|Are Town Becoming More Financially Efficient Or Still Wasteful?|
Written by Ole_Pablo_Ole on Monday, 3rd Sep 2012 11:33
There has been a lot of debate brought up recently as to whether Ipswich are doing the right thing by adhering to the Financial Fair Play (FFP) guidelines and refusing to give in when players or clubs demand too much in the transfer market. Whether it is the right or wrong approach is not something I will be discussing here but what I will be discussing is something crucial that I believe a lot of fans have missed.
As we are adhering to the FFP rules it is now more important than ever for the club to be financially efficient. I can see that the club are clearly trying to cut costs and limit their outgoings, but the question I find myself asking is; how well are they actually doing this?
Obviously the best way of assessing this is to look at the players that have been sold, bought and the overall wage structure at the club.
It is too early to fully judge the players that have been brought in but so far it looks like most of them are solid buys. Scott Loach, Luke Chambers, Daryl Murphy and Massimo Luongo all look capable at Championship level. Paul Taylor is rated very highly by everyone at Peterborough so hopefully there will be a lot to come from him too.
We can assume that all of the players that have been brought in are on wages below £15,000 a week so the club have a decent wage structure currently. Relying on a couple loan players is always a prudent method and the club are also using younger players like Jack Ainsley, Josh Carson, Luke Hyam and Ronan Murray to fill out the squad which will save them a lot of money.
The bad news is that the club have wasted a lot of money by letting players go for nothing.
Ipswich were in a bit of a difficult situation as their wage bill was well above what the FFP guidelines recommended but they still needed to bring players in. This meant that in order to complete certain transfers they had to release some players for free. It makes sense given the circumstances but you could also argue that the club could have been better off if they planned a bit better.
Everyone will remember the signings like Tamas Priskin and David Norris that were bought for high amounts, given big contracts then let go for free. Everyone thought those days were over but this summer we have seen Grant Leadbitter, Jimmy Bullard, Jaime Peters, Ryan Stevenson and Damien Delaney all leave the club for free.
Peters leaving is understandable as he hasn't played much under Paul Jewell, he was probably on low wages and probably terminated his contract with little compensation. The club probably tried to sell him for a small fee but there wouldn't have been many clubs after him.
The financial losses from the other players leaving for free can only be blamed on poor planning though. If the club could not agree terms with Leadbitter around this time last year then they should have sold him at that point or at the latest last January. Instead they kept paying him his over-the-top wages for the whole season then let him go for for free.
Given Bullard's injury problems he possibly should have been given a shorter contract but admittedly no one predicted that he would become as useless as he did. The club will have had to pay Bullard a substantial fee to get him to terminate his contract though.
Stevenson, like Peters, hasn't featured much and joined Ipswich for the small fee of £50,000 back in January. It came out this week that his wife wanted to move back up to Scotland so we let him go back to Hearts for free.
How nice of us to let Hearts have their player back for nothing just because his wife isn't happy! It may seem a bit heartless (no pun intended) but why should we let a player leave for free just because his wife hasn't settled? Surely the club shouldn't suffer because Stevenson has a problem with his wife. The other key point is that if the player was worth £50,000 in January then surely he is still worth at least that now.
Of course, £50,000 isn't a lot of money to a club like Ipswich but there is no point in wasting money especially as they are trying to run the club as efficiently as possible. If Hearts didn't want to pay that £50,000 then Ipswich should have told Stevenson that he is staying and he would have made a decent back up player. Overall, letting Stevenson go for free was a bad piece of business from Ipswich which summarises their occasional lack of common sense in the transfer market.
Damien Delaney is was in a similar situation to Stevenson in ways. The player was only going to be used as back up and he obviously wanted to being playing every week. However, Ipswich paid just under a million pounds for Delaney not too long ago, so why is he now worth nothing? He is an average defender who would have been useful as back up so it was another situation where the club should have either got a small fee for the player or kept him until January.
Now Ipswich have left themselves in a situation where they are short in numbers at the back and relying doing business when the loan window opens. Obviously if they have a great centre-back lined up to sign on loan then it would be easier to forgive the club's inefficiency at times.
Coming back to the original point, Ipswich have become more financially stable but are still making poor financial decisions at times. If the club want to be tight with money and not give in to unreasonable demands then that seems logical but they need to apply that logic when it comes to selling players too. With a bit of forward planning this is easily achievable and it will be unforgivable to see the club make the same mistakes in the future.
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