The Terry Brown masterclass

Around the country in the expanding number of sports management departments at colleges and universities, lecturers are now preparing their classes for the forthcoming year.

One of the lectures for the forthcoming year at any of these centres of learning might be "How to ruin a famous football club". Perhaps they could offer a Masterclass and invite Mr Terence Brown along in person to give the students the benefit of how he excels at that, and still manages to draw a fat cat salary.

Here's the lesson plan as I see it.

Brown Masterclass Lesson 1: Forget that leadership is the most important aspect in any business or team sport

It's been said a thousand times, but Roeder was never the right man for the job. Maybe he was the right man for Brown. Maybe he was the only one who would put up with Brown. But he wasn't the right man to do the football job. It was the football equivalent of promoting the girl on reception to middle management. I judge Brown in the same way anybody else should be judged in his position: on the success or otherwise of the people they appoint.

Commonsense dictates that you appoint people to jobs based on their track record. Not because you like someone. Not because their face fits. And certainly not because they might be good at part of the job description.

Success. Another factor that bears on recruitment decisions. Gillingham. 22 games lost out of 35. Watford. More than a third of games lost and the club took the drop after he was kicked out too late by the Watford Board. Did Brown ask this question: "Tell me Glenn, what have you actually won as a manager?" Surely the answer to that simple question must have led to some flicker of doubt that the man had the qualifications to lead the club.

Paolo can be accused of emotional language from time to time, but his words at the time of Roeder's appointment have got to be some of the most apposite ever uttered. Remember what he said? "I don't want this club to turn into another Sheffield Wednesday, selling the best players, getting relegated and becoming a mediocre First Division Club." That is on record.

Brown's tips for disaster then have even greater effect by failing to act when leadership has effectively disappeared. Here's the deal. You have a manager that has a goal difference of minus 23, having shipped 51 goals, 8 worse than your nearest poor performing rival. You cannot win at home for love nor money. There are plenty of managers out there that have proven records and can do the job. You do not even have to pay compensation immediately to the poor performing manager you sack.

The Brown Masterclass has a simple solution - stick with that poor performing manager as something is bound to turn up. This is Mr Micawber running the show.

The reality is that Roeder is not qualified for the latest job - to get us out of the Nationwide. I hope that I'm wrong, but we have all the signs of doing a Derby County - but despite the problems with that club I would take their manager tomorrow. In fact, I wanted West Ham to appoint him before Xmas 2002.

Brown Masterclass Lesson 2: Get complacent

Competition is another important aspect of life in top tier football. Not just competition on the field of play, but competition in a business sense. The best run businesses in this country never rest on their laurels. Even when they are performing well, they look to strengthen their position. They also watch carefully what their competitors are doing.

Not according to Terry. Here's another bright idea. No investment in new signings during the whole of the summer pre 2002/03. According to Terry every other Premiership club has got it wrong. Complacency and lack of investment. More brilliant moves in the Failure Masterclass.

Never mind, the way around this one is to apologise after the damage is done. That is bound to make everybody forgive and forget. And do it just before the season ticket renewals deadline - people are bound to be too thick to notice. Remember that nice letter to season ticket holders: "Maybe the belt tightening was not the right move." Understatement of the year as was another gem uttered at the same time by Brown's sidekick in the Failure Masterclass, Mr Paul Aldridge, "There will be no fire sale of players". What utter and complete claptrap.

Brown Masterclass Lesson 3: Do not communicate and let others take the rap

Effective leaders take people with them and explain what they are about. They have vision and motivate everybody to follow them. The Brown style is anonymity and setting up the fall guy to take the blame. As much as I do not think Roeder is right for the job, it is really quite despicable the way that he has been put in the firing line.

I am convinced that failure is guaranteed if you skulk around in the background and frustrate everybody with lack of information, disinformation and lies. The statements at the EGM by Brown were classic examples. "The financial position is turning around having released ten players and we will only have to sell a couple of players to be secure". Or words to that effect.

How is anybody supposed to feel when that is said and the opposite happens? Another part of the recipe for failure.

Quite frankly, is there actually anybody out there that believes a word this man says? Is there anybody out there that has any confidence at all in the Brown Regime? Can anybody convince me that the club is not rotten to the core?

Brown Masterclass Lesson 4: Put yourself first

Politicians are not the most popular people around. Yet there is a recent example of a politician - the former Secretary of State for Education, Estelle Morris - who actually admitted that she was not up to the job and resigned. The Brown Masterclass teaches a different method which does not involve Sid James or Barbara Windsor: carry on regardless.

Brown's approach is out of the Ceaucescu text book. I control power and no-one else is important. My survival and the survival of my dynasty come first. I do not care what the price of my survival is and I will not allow anybody else to take any power away from me. The ends justify the means.

Brown's formula also involves rubbing salt in the wound by taking money out of an organisation losing money (as West Ham United plc has done even when in the Premiership). A nice big fat pay rise. One of the highest salaries for a Chairman in the Premiership, compounding losses. Now that is moving on from a Failure Masterclass to a Taking the Piss Masterclass.

I also see no evidence whatsoever in Brown digging into his own pockets. What I see is a man on the take, draining the lifeblood out of a club that that is important enough to still command in excess of 17,000 season ticket renewals despite relegation.

Brown's recent actions reveal that he does believe that he is bigger than the club itself. Forget football, this is about self-preservation. Well, to quote Mr Donald Rumsfeld: "It's time for regime change."

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