Is Project 6000 and sustainability in L1 compatible with selling our "Gems"?

DB9

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Trying to move this conversation from the Transfer Rumour Thread to here. We know there is a real push to get us to L1 and stay there plus a real go at trying to get 6k into SJP every other week but what I'm asking is while we keep selling our Gems (Which is a policy of ours not to stand in a players way) can we do this?

My view is that i think it is difficult to do this, Not just for the obvious reason but as our recent past in L1 showed, We did so well finishing 8th that the spine of that team were sold and replaced with players of not the same quality and we ended up getting relegated to L2 where we've been for about a decade. At the moment there are rumours about this or that player being eyed up, It maybe true or it maybe not i have no idea but it just shows that our ownership model is so fragile in the sense if we want to go up we need the better players to stay but if we do well the better players are put into the "Shopping Window" because we have no one person owning us who has the funds to dip into their pocket, we do need that revenue stream to help keep the club going. (Please, Not a go at the club/trust but a fact)

To attract better players if we went up so we can have a real go at staying there we need to show them that the club has ambition, A team that has a real chance of staying up, Not going up and struggling, Who would want that? Our Academy has produced millions in talented youngsters who the club have benefitted in but we still are where we are on the pitch, Which is L2, Off the field we are unrecognisible to what we were, A really good looking stadium, A training ground that has plans to vastly improve things there, A Social Media platform that is so good and during lockdown has been a real lifeline between the club and fans, we need now to concentrate of the playing side but how do we do this. The improvements off the field have really taken the whole time the Trust has been in charge, Nearly 20 years, That is not a dig but a fact because we've had to do those things slowly and when the money was available, Slowly but surely, It is now time to really put all our efforts into the team, Get promoted and to stay there, The window hasn't closed so there is time but MT did make a rod for his own back in April with his statment about players he wanted to sign for this season, It naturally got the fans excited and now people are getting a little "twitchy" about who we've signed and those positions that still need to be filled.

If we want 6k at SJP on a regular basis then the only way to do that is win games and play good, exciting football that people are willing to part with their hard earned cash to watch it, It means signing good players, Not just to sell them off in 12-18 months but keep them here long enough so we're not struggling and others will want to sign for us because of the football we play and the quality we have.

*Other ideas/views most welcome, Remember it is all about opinions and I'm sure there are loads on here.
 
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Agree that’s a really good post DB9. I think there needs to a bit more shift in the balance now towards the actual team. Otherwise it’s like pissin in the wind in my view. There are far too many “fans” who have lost interest in City over the years due to us being stagnant in League 2. Matt saying what he said in April at the time really gave the fans hope for this season, and with the financial platform we should now have we need to move forward. Otherwise to me it’s going to feel like another broken promise and an opportunity missed.
 

Smithyno6

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Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
136
Trying to move this conversation from the Transfer Rumour Thread to here. We know there is a real push to get us to L1 and stay there plus a real go at trying to get 6k into SJP every other week but what I'm asking is while we keep selling our Gems (Which is a policy of ours not to stand in a players way) can we do this?

My view is that i think it is difficult to do this, Not just for the obvious reason but as our recent past in L1 showed, We did so well finishing 8th that the spine of that team were sold and replaced with players of not the same quality and we ended up getting relegated to L2 where we've been for about a decade. At the moment there are rumours about this or that player being eyed up, It maybe true or it maybe not i have no idea but it just shows that our ownership model is so fragile in the sense if we want to go up we need the better players to stay but if we do well the better players are put into the "Shopping Window" because we have no one person owning us who has the funds to dip into their pocket, we do need that revenue stream to help keep the club going. (Please, Not a go at the club/trust but a fact)

To attract better players if we went up so we can have a real go at staying there we need to show them that the club has ambition, A team that has a real chance of staying up, Not going up and struggling, Who would want that? Our Academy has produced millions in talented youngsters who the club have benefitted in but we still are where we are on the pitch, Which is L2, Off the field we are unrecognisible to what we were, A really good looking stadium, A training ground that has plans to vastly improve things there, A Social Media platform that is so good and during lockdown has been a real lifeline between the club and fans, we need now to concentrate of the playing side but how do we do this. The improvements off the field have really taken the whole time the Trust has been in charge, Nearly 20 years, That is not a dig but a fact because we've had to do those things slowly and when the money was available, Slowly but surely, It is now time to really put all our efforts into the team, Get promoted and to stay there, The window hasn't closed so there is time but MT did make a rod for his own back in April with his statment about players he wanted to sign for this season, It naturally got the fans excited and now people are getting a little "twitchy" about who we've signed and those positions that still need to be filled.

If we want 6k at SJP on a regular basis then the only way to do that is win games and play good, exciting football that people are willing to part with their hard earned cash to watch it, It means signing good players, Not just to sell them off in 12-18 months but keep them here long enough so we're not struggling and others will want to sign for us because of the football we play and the quality we have.

*Other ideas/views most welcome, Remember it is all about opinions and I'm sure there are loads on here.
Exactly how I feel. If you want a larger crowd/income then we have to move up a division. Portsmouth & Sunderland at home sounds a bit more appealing than Harrogate & Barrow.

The style of play from last season could of easily put people off when we ended in that rut. The shorts corners, lack of fight and not even getting into the opposition box is all I can remember from it in the end.

It needs to be exciting and worth watching this season, it can’t keep going stale and being same old story because those people who are on the edge of following City will just not bother if this continues and we stay at 3k.

It’s on Taylor’s head this season to perform after the promises and bigging up our transfer budget.
 

