Don’t know if you’re aware but, technically, anyone can own a football team. Even someone who is from a completely different world, but got a whole heap of money from it!
Another thing you might not know is that I’ve recently written a book – which talks about the stories of Flavio Briatore alongside other similar like-minded owners from around the same time in English football. In ‘The Football Spider Web‘, researching the concept of football ownership as a whole was a really interesting endeavour.
As it appears that the world of football abstains from the usual hierarchical structure that are adopted by the majority of companies / industries worldwide. In favour of whatever works for each club in each league.
Though even I couldn’t predict what would happen recently, but that’s a different story for a different day …
In simpler terms, once you own a football club, you can basically do whatever you want with it – especially when you’re in a position like Briatore’s where the team owe you so much for saving them from the brink of bankruptcy. Being in such a position entitled their new, enigmatic owner to ensure that he dipped his fingers into as many pots throughout the club as he could.
So, I guess that typically reserved role of a ‘hands-off’ owner wasn’t on the cards by the time Flavio Briatore was inaugurated at Queen’s Park Rangers (Q.P.R.) in the summer of 2008.
Quite to the contrary, this new-look (and high profile) board of directors at the ‘R’s decided to commence their new venture with a very bold claim – that they were going to be the ones to guide this lowly West London club from their place at the foot of the English Second Division and into the dizzying heights of the Premier League within four years. They weren’t as equally invented when it came to finding a name for their new project, and hereafter, the ‘Four-Year Plan’ was born.
If you’re a fan of documentaries, then there’s actually one by the name of ‘The Four-Year Plan’ which could serve as some much-needed relief from all of these words on a screen.
Actually, the folks over at Amazon Prime’s head offices have acquired this cheeky number for themselves, so go ahead and click HERE if you would like to see this fly-on-the-wall account of the overall journey that took Rangers from hope to prosperity between 2008-12.
Here, we’re just going to discuss some of Flavio Briatore’s best hits.
Right from the get-go, you get the feeling that Briatore really wanted to let everybody know who was in charge at the club. Indeed, he and his investors saved the club from bankruptcy and balanced a finance book detailing over £16 million worth of debts, but after that, owners are expected to lead by delegation in the football world.
But he didn’t do this.
He was more of a ‘my way or the high way’ kind of guy – from expanding their portfolio, to recruiting players and even influencing the manager on how to pick the team! Yes, really!
There’s even a snippet in the documentary where he, his club chairman and Sporting Director think over ways in which they can convey their message from the Directors’ box and unto the dugout during games – the conclusion of which was to send a series of ‘texts‘ to ensure that their messages didn’t get lost in translation (nor would they be obvious to the wandering eye).
Beyond that, Flavio Briatore allowed much of his ego to get in the way of sound business decisions and it seems that it was his riches (and the trickle-down effect of it) which attributed to Q.P.R.’s successful plan.
If you ask me, his conduct was improper, inappropriate … and garish! But who am I, really?