the ones in the USA. Effective socialism in the most capilalistic of countries.

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  • 2 weeks later...
The Arsenal manager speaks with the authority of one who has built and financed one of England’s finest stadiums, produced an immoderate harvest of outstanding players and qualified for the Champions League for the past 15 seasons while making his club a profit every year. And all without the intercession of a sheik or an oligarch, the kind of benefactors for whom money is not a limitation, nor even a consideration. Inevitably, his prudence renders him vulnerable to the shallow clamour of those who demand cups and trophies, short-term prizes delivered by the power of the purse.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2196966/Patrick-Collins-Big-spending-elite-heed-Wengers-demand-sanity.html

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
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No offense. Alex Ferguson is not the greatest football manager of all time, nor is he even the greatest manager today, and probably not the greatest in the Premier League. He's merely a very good manager. It's extremely misleading to say that Fergie doesn't take shortcuts to success...pretty much every player on this current team except Scholes and Giggs was bought for a nice fee.

 

Please don't take my admittedly harsh comments personally, but people go overboard in Fergie-love.

 

 

Furthermore, he's not a value investor! My god there is so much wrong with that statement it's not even funny. One of the few teams that runs "value" strategies are Valencia in Spain, where they buy comparatively unheard of players and develop them into stars. Villa, Mata, Silva, Mendieta, and are now doing with Canales, Gago, Banega, Soldado etc etc.

 

Ferguson simply has a big budget and a lot of talented players. But he really struggles in developing young players from the youth teams.

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No offense. Alex Ferguson is not the greatest football manager of all time, nor is he even the greatest manager today, and probably not the greatest in the Premier League. He's merely a very good manager. It's extremely misleading to say that Fergie doesn't take shortcuts to success...pretty much every player on this current team except Scholes and Giggs was bought for a nice fee.

 

Please don't take my admittedly harsh comments personally, but people go overboard in Fergie-love.

 

 

Furthermore, he's not a value investor! My god there is so much wrong with that statement it's not even funny. One of the few teams that runs "value" strategies are Valencia in Spain, where they buy comparatively unheard of players and develop them into stars. Villa, Mata, Silva, Mendieta, and are now doing with Canales, Gago, Banega, Soldado etc etc.

 

Ferguson simply has a big budget and a lot of talented players. But he really struggles in developing young players from the youth teams.

 

I must say, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you that Ferguson is certainly not a value investor. But there is no way you can say Ferguson isn't one of the top 5 managers in the world at the moment (Mourinho, Del Bosque, Wenger and possibly Hiddink being the others), I personally support one of Manchester United's big rivals and would probably be the last person to admit that I like Ferguson in any way. Sure the current team has a lot of stars that were not bought cheap and they have spent a lot of money but you have to remember that Ferguson has also been in charge of Manchester United since 1986, the back bone of his initial title winning teams in the 90's all mainly featured young homegrown players from the youth team (Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt). And looking at the current team, you say everyone apart from Giggs and Scholes were bought for a nice fee but what about Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck all these are players who have been in the starting lineup for the last few games (I watch the premier league every weekend) and all came from the youth academy at Manchester.

 

I mean if you going to judge him based on the past 3 years and say he has spent a lot of money, sure go ahead (it would be similar to judging a portfolio manager on his returns in less than 5 years) but that would be doing a great dis-service to manager who has been with the same team for 26 years and won 12 premier league titles. If that isn't the definition of being a great manager then I'm clearly deluded as a football fan. My friends would be rather surprised to hear that I just defended Ferguson.

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No offense. Alex Ferguson is not the greatest football manager of all time, nor is he even the greatest manager today, and probably not the greatest in the Premier League. He's merely a very good manager. It's extremely misleading to say that Fergie doesn't take shortcuts to success...pretty much every player on this current team except Scholes and Giggs was bought for a nice fee.

 

Please don't take my admittedly harsh comments personally, but people go overboard in Fergie-love.

 

 

Furthermore, he's not a value investor! My god there is so much wrong with that statement it's not even funny. One of the few teams that runs "value" strategies are Valencia in Spain, where they buy comparatively unheard of players and develop them into stars. Villa, Mata, Silva, Mendieta, and are now doing with Canales, Gago, Banega, Soldado etc etc.

 

Ferguson simply has a big budget and a lot of talented players. But he really struggles in developing young players from the youth teams.

