The Alternative League Table – Part 4

The idea of this list is to rank Premier League clubs based on who ran each club. The focus isn’t just on the money that is spent on wages and transfers fees. Obviously finances dictate what team’s objectives are and have a large say on where teams eventually finish. This list aims to show the impact each owner/chairman has during their time at the club. The final instalment contains my choice on who I believe are the 5 worst run clubs in the division. Let me know if you agree @bewareflyingfb

16. Malcolm Glazer – Manchester United

To buy the club in 2005 Malcolm Glazer had to borrow money placing the club in huge debt. This was extremely unpopular with the fans and even resulted in the formation of FC United of Manchester. The fans who remained at Old Trafford showed their disgust at the American’s ownership by wearing green and gold scarves, to represent the colours of the club when it was first formed as Newton Heath. There were rumours of a takeover bid from a group of wealthy businessmen (“The Red Knights”) however this never came to fruition. Despite the animosity towards the Glazer family United have remained at the top of the English game. They have been able to support Sir Alex Ferguson and now David Moyes including breaking the club’s record transfer when they bought Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur for £30.75million in 2008, as well as the impending move for Chelsea’s Juan Mata. During their time at Old Trafford the debt has reduced thanks to worldwide sponsorship deals negotiated by Edward Woodward who replaced David Gill as Chief Executive last summer. This season the club have struggled in the league but the Glazers haven’t been affected by calls to sack Moyes. If the club don’t finish in the top 4 it may have bigger implication to finances than it would at clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City.

17. Ellis Short – Sunderland

Sunderland’s lowly position in this table can largely be attributed to the fact that little is reported on owner Ellis Short and the running of the club. Since taking charge of the Mackems in September 2008 Short has financed transfers totalling £177m with this being offset by sales resulting in a net investment of £55m over 6 seasons. During his time at the club they have remained in the top flight but have flirted with relegation on a few occasions. Each time the manager has lost his job as a result. Steve Bruce was sacked in November 2011 being replaced by Martin O’Neil, who came in and saved the club from relegation but didn’t last the following season. Bruce has returned to the Premier League with Hull while O’Neil has taken charge of the Irish national team. The appointment of Paolo Di Canio was risky as his only previous managerial experience was with Swindon Town. This experiment lasted less than a year with the Italian’s sacking coming with rumours of players’ unrest at strict rules and with the team winless in the first 5 games of the season. Results have picked up following the arrival of Gus Poyet with the bonus of a place in the League Cup final. Off the field Sunderland have a partnership with Invest in Africa as well as the Foundation of Light scheme which helps people in the north east of England.

18. Daniel Levy – Tottenham

“Tough negotiator” are two words which are most commonly used to describe Daniel Levy, infamous for playing hardball and getting the best deal for the club. When it became clear that Gareth Bale had his heart set on Real Madrid Levy ensured that they would have to pay top dollar to get their man, eventually having to fork out a world record £86million. When Luka Modric wanted to join Chelsea Levy stood firm and stated the Croatian was not for sale at any price, before selling the next year to Real Madrid. Despite spending over £100m the team was still under construction with the season already underway. Even if Levy and owner Joe Lewis got the best deal financially it appeared to have an impacted the team’s preparations for the forthcoming year. Levy prefers working with a technical director and head coach rather than a manager. Only Harry Redknapp could be described as a traditional manager. Martin Jol and Juande Ramos worked under Frenchman Damien Comolli and Andre Villas Boas reported to Franco Baldini. Jol was sacked in 2007 despite consecutive 5th place finishes, Redknapp left by mutual consent after twice breaking into the top 4 and leading the club to the Chanpions League knock out round and following a record points haul Villas Boas was dismissed after big defeats against Manchester City and Liverpool. Tim Sherwood has been appointed Head Coach until the end of next season and it remains to be seen which direction the club is heading.

19. Assem Allam – Hull City

As so common with many other clubs Hull City were in financial peril before Assem Allam take over the club in November 2010. Allam originally from Egypt studied in Hull so it seemed that he already had an affinity with the area and would have the club’s best interests at heart. He soon dispensed of fan’s favourite Nick Barmby and appointed Steve Bruce. This proved to be a shrewd move as his experience took the club back to the Premier League. Allam backed the manager in the summer with the arrival of a number of players with top flight experience including the club record signing of Tom Huddletone. The club has made a strong start to the season but off the field controversies have overshadowed this progress. Assem announced at the start of the season that he planned to rename the club Hull Tigers. This was extremely unpopular with the fans who have voiced there discontentment chanting “City ’till I die’. Assem’s response was ill advised to say the least commenting in a newspaper interview that the Hull City supporters “can die as soon as they want, as long as they leave the club for the majority who just want to watch good football.” This was a disgusting retort and showed a lack of respect of the fans of the club who pay vast sums of money to watch their team play.

20. Vincent Tan – Cardiff City

Where to start with Vincent Tan? Firstly changing the team’s colours from blue to red, the logic being it’s considered a lucky colour in Asia and would therefore attract more fans from the Asian market. Secondly, redesigning the club’s emblem with a dragon replacing the traditional Bluebird. These decisions were disrespectful of the club’s tradition, but as he owned the club Tan felt he was entitled to do so. Malky Mackay won the Championship meaning Cardiff became the second Welsh team in the Premier League. To compete in the division a number of players were bought in, however Head of Recruitment Iain Moody was fired last October because too much was spent. Surely Tan would determine how much money is available and have the final say on transfers. Manager and owner’s relationship deteriorated to such a degree that Tan emailed Mackay with the message resign or be sacked. The backlash from this was huge and Mackay was afforded a stay of execution following the reaction of the Cardiff supporters. However this was a brief reprieve and another defeat against Southampton the next week led to the end of the Scot’s tenure. It’ll be interesting to see whether Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has funds in this month’s transfer window as Mackay was told there would be no signings as he had overspent in the summer.