By Matthew Bazell
Wednesday 20 Feb 2013 20:49:00
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The vast majority of the world’s most successful football managers have one thing in common which is that most of them do not have, or require, a degree in economics.

Wenger’s celebrated economics degree is a distinction which is a major part of his ‘kudos’ and one that many fans seem overawed by. On various occasions I’ve heard admires of his attempt to use his education in finance as a tool to prove his greatness and cut down any argument of change. I will be the bearer of bad news to Wenger’s followers, because it needs to be pointed out that having an economics degree has zero connection in being a top football manager.

My uncle has a degree in economics and he is also one of the top FA coaches in the country - his two distinctions are not related. If you were to take my uncle’s economic degree away he would be no less of a football coach. Alex Ferguson does not need an economics degree to work out the simple maths of a football transfer budget: here’s £70 million, go out and spend it on good players. That is not rocket science, of which I don’t care if Wenger has a qualification in either.

I’m a GCSE grade G in maths, yet by my calculations even I can work out that the £70,000 a week he pays to Sebastian Squillachi is bad economics. I can also conclude that the £7.5 million he pays himself a year is not in consistently with the club’s wage structure of which he preaches.

By my valuation, £62 for the cheapest Grade A game goes way beyond any degree of economic fairness to the common fan. ‘Le Master’ defends the ticket pricing structure and moans about the fact that the crowd don’t get behind the team, yet surely a basic economic and social hypothesis would conclude the obvious; if you price the common man out of football, in favour of bankers, media moguls and marketing executives then things won’t be as loud.

Over the New Year period, at a time when we were fifteen points behind Manchester United, Wenger’s economic know-how in league table analysis lead him to believe that we were still in the title race. Again, my basic grade G maths skills lead me to a different conclusion.

Wenger uses the upcoming UEFA Fair Play rule as an excuse as to why he doesn’t spend more in the transfer market. But even someone with a grade U in maths could easily work out that you can spend profit and be within the UEFA Fair Play threshold. Even if the Fair Play ruling had been in full effect over recent years, Arsenal could have spent tens of millions more on better players and would not have made a loss. You do not need an economics degree to work that out!

Considering that many of the new breed of season ticket holders are made up of accountants, bankers and maths teachers, I can understand that a manager who is obsessed with money and spread sheets can be of appeal. As Wenger’s priority is to maintain profit over everything I can see how a degree in economics could come in useful for such a role. That might be beneficial to him, the board and the shareholders, but as football fans it serves us no purpose. So the next time this economics degree gets used as a tool to beat the Wenger drum, question it deeply as being a potential negative as opposed to a positive.


Written by

 Matthew Bazell is the author of 'Theatre of Silence'  


Book - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Theatre-Silence-Lost-Soul-Football/dp/190349057X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361374035&sr=1-1
Kindle -  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Theatre-Silence-Lost-Football-ebook/dp/B008TSMWOC/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361374035&sr=1-3






Jump to comment form

21 Feb 2013 22:28
If you are going to bring up the £62 ticket why not mention the £25 cat C games - one of the cheapest in the league or the £10/15 league cup tickets? Going to every game averages out the price over the course of a season, if you only want to go to category A games you deserve to be overcharged. In fact if you want to talk pure economics £62 is a 'cheap' price, because the price should increase due to a high demand - which there is. Also nobody I know has ever used his economics degree as a measure of his ability, his three league titles and 5 FA cups are more of a measure of his ability. The point of this article seems to be the celebration of your poor education, over Arsene Wenger.
21 Feb 2013 0:23
Sir, i too possess a degree in economics and a very high IQ. Can someone please sign me up and pay me something like 70k a week......DAMN!!!!
20 Feb 2013 23:17
What a fantastic insightful article. Sharp analysis combined with great understanding of the game. The fact that you have a keyboard doesn't mean you have to use it when you have absolutely nothing to say....
20 Feb 2013 22:46
Are you a citizen journalist? Is there any point in me advising you that mediocrity cannot recognise itself? BTW what grade did you get for English?
20 Feb 2013 22:07
For more accurate figures why not take a look at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/arsenal-holdings-publishes-financial-results Same reports from previous year will debunk your ideas of tens of millions being available from 06-11. Failing that it is a publically listed club - address your questions directly to the club. Season ticket holders... Change begins with an individual... Could be you Good luck :-)
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20 Feb 2013 21:30
The debate about Wengers Economics degree to me isn't about his ability to understand basic maths or work out how much he has in his budget; its a measure of his intelligence. It's a measure of his ability to use his brain and think. Where does this relate to football skills? In his tactics, his strategy, statistics and metrics. His ability to apply mathematics to a game of football. But to you and I, it's behind the scenes. Who knows, he may do this 1000 times more efficiently than any other manager, but does it translate to the pitch? Man management is something you either have or you don't. It's about having the skills to interact, control, influence, motivate, INSPIRE. You can learn some of these skills, but I think its inherent, a genetic marker you are born with. An Economics degree may help in the academic aspects of this, but I think Wenger lacks these skills. Look at Ferguson - he is a man manager, a motivator and scares the sh*t out of his players. THAT gives them the edge, the fight, the desire to win, for him and them. So yes, I always challenge the Economics degree angle. Look at the Man and not the Maths.
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