 

I must say, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you that Ferguson is certainly not a value investor. But there is no way you can say Ferguson isn't one of the top 5 managers in the world at the moment (Mourinho, Del Bosque, Wenger and possibly Hiddink being the others), I personally support one of Manchester United's big rivals and would probably be the last person to admit that I like Ferguson in any way. Sure the current team has a lot of stars that were not bought cheap and they have spent a lot of money but you have to remember that Ferguson has also been in charge of Manchester United since 1986, the back bone of his initial title winning teams in the 90's all mainly featured young homegrown players from the youth team (Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt). And looking at the current team, you say everyone apart from Giggs and Scholes were bought for a nice fee but what about Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck all these are players who have been in the starting lineup for the last few games (I watch the premier league every weekend) and all came from the youth academy at Manchester.

 

I mean if you going to judge him based on the past 3 years and say he has spent a lot of money, sure go ahead (it would be similar to judging a portfolio manager on his returns in less than 5 years) but that would be doing a great dis-service to manager who has been with the same team for 26 years and won 12 premier league titles. If that isn't the definition of being a great manager then I'm clearly deluded as a football fan. My friends would be rather surprised to hear that I just defended Ferguson.

 

 

I'm happy to respond to your comments in more detail a little bit later (I'm work). But a few key points. The players you mentioned:

 

Jonny Evans - Not a true first team prospect - has been surpassed by Jones and Smalling

Wellbeck - correct.

Michael Carrick - Product of Tottenham Academy (did you not know that?)

Phil Jones - Product of Blackburn (ditto)

Fletcher - Never matured into the player he was supposed to be and has not made a major impact on the first team.

 

Ferguson has a great record. But keep in mind A)He has been coaching for 20+ years. B) He had a far better team and budget than most of the Premier league throughout the 90s. C) Look at his failures in the CL. In 20+ years managing ManU, Fergie has only won the CL twice. Think about what Benitez, Mourinho, or Guardiola could do in 20 years of coaching a top club. First rate manager? Absolutely. Best? I'm very skeptical.

 

Better managers than Ferguson? Here goes (This is not exhaustive):

 

Ancelloti

Mourinho

Benitez (His early career was amazing, seems to have gone off the rails)

Oscar Tabarez

Del Bosque

Marcelo Lippi

Pep Guardiola (Just imagine what he could do with 20 years at Barca)

Joachim Loew (Young, but extremely gifted tactically)

Hiddink

 

Among retired names Arrigo Sacchi and Carlos Bianchi come to mind as well.

 

I am surprised at your naming Wenger and not some of these names.

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No offense. Alex Ferguson is not the greatest football manager of all time, nor is he even the greatest manager today, and probably not the greatest in the Premier League. He's merely a very good manager. It's extremely misleading to say that Fergie doesn't take shortcuts to success...pretty much every player on this current team except Scholes and Giggs was bought for a nice fee.

 

Please don't take my admittedly harsh comments personally, but people go overboard in Fergie-love.

 

 

Furthermore, he's not a value investor! My god there is so much wrong with that statement it's not even funny. One of the few teams that runs "value" strategies are Valencia in Spain, where they buy comparatively unheard of players and develop them into stars. Villa, Mata, Silva, Mendieta, and are now doing with Canales, Gago, Banega, Soldado etc etc.

 

Ferguson simply has a big budget and a lot of talented players. But he really struggles in developing young players from the youth teams.

 

I must say, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you that Ferguson is certainly not a value investor. But there is no way you can say Ferguson isn't one of the top 5 managers in the world at the moment (Mourinho, Del Bosque, Wenger and possibly Hiddink being the others), I personally support one of Manchester United's big rivals and would probably be the last person to admit that I like Ferguson in any way. Sure the current team has a lot of stars that were not bought cheap and they have spent a lot of money but you have to remember that Ferguson has also been in charge of Manchester United since 1986, the back bone of his initial title winning teams in the 90's all mainly featured young homegrown players from the youth team (Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt). And looking at the current team, you say everyone apart from Giggs and Scholes were bought for a nice fee but what about Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck all these are players who have been in the starting lineup for the last few games (I watch the premier league every weekend) and all came from the youth academy at Manchester.

 

I mean if you going to judge him based on the past 3 years and say he has spent a lot of money, sure go ahead (it would be similar to judging a portfolio manager on his returns in less than 5 years) but that would be doing a great dis-service to manager who has been with the same team for 26 years and won 12 premier league titles. If that isn't the definition of being a great manager then I'm clearly deluded as a football fan. My friends would be rather surprised to hear that I just defended Ferguson.

 

 

I'm happy to respond to your comments in more detail a little bit later (I'm work). But a few key points. The players you mentioned:

 

Jonny Evans - Not a true first team prospect - has been surpassed by Jones and Smalling

Wellbeck - correct.

Michael Carrick - Product of Tottenham Academy (did you not know that?)

Phil Jones - Product of Blackburn (ditto)

Fletcher - Never matured into the player he was supposed to be and has not made a major impact on the first team.

