Many have suggested this is the madness that comes with Fawaz reign, and yes that is partially correct, but this also forgets that had we signed cheap cloggers, or let Majewski go they would similarly have been up in arms.
However this isn’t a completely new occurrence. The wage structure and a loss of control all went wrong a year before any of us had even heard of the al-Hasawi family. As pointed out by former Forest 24-7 columnist Ben Belfield yesterday on Twitter (@Bernando_torres) we loss control of the wage structure with the arrivals under Schteve McLaren.
Ishmael Miller, Andy Reid, Jonathan Greening and Matt Derbyshire all arrived on contracts which did not fit in with the previous tight controls over financial expenditure. The previously much maligned Transfer Acquisition panel, which fans hated under Billy Davies kept control over what we paid and to whom. That kind of control ironically is what many fans feel we should have. Miller was rumoured to be on £16k per week, Derbyshire £15k per week, Greening £14k p/w and Reid £12k p/w. All in a squad previously held tight by a focussed wage bill.
This is the humorous element of the whole thing for me. Under Doughty fans hated the figure of the CEO, Mark Arthur, now they desperately seek one. The free reign to spend has proved to not be effective. Now I accept these are two different eras. That in the days of Doughty and Billy’s reign when the fans hated the panel, that there was no so thing as FFP, but the basis was there for what they were doing. The club needs to be able to stand financially without collapsing under its own weight. I seem to remember that back then it was commonly accepted the highest wages were £8k per week.
What I’m trying to say is the TAP would never have sanctioned Abdoun, Djebbour, or Mackie or any such deal. Players would not have been tied to long term over paid deals like Majewski and Blackstock have. But before this year fans had little or no care what was being paid, and no suddenly everyone claims they always said it was reckless. This is wanting your cake and eating it.
The problem with blowing open a wage structure is that those players on lower wage packets are quite bitter when higher paid players come in when you’ve been a loyal club servant for years. The likes of Wes Morgan etc. did not like at all seeing Ishmael Miller coming in on double his wages, and then sitting on the bench, and who can blame them. Who would accept people at work doing half the workload they do for double the cash? Especially when your own contract up for renewal isn’t getting negotiated till the last minute because you’re cheaper deal would have to end up nearly matching. It makes you want to not sign a new contract and go and captain Leicester to promotion instead. Now I know when Fawaz came in he had to build a new squad, and agents knowing we needed players could happily demand maybe even double what the market value as. We NEEDED players. I heard figures mentioned for bang average players that were way above what was the old wage structure. Fawaz wasn’t the worlds greatest negotiated and would pay what players said they wanted. So Majewski and Blackstock got new deals for probably double their value and for 4 years.
So getting the wage bill back under control and jettisoning the players earning way above the rest is not only financially clever but squad happiness clever. There are still players earning extremely large salaries in the squad. Players who haven’t been playing much and this is what Dougie has alluded to. Paying top whack for top players doesn’t always work. Keeping a tight squad all in together does. That’s why the constraints might do us well, to take stock and realise that we were reckless, it was dangerous, and it definitely didn’t work.
As I say there are 5 players I Believe still on more than £20k per week. 3 of them are central defenders.1 of them barely ever plays. High wages are well and good when they are consistent performers. When they are just sat doing nothing for their wages it creates a squad that seems like it doesn’t care, because it doesn’t. Get rid of those