Yes, money can buy you suc­cess

Big spenders over CHRIS DUNLAVY looks at Europe’s the years and what they got for their money

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - History -

HAT time do Spurs kick off? Ev­ery 15 min­utes. Why did the chicken cross the road? Be­cause he didn’t want to be seen on a Spurs shirt.

And so on. Af­ter a 6-0 bat­ter­ing at the hands of Man City, Tot­ten­ham have be­come to jok­ers what a three-legged gazelle is to a chee­tah.

And the rea­son they’re such easy meat is the in­cred­i­ble £107m spend­ing spree they went on this sum­mer.

With £80m from Gareth Bale burn­ing a whole in his pocket, shrewd busi­ness­man ™ Daniel Levy couldn’t wait to sign ev­ery halfde­cent player un­der the sun and duly paid top dol­lar for the lot.

Their re­ward – hu­mil­i­a­tion at the Eti­had and nine Pre­mier League goals scored up to that game – one fewer than Ser­gio Aguero had man­aged on his own.

As Joey Bar­ton said: “Lamela £30m? Soldado £26m? Paulinho £17m? £107m to­tal spend? Some­body has had Spurs kegs down with th­ese sign­ings.”

Of course, Spurs aren’t the first club to try and buy suc­cess. Here are some whose cash yielded glory… and oth­ers who suf­fered far worse than Tot­ten­ham. GOOGLE the phrase ‘cheque­book man­ager’ and you will un­doubt­edly see a pic­ture of Sven Goran Eriks­son. Give him a wedge and he’ll build you a good team. Take it away and he’s ba­si­cally a nice bloke with an in­ter­est in ladies.

Luck­ily for him, Lazio pres­i­dent Ser­gio Crag­notti was only too will­ing to oblige, oblit­er­at­ing Ital­ian trans­fer records on a weekly ba­sis.

Seba Veron cost £18m, Chris­tian Vieri £19m, Her­nan Cre­spo a world-record beat­ing £35m. Then there was Diego Sime­one, Alessan­dro Nesta, Sin­isa Mi­ha­jlovic, De­jan Stankovic, Pavel Nedved, Marcelo Salas and Si­mone In­za­ghi. Eriks­son spent £50m in the sum­mer of 1998 alone.

The re­sults, though, were im­pres­sive: a first Serie A ti­tle in 26 years, an Ital­ian Cup, the Euro­pean Cup Win­ners Cup, a UEFA Cup fi­nal and vic­tory over Manch­ester United in the Euro­pean Su­per Cup.

Alas, Crag­notti was done for fraud in 2004, pulled the plug on Lazio and the stars swiftly hit the road. LAY­ING down the get­rich-quick blue­print that Man City and PSG would fol­low, the ar­rival of Ro­man Abramovich turned Chelsea from en­ter­tain­ing dilet­tantes to heavy­weight con­tenders.

Ad­mit­tedly, their trans­fer strat­egy owed a lot to su­per­mar­ket sweep, with plenty of duds (Andrej Shevchenko, Alexei Smertin, Asier Del Horno, Mateja Kez­man) to point and laugh at.

But in the main, their abil­ity to out­spend any­one in the world was al­ways go­ing to yield suc­cess and af­ter Jose Mour­inho got his hands on the trea­sure chest, two league ti­tles duly fol­lowed. CAN money buy suc­cess? That’s a bit like say­ing ‘Can a tree crush a car?’ If it’s a bon­sai, prob­a­bly not. If it’s a gi­ant red­wood, your Fi­esta is his­tory. And when it comes to throw­ing money around, Man City are def­i­nitely the big­gest tree in the for­est. Since 2008, two dif­fer­ent own­ers – Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra and Shiekh Man­sour – have emp­tied their wal­lets at the Eti­had.

The re­sult has been the big­gest stock­pil­ing of tal­ent in foot­ball his­tory with City spend­ing the GDP of Liberia – yes, hon­estly – on play­ers.

Two sum­mers run­ning, Mark Hughes tried his best to en­sure it would come to naught, singing the likes of Robinho (£32.5m), Wayne Bridge (£12m), Craig Bel­lamy (£14m) in 2009, be­fore adding Em­manuel Ade­bayor (£25m) and Roque Santa Cruz (£18m) to his steam­ing pile.

But Roberto Mancini even­tu­ally sent some scouts to Europe, stopped burn­ing Man­sour’s money and brought the FA Cup and Pre­mier League ti­tle to the Eti­had.

Which, let’s be fair, is the least you’d ex­pect for £930m. FIFTY penny chews? Or one Lin­dor? Such is the prob­lem faced by man­agers with a bud­get to blow.

In 2001, Ju­ven­tus most def­i­nitely plumped for the lux­ury op­tion, splash­ing an in­cred­i­ble £110m on just four play­ers.

The first was Marcelo Salas (yes, again) who couldn’t stay fit to save his life and loafed off

Andrej Shevchenko

Her­nan Cre­spo


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