Doing a Leicester: ‘Money-Ball’ spin-off?

The start of the English Premier League [EPL] for soccer in UK last August, 2015, book-makers who conduct sports-gambling which is entirely legal in Great Britain, and thus authorized to take capital-bets for those seeking speculative-returns on outcome of football matches, were offering betting-odds of 5,000-1 against relegation-survivors in EPL-table, 132-year old Leicester City Football-Club, of unlikely winning the English Premier League [EPL] this year in 2016.That in comparison this betting-odds of 5,000-1 offered by ‘bookies’ is far greater to betting-odds offered for the improbable event of erstwhile rock & roll celebrity Elvis Presley [1935-1977] turning up alive and well for Elvis fans the only hope to cling for, who officially, and controversially died because of heart failure due to prior deteriorating health and long term drug dependency, especially the chronic overuse of prescription-barbiturates.

In international soccer history, Leicester City FC winning the English Premier League [EPL] this year in 2016 is also being compared to Denmark’s unlikely European championship victory in 1992 when they were drafted in as late substitutes for the mega soccer European tournament when paired against favoured International soccer teams like Germany, Netherlands, and Italy.

The English Premier League [EPL] that has been historically dominated by Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal because of their financial-ability to out-pay, and out-bid the competition in procuring top-flite soccer players globally notwithstanding Italian, and Spanish Leagues of today, has always made them the automatic-contenders for the EPL title.

Yet the management cum coaching of Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City FC took the EPL title through tactical innovation, and by finding hidden-value in players performing in 2nd division football such as striker Jamie Vardy and mid-fielders N’Golo Kante that did not catch the eye of agents who secure multi-million Pounds sterling for players, management, and teams by bringing in so-called true ‘talent’. This approach of finding value in HR against relying on conventional-wisdom by those of have conflict of interest in looking at other alternatives, is the crux of Hollywood Movie ‘Moneyball’.

That the renowned and much circulated publication, ‘The Economist’ estimates that Leicester city football club’s payroll was just 3/4th the EPL-median this 2016. The indicator makes Leicester city football club the 2nd EPL club in EPL history, after Manchester United FC in 2001-02 to break-even into the top-4 with the below-median wage-Bill.

However, striker Jamie Vardy and mid fielders N’Golo Kante of Leicester city football-club may well be purchased in next transfer window by teams such as Manchester United, Manchester city, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal because of their financial-ability to out-pay, and out-bid the competition in procuring top-flite soccer players to make them the next-contenders for the EPL-title.

For Leicester city football club to sustain its stay at nest years EPL-Season, and avoid being just the feeder club for others will ‘lie’ on how it invests the financial-windfall that comes with greater share of Revenue from broadcasting rights, merchandizing, and selling new-found players such as Striker Jamie Vardy and Mid-Fielders N’Golo Kante to other Clubs during transfer-windows.

That in itself is core-competence, and capability for emerging-clubs to develop, and grow if they truly strive to move into the next-level, besides becoming giant-killers by finding hidden-value which is no longer hidden but revealed in financial-futures before the eyes of everyone….

Author – Arjun J Chaudhuri

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