The plight of Leeds United over the past few years has highlighted the latest trend of teams that strive for instant success of a’ Boom or perhaps Bust’ attitude. The relegation of theirs in 2004 showed the errors of this method in addition to ideally clubs are able to take heed of this in the future. Not all clubs with this attitude suffer the same fate as Leeds and there are a handful clubs who have been profitable with this policy.
The initial British club that tried to invest in success were Blackburn Rovers in the 1990’s. Until the development of the Premier League in 1992, the majority of Blackburn’s achievement was pre-1930. Most of this were set to change when area steel magnet Jack Walker bought the club in 1991 and also installed Kenny Dalglish as manager.
In 1992 Blackburn received promotion to the new Premier League and within 3 years of increasing promotion they won the Premier League having spent millions of pounds. Jack Walker’s takeover of the childhood club of his as well as the drive of his to make them one of the best teams today had worked.
The cost of Walker’s dream to check out Blackburn as Premiership champions was costly. After they’d received promotion on the Premiership (in 1992) they paid a subsequently British record fee of £3.5 million for England centre forward Alan Shearer. During the 1992-93 season Walker started his cheque book again and created several other costly signings in Graeme Le Saux, Stuart Ripley and Kevin Gallagher.
A remarkable Blackburn side finished fourth with the brand new Walker and signings once again opened his cheque book to enable Dalglish cash to further strengthen and he dually acquired Tim Flowers and David Batty. The policy of spending money to purchase success edged closer as Blackburn finished runners-up to Manchester United in 1993-94.
Throughout 1994 Blackburn once again set a new British transfer record when Chris Sutton was signed from Norwich for £5 million. Sutton created a prolific partnership with Alan Shearer that helped the club win the first Premiership title of theirs in 1995. Jack Walker’s dream had come true, within 5 years of purchasing the club he’d taken them out of the existing Second Division to champions of the Premier League.
At the end of the 1990’s, Peter Risdale, the Leeds United Chairman, harboured identical ambitions to which of Jack Walker. The primary difference in between both clubs was that Blackburn under Walker have been a privately owned club whenever they received the Premier League and self financed. On the other hand Leeds United were a Plc with restricted finances.
Under the management of David O’Leary, Peter Risdale hoped the glory days of Don Revie from the 1960s and 1970s (when they won a multitude of major honours) would get back. O’Leary promoted numerous youth team players to the very first team and was also permitted to spend big money that will return the club to its glory days.
Without the backing of an affluent owner, The Leeds and peter Risdale United board were taking a major gamble in the policy of theirs for working to purchase instant success. Leeds needed silverware as well as Champions League football to help you finance the ambition of theirs.
Under the leadership of O’Leary (and George Graham) the club finished fourth in the 1998 99 season and qualified for the following seasons UEFA Cup. In the following season the policy of expending almost paid off as Leeds attained their 1st European semi final in 25 seasons. Galatasaray finished their dream of European cutlery as they received the match up 4-2 on aggregate to get to the UEFA Cup final.
On a much brighter note Leeds United finished third in the Premiership and qualified for the 2000-01 Champions League. Risdale had finally witnessed the club gain entry of his into the premier club competition on the planet were cash was to be produced.
Opened the cheque book
Risdale opened the cheque book again for O’Leary in the hope this would secure the clubs first Premiership title as well as cause European success. Rio Ferdinand arrived for a British record of £18 million, £6 million was spent on Mark Viduka, Robbie Keane arrived for £12 million and £7 million was spent on Seth Johnson. The Leeds board had taken a major gamble in the quest of theirs for silverware.
Leeds played attractive attacking football in the Champions League and qualified out of a team which contained Real Madrid, Lazio and Anderlecht. In the ¼ finals Leeds overcome Spanish outfit Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 on aggregate establishing a ½ ultimate showdown with Spanish giants Valencia. The Spanish side broke Leeds fans hearts as they qualified for the other 3-0 on aggregate.
This marked a turning point in the fortune of the club. Leeds finished the 2000 01 season fourth in the league and missed out on qualification for the following winters Champions League. Failure to get the competition received a knock on impact on the clubs finances as the board depended on the cash from qualification.
Peter Risdale and The Leeds board
Unknown to the general public, Peter Risdale and The Leeds board had removed big loans against future gate bills as well as money from Champions League qualification. Together with the Leeds team failing to win any silverware the mini keyboard weren’t getting the bucks they required for all the loans. The club began to slip further as well as further into debt.
David O’Leary was sacked for failure to win the club and some silverware had to begin selling off star players to cover the debts of theirs. Several of the clubs players were sold for a significant sum like Rio Ferdinand for £30 million and Jonathan Woodgate for £9 million; though other players remaining at reduce price offers, Robbie Fowler who cost the club £11 million (in 2001) was offered for £3 million, Paul Robinson for £1.5 million and Harry Kewell for a simple £5 million.
Considering the departure of key players the clubs outcomes started suffering and Leeds were at last relegated in the summer of 2004, just a couple of years after achieving the Champions League semi final. The genuine value of seo Leeds debts have been shown at a staggering £124 million. The policy of peter Risdale and The Leeds board of attempting to get success had backfired.
The hottest staff to keep the policy set by Leeds and Blackburn is Chelsea. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the club in June 2003 for £60 million. Around £100 million was spent on brand new players which saw a quick upturn in the clubs fortunes while they finished second in the Premiership and reached the semi finals of the Champions League.
European Cup winning coach Jose Mourinho was employed as manager in 2004 together with the spending spree continued as a supplemental £80 million was splashed out. During Mourinho’s first 2 seasons at the club he won directly to back titles as well as come to the Champions League semi final in 2005.
Abramovich’s policy of buying instant success has proved helpful and also Chelsea are actually a pressured to be reckoned with in the Premiership as well as on the continent. Like Blackburn under Jack Walker in the 1990’s, Chelsea are funded by a single individual who has complete control of the club. In addition, they don’t run the danger of racking up large debts like Leeds United did under Peter Risdale.
It seems from recent history that instant success can be obtained but at a high price. In case a club is self funded by one individual then often money is just not an issue for the manager to fulfill the clubs goals of his. On the flip side if a club does not have got a rich owner, then the clubs have to gain silverware on a regular basis to cover the costs of theirs and take part in Europe’s premier club competition, the Champions League.