 

Ferguson has a great record. But keep in mind A)He has been coaching for 20+ years. B) He had a far better team and budget than most of the Premier league throughout the 90s. C) Look at his failures in the CL. In 20+ years managing ManU, Fergie has only won the CL twice. Think about what Benitez, Mourinho, or Guardiola could do in 20 years of coaching a top club. First rate manager? Absolutely. Best? I'm very skeptical.

 

Better managers than Ferguson? Here goes (This is not exhaustive):

 

Ancelloti

Mourinho

Benitez (His early career was amazing, seems to have gone off the rails)

Oscar Tabarez

Del Bosque

Marcelo Lippi

Pep Guardiola (Just imagine what he could do with 20 years at Barca)

Joachim Loew (Young, but extremely gifted tactically)

Hiddink

 

Among retired names Arrigo Sacchi and Carlos Bianchi come to mind as well.

 

I am surprised at your naming Wenger and not some of these names.

 

My bad about adding Carrick, he wasn't supposed to be in there, I do know he came from Spurs. As for the rest, I wasn't saying that they are amazing but just that it's disingenuous to say that the entire current starting squad of Man Utd is made of bought players when a considerable of their starters where actually from the youth setup. As for the other managers, here is how I see them:

 

Ancelotti - I agree on this

Benitez - I think he is a great manager for cup competitions but when it comes the league barring his success at Valencia he tends to fall short. To me he is not near the top 5 in any way.

Lippi - I agree, great manager!

Pep Guardiola - I loved him as a player but the truth is he hasn't proven himself at any other teams. If I had Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Villa, Pique and Messi on my team I'm sure even I could win a trophy or two, let him do it at another team and we'll mention him in the same breath as the rest.

Loew - Definitely ne of the best tacticians around, but lets look at his record with Germany, for a team with so many good players he has fallen short on the big stage time and time again.

Tabarez - He is good and considering the size of Uruguay he has done wonders with the team, I would put him in the same category as Bielsa, good coaches but not great.

Bianchi - I never followed the Argentinian leagues at the time so it's hard for me to comment and I do not know the relative strength of the teams that where playing then.

 

As for winning the champions league twice in 20 years, this is incredibly hard to do. The only managers who I can think of who have this are Fergie, Ancelotti, Sacchi, Hitzfeld, Llorente, Clough, Mourinho, heck even Cruyff only had 1 with Barcelona and that team of his with Laudrup, Bakero, Guardiola, Koeman, Txiki and Stoichkov was one of the best around. I think only Paisley managed to get 3 with his Liverpool team. And if we can't judge managers based on their long term records and strength of the league they are competing in, how are we to judge them?

 

Edit: And if you read any of my comments at no point do I saw he is the best manager ever, but I do say he is one of the greatest managers in the history of the sport and I don't think you will find many football enthusiasts who disagree with that.

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I think we'll just agree to disagree.  :) . I respect Ferguson, but I feel there are better managers past and present.

 

I think there's two types of managers - some like Pep, Sacchi and Wenger are good at building teams over the course of a season, and others like Benitez, Scolari, Tabarez, and Hiddink that are sharp tactical thinkers and excel at influencing matches via their decisions. Fergie seems to fall into the first category.

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I think we'll just agree to disagree.  :) . I respect Ferguson, but I feel there are better managers past and present.

 

I think there's two types of managers - some like Pep, Sacchi and Wenger are good at building teams over the course of a season, and others like Benitez, Scolari, Tabarez, and Hiddink that are sharp tactical thinkers and excel at influencing matches via their decisions. Fergie seems to fall into the first category.

 

Fair enough:). I don't think we disagree on much because I would also choose other managers past and present over him. But I think you were overly harsh in simply calling him "merely a very good manager". He has taken some shortcuts but I think you will be hard pressed to find a manager who hasn't done that.

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Fletcher was one of the best players in the team seasons 08/09 and 09/10. He has certainly had a major impact, even though his career stopped in its tracks due to his disease, a very serious one. He played his second match of the season yesterday and did well.

 

Evans has played loads of matches this season and has certainly not been surpassed by Jones for the CB slot. Maybe by Smalling but he is injured at the moment.

 

Ferguson did NOT have a huge budget in his early years and he also had great success with limited funds at Aberdeen. The funds later available was mostly due to his success as a manager for Man Utd and reviving the Man Utd brand. Even then he never splashed around like other teams, especially not in the latest 10 years. Have you even looked at Benitez transfer record when he was at Liverpool? It was atrocious. Admittedly he found gems like Mascherano and Alonso but there were a huge amount of mishits and even while outspending everyone but Mourinho's Chelsea he only managed one PL title challenging season - where they ultimately weren't really close to Man Utd. Benitez did very well at Valencia and had some success at Liverpool (CL title), but comparing him to Ferguson is a joke.

