The Key to Success...

...is about who you prevent going to a rival club

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

The transfer market enables or disables each Premier League club challenge – in theory it's the guiding hand of the manager and not the 'distant hands-off' club owner that transforms individuals into a star team but that isn't always the reality.


Here are some unwritten rules that influence the transfer market. Transfer fever should be about 'out-thinking' opponents not just about settling who wins each trophy? Don't share, acquire! Stabilizing, cauterizing or mass exodus or its opposite normally is centred around three major English cities in the premier league: Liverpool, Manchester and London. Apart from Liverpool, Manchester and London are cricketing and rugby union sporting cities. Multi-sport cities often prevail in domestic football competitions but they all have derby competitions, selectively targeting transfers of great talent are to the six major clubs of the premier league. Liverpool v Everton, Chelsea v Arsenal and Manchester City v Manchester United all compete over transfer targets – it's a top-table competition within a competition at the top division of the premier league competition. These clubs can also resource by acquisition of talent from domestic lower grade premier league clubs too! They are being put through their paces to judge how they will succeed purely for the benefit of the top six. Yes, it's a cattle market!


Too many new signings = under preparation as a team with too many young men being displaced. Time and mutual skill-set knowledge will make such a club have a great finish but indifferent start to their season. It's a game of patience and the 'long play'! Intervention to stop a transfer is about bumping-up the price or encouraging rivals to purchase a talent that will upset their balance or stimulate interest in other rival teams! Over-steer or under-steer of club owners de-stabilize, enforce or delay moves from one club to another. Injuries to players often expedite transfers but hide 'burn-out'. Outsourcing and sub-contracting to a willing and loyal journalist with 'exclusives' over headlines of 'over-inflated wages' or 'too expensive and too old' are ways of communicating 'back-off' from manager to an interfering owner takes place! The selling-off or loaning-out of 'B' players can often bond players/manager/and owner together. Better to loan-out to the premier league clubs who may do some 'football damage' to rivals without the player being eligible to play against his parent club! But could there be a category of off-loading to rivals 'trouble-makers to do non-football damage! Better to loan to a derby-club rival as all the fans would prefer! But the most successful and popular transfers are paradoxically duplications of a position already filled by several players! It's like taking sweets from a baby!


Manipulate and control your opponent manager by reverse psychology or play on the record. Blink last! Spread their team thinly! Lose two, win five. Rig your team to lose and then surprise in a following crunch match. Utilize and exploit local media; sign a player to prevent him going to a rival club just before a derby even if he duplicates what you already have. Be managerial yet fierce and absolutely loyal to your players! Teach and groom to make media savvy players but always antagonize an individual player, control your opponent by provocation and exasperation and use ambiguity as an excuse to take Umbridge and insult without being seen to be dictatorial. Use transfer markets to excite fans and offer competition inside the training ground – always rattle cages but always reward!


Remember the truism: you have to beat your opponent to the ball and beat him to the referee too! Remember that the most important acquisition or near-acquisition is that of the manager. Pro-active vigilance to 'kill-off dead wood' must be tactical not whimsical. Or stabilize the transfer market by strategic short, medium and long-term investment in backroom staff too. Indulge your foreign managers because they can convince countrymen to follow them by transfer! Always promote club owners, energise him to take the credit and not just the players! Personalize player-power, with the club owner. Always disparage playing percentages; go big or go-home transfers should inspire your team not someone else's! Exhaust rivals on and off the pitch. Let a star player create a charity or invest in a pre-existing one. Train your players to be grateful and gracious in victory and ungrateful and ungracious in defeat! Protect your players from over-protectiveness! Find a way to open-up their horizons! Be your own man but let someone else defend that quality but not in the public eye! Always know your credit can always be reversed by a poor transfer that goes wrong. A manager 'lives or dies' on the transfer market!



© 2020 Stephen Hornsby-Smith

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