Flexible and micro management of cash brought ultimate success on the pitch
Cash is the lifeblood of any business and being able to maximise its use to achieve your objectives is a key expertise.
Brian took the opportunity to indulge his passion for his local semi-professional football club by buying it. In his role as part-time Executive Chairman over a period of 8 years, his finance skills helped underpin years of improvement on and off the pitch that contributed to winning the F.A. Trophy Final at Wembley in front of 40,000 spectators.
The team that won wouldn’t have been there without timing cash flows across the season. Forecasting short and long term cash flow and carrying out what-if analysis enabled the club to start the season with an ambitious best case scenario that wouldn’t endanger the club’s future. Front loading the playing budget with a view to bringing in unbudgeted revenues from a cup run, sale of player or new investment enabled this scenario based planning.
Key to this though was being able to change course quickly if necessary. Players’ wages were the largest overhead and the club did not have as strong a capital base as most clubs in their league. To compete it needed to be as fleet as foot as Ryan Giggs. This was achieved by turning players’ wages into a more variable cost.
Keeping player contracts short and performance related, maintaining a quota of players on week to week contracts and encouraging youth development brought the flexibility to front load the budget and aim for best case scenario from the outset.
Interestingly, Brian’s preference was to sign up single players without responsibilities as they measured their negotiations over wages in cars and mobile phones. Alex Ferguson on the other hand, with completely different financial tools at his disposal, preferred his players be married with children.
Each to their own!