…and how your club can adopt it to entice players too good to play for your club, turn opposition fans against their own heroes and butter both sides of the bread by wooing players and footballing authorities while screwing every club that comes in your way.
Read on, young club chairman – learning this could mean the difference between signing the next Carlos Tevez or signing the next Dirk Kuyt (a cheap United v Liverpool joke there if you didn’t get it…):
1. Players = Tools
A particular player should never be your end target – he must always be a means to an end. And if you want to be the owner of a great club, you need to set greatness, glory and lotsamoney as your top objectives. Players then become tools – means to an end.
After a star player? Throw as much money as it takes to turn heads of the agent and the player, and just enough to get the club thinking as well. Cover your ass by negotiating image rights in your favor and striking bonuses out of the contract in favor of a higher basic salary. If you’re particularly crafty, tie in appearance-based bonuses and reduce the basic salary. The player may think he’s going to make more money, but ultimately, as he sits in the stands injured, the club will make money off his ass selling shirts and other merchandise. If he’s playing, you just sell more shirts. It’s easy.
Squad players? Fuck ’em. Pay them peanuts. Peddle the pretty ones (or those that become famous) in front of TV cameras and hawk off the ugly ones to other clubs.
Fan favorites? Make a big deal out of giving them life-long contracts at the club – every club needs to pander to one or two ‘icons’ every decade to pacify the fans.
Bring in the best everything – players, coaches, staff – feed them on ‘club glory’ and ‘honor’ and get them to singing your tune. Pay them a little if you have to, but only if it turns you a profit.
2. Bribe Officials
I’m not talking about giving money – that’s too easy and plus, you get caught. I’m talking about ‘official’ favors – honorary club members, elaborate ceremonies, testimonials – whatever it takes to make the important people ‘feel’ part of your club. Once they are in they will be more open to your legendary lies and will also work in your favor.
Hot Tip: Start with the very top. Once you snag the boss, it’s easier to get the rest to play along.
3: Tell Legendary Lies
Small white lies are what you use to get out of difficult questions with your girlfriend. The big lies are what you use to con people into giving you money. The truly legendary lies – well, those are lies that turn normal, sensible people into raving lunatics ready to do what you want. Legendary lies will use those who are against you and get them to work in your favor.
Case in point – the pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo. Yes, the player wants to go to Madrid. But do you think he would have had this many interviews with the press and this much said and written about him if Ramon Calderon had kept his mouth shut? Do you think Ronaldo would have been this popular a topic of discussion if Real Madrid hadn’t declared him their #1 target and conducted a very public chase for the player?
And now every United fan wants him to leave; most hate his guts (see comments). By peppering various interviews with legendary lies, Calderon has turned the people of Manchester United against their best player of the last two seasons.
The sham doesn’t start or stop at player transfers though – it doesn’t get legendary status that way. It achieves greatness by being a hoax that’s played on millions and millions of fans across the world over several decades, generations of footballers and countless trophies. And it all starts with that simplest, most blind of lies:
We’re the best.
The rest is just hot air rationalizing the above (and trophies, of course). Whoever does that best gets to be called the best and the biggest in the world.
Disclaimer: This article was part tongue-in-cheek, part meant to highlight how fans are easily manipulated by those in charge. I understand that people will be offended – please keep in mind that I have no ill-will towards Madrid or Liverpool or Dirk Kuyt or Cristiano Ronaldo or Manchester United or Sepp Blatter (oops) or Ramon Calderon or anyone else you manage to link this article to, nor is this meant as criticism (well, not really).