 

Pep came to a club with at least 3 of the 5 best players in the world and the rest of the squad also worldclass from the get-go. He did well but a few years of managing in a club with an already set philosophy and the best players in the world doesn't put you in the higher echelons just yet. Let's see how he does when/if he comes back for another stint at coaching. Mourinho is one impressive guy and probably the best in the world as of now, but since he managed Porto he has always come to clubs with basically unlimited funds (yes, even Inter at that time). 

 

Btw, did you watch the CL yesterday? Hernandez did pretty well, eh. Rafael not too shabby either - he has arguably been the best player in United thus far this season. Büttner wasn't bought for a high fee either, even though he still has lots to prove. Kagawa did not play very well, but he has had some great games this season already, and he wasn't at all expensive even though he came from a very successful Dortmund and arguably was their best player last season. One of the cornerstones of Utd these last few years has been Antonio Valencia. Was he expensive?

 

London clubs (and Spanish ones) have had an upper hand in the youth development area because of the 10 mile radius rule, but it has been changed recently, so we will see what comes out of the Utd academy in the coming years.

 

None of the managers you mention have had the accumulated success and longevity of SAF. Now, that may be due to dumb luck or career choices and not tactical and managerial prowess. But those are the hard facts.

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  • 2 months later...

As for winning the champions league twice in 20 years, this is incredibly hard to do. The only managers who I can think of who have this are Fergie, Ancelotti, Sacchi, Hitzfeld, Llorente, Clough, Mourinho, heck even Cruyff only had 1 with Barcelona and that team of his with Laudrup, Bakero, Guardiola, Koeman, Txiki and Stoichkov was one of the best around. I think only Paisley managed to get 3 with his Liverpool team. And if we can't judge managers based on their long term records and strength of the league they are competing in, how are we to judge them?

 

Edit: And if you read any of my comments at no point do I saw he is the best manager ever, but I do say he is one of the greatest managers in the history of the sport and I don't think you will find many football enthusiasts who disagree with that.

 

 

I'd just like to point out that Paisley won 3 European cups in his time as manager - and the uefa cup in his first season as manager. No other manager has every achieved that.

in 9 seasons he also managed a mere 6 league titles (to add to the one he won as a player) 3 league cups and a few other baubles such as six manager of the year awards.

 

No-one else you mention comes close to winning that much (when considered in terms of trophies per year).

 

Ferguson had the young kids emerge at the same time that saved his bacon early on - after that, and with the money coming in from Europe (remember they started letting in runners up etc at that time...), the expansion of the stadium and a fanastic business plan and marketing enabled him to spend money on whatever he wanted in the way of players.. as with every other club there has been expensive flops as well as stars.

 

He's not a value investor - he's a ruthless manager in a ruthless club then can give him the money to go and buy players when he wants.

 

Value manager - probably Dario Gradi at Crewe over the years produced so many good players that kept Crewe going for so many years.

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I think the true "value" guys in this space are Valencia - *in recent years* they have built their success on finding talented players before they become famous and selling them after they do. In addition they buy talented players that are "out of favor". David Silva, Mata, Albiol, and Jordi Alba were in the first category. Fernando Gago, Roberto Soldado, Sergio Canales, are in the second.

 

I'm biased as a Valencia supporter, but their strategy has clear value elements.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Article about Arsène Wenger from Arsenal.

 

Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team and hero of the book and film Moneyball, told me in 2010: “When I think of Wenger, I think of Warren Buffett. Wenger runs his football club like he is going to own the club for 100 years.”

 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d363b054-6548-11e2-8b03-00144feab49a.html

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  • 4 weeks later...

WENGER, OSBORNE, AND THE IRRATIONAL VIRTUE OF STUBBORNNESS.

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2013/02/the-irrational-virtue-of-stubbornness.html

 

It seems, then, as if Wenger and Osborne have much in common. Except for one thing - Wenger is a genius and Osborne, well, might not be. The difference, I suspect, lies in point 1. Wenger's prior that he knows best is founded upon things like: the fact that he's the only coach in 130 years to have taken a team through a whole top-division season unbeaten; the fact that no team that cost less to assemble has finished above Arsenal; and that he has turned countless players from unknowns to world stars. Osborne's prior is somewhat less well-founded.

 

Yes, Wenger might be biased. But sometimes, cognitive biases are a good thing, as they give us the strength to stick with a correct course in the face of adversity.

 

 

We should not, then, criticize Osborne for being stubborn. Stubbornness can be a virtue. The problem instead is that he's simply wrong.

 

 

 

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