By Bob Pearce.
Footballers, Hotel Rooms and Prostitutes.
They are inseparable.
They are also inconsistent, intangible and perishable.
Just like in the movies sometimes, I’m starting around the middle somewhere to grab your attention.
Alternative title 1
‘Tomkins’ Law explained’
We talk about transfers as though we can know what we are getting for our money. We talk about buying footballers as though we can judge them in advance, that their quality will be maintained and guaranteed.
When it comes to transfers we may have been looking through the wrong end of the telescope.
No transfer is risk free. Every transfer is a gamble.
Some you bet big. Some you bet small.
Some have high odds. Some have low odds.
Some will pay out big. Some will pay out small. Some will lose money.
Whoever the player, whatever the price, there are no guaranteed winners.
‘Tomkins’ Law’ shows that around half of all transfers are unsuccessful. And yet we allow transfers to continue disappointing us so often. That’s like tossing a coin and complaining that it’s not always ‘heads’. It’s an unrealistic expectation.
Just like in the movies sometimes, now I’m going to cut back to around the start somewhere.
Alternative title 2
‘I was looking for a squad, and then I found a squad, and heaven knows…’
No matter what we claim to know about football, we all seem to be continually surprised and baffled by which transfers succeed and which transfers just suck. Some dead certs become dead ducks. Some no-names become household names.
Among the findings of the Transfer Price Index work were the following conclusions:
• Big money signings do not guarantee you success.
• Successful managers make successful and unsuccessful signings.
• Successful signings are not always an instant success.
• Previous Premier League experience does not mean a player will settle quicker.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it all. We are left guessing over and over again.
Whenever we are dealing with something that appears to make no sense I’d suggest that we should try to resist the temptation to jump to the conclusion of presuming it is ‘just crazy’. That should be our very last resort. Instead we could say that, while it makes no sense to us, we should continue to assume that somewhere there is a point of view through which this does make sense (if only we could find that point of view).
Maybe part of our confusion is that we talk about footballers as though we are buying ‘products’ and expect them to fulfill our expectations of a product. If we judge a footballer as we would a product and have the same expectations about quality, reliability and consistency, we will be repeatedly disappointed. And of course, we are repeatedly disappointed.
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