Red Bill

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Dec 9, 2011
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I'm sure there isn't one of us who hasn't experienced frustration at our best young players, homegrown or otherwise, being sold on. However I often note in the posts of some people what appears to be the impression that we alone do this, this is simply untrue and in fact a reality at pretty much all clubs and always has been. Even at the very top level once Real Madrid comes sniffing, it usually time to say goodbye to your best players! My dad's claim to fame was that when he was at school, one of the older senior boys went on to play for City and later signed for Arsenal. That boy was of course Cliff Bastin. I was only about 8 or 9 when he told me this and didn't understand why this would happen. My dad told me that this was simply the reality of football in the lower leagues and that clubs like urs had to sell their best players to survive. This was long before the mega money came into football, but the reality was still the same as today and from my dad's story, it was obvious it had been that way since at least the 1920s.

We are not alone in this catch 22 and I would strongly dispute that our ownership model is a major factor. Yes there are clubs willing to jeopardise their clubs future by spending money they haven't got to buy players they can't afford, but in general when a big club comes sniffing, waving their cheque books around, they sell. Sadly the money received is rarely enough to replace that player with one of equal quality, and on field the club takes a backward step as a result. This may not be fair but without a major reshaping of football financing, seems likely to remain unchanged.

As DB9 rightly points out, off the field, our club is unrecognisable from 20 years ago, but it must be recognised that this is a direct result of the success of our academy and the income it has generated from player sales. The changes that have and still are being made are in my opinion an essential component of building for the future and the continuing success of our ownership model and its vital I believe that we continue to implement these off field improvements while we have the money. But even if we stopped investing in off field projects and put more money into the playing budget in a bid to keep hold of our best young talent, we would i believe still face the same issues. With football being unique in the business world, in that it seems perfectly acceptable year on year to spend way more than you generate, there will always be a club that will come in with an offer that can't be refused.

I think there is also a bit of 'double speak' from some fans. In the past I have questioned why we have allowed players to walk away half way through a contract, in a deal that will never cover our replacement costs. Almost without fail I've had a barrage of posters saying "we must never stand in a young players way", giving the reason that if we do, "no one will ever sign for us again". On the flip side other posters (sometimes the same ones!) ask why we always sell our bet talent? We can't have it both ways!

At present I believe the off field investment we are making is the best plan to ensure we can keep generating income from this stream, and ultimately, although it sickens me to say it, its all about money. As Ive already said, until there is a complete overhaul of football financing, I don't believe any change is likely or even possible and us and all other clubs will face the same conundrum over selling our young talent. I thought the salary cap was brilliant measure that really could have made the difference and enabled us to take full advantage of our brilliant academy on the field rather than in the bank and I assumed it would receive universal support from fans particularly in the lower leagues. But even that didn't get the support I expected on these boards, with plenty of posters saying they thought it was wrong. In the end as we know, it was overturned anyway, and as a result the gravy train continues down the track unhindered.

In short I'm as frustrated as anyone about losing our best players and would love to tell all the big clubs to 'do one' when they came round waving their cheque books, but in reality unless we're prepared to get behind a major radical overhaul of football financing, nothing will ever change for us or anyone else. City is no different in its attitude or behaviour to anyone else in this respect, nor is it immune from the consequences of going against the grain if it tried!
 

C j phill

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I have no idea whether this is the case, but I wonder what sort of long term planning takes place with regard to Academy "graduates". From memory, i think that when Christy Pym decided to leave, one of the reasons he gave was that he didnt feel he was properly rewarded by the Club in preceding seasons (I accept that I might have got this wrong).

Perhaps we need to consider providing our home grown young players with better contract terms and built in sell-on clauses, so that they have good incentives to stay for a few seasons and everyone knows, within the Club and to external suitors, what it will cost to instigate a transfer.
 

Pete Martin (CTID)

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"Our Academy has produced millions in talented youngsters who the club have benefitted in but we still are where we are on the pitch, Which is L2, Off the field we are unrecognisible to what we were, A really good looking stadium, A training ground that has plans to vastly improve things there, A Social Media platform that is so good and during lockdown has been a real lifeline between the club and fans, we need now to concentrate of the playing side but how do we do this. The improvements off the field have really taken the whole time the Trust has been in charge, nearly 20 years".

An interesting assessment, which is both measured and rational. A few comments if I may?

You are correct in saying that off pitch improvements have been notable, but then you go on to suggest that there has been no concentration on the playing side. I beg to differ.

When the Trust took over, in September 2003, pretty well everything at the club was a shambles in the wake of the Rusell & Lewis tenure. We were in the Conference (National League a now is) and it took five years and x3 managerial appointments to get us out of it. Eventually, we did get out and, within just one season, had progressed to League One, at one point being on the verge of the L1 playoffs. We stayed there for 3 years. Because of our elevation we began to attract more attention and could not hang on to many of the players that had got us out of the Conference (including our current manager).

Now, the argument is that we are having to part with players, from our academy in particular, that could get us promoted. As has been said by others, not as quickly nor as readily as was once the case. Promotion, as was shown, brings it's own challenges, not least of all head hunting by clubs even higher up the pyramid with a stash of cash. We will lose players regardless. Then they have to be replaced and their replacements will cost.

You also seem to suggest that improvements on the non-playing side should now be scaled back to shift more resources to the playing side to retain academy graduates and recruit better generally. Fair comment. However, I don't know how long ago you were last at the training ground but, yes, the improvements have been significant, but, the buildings still date from 1974 and are crumbling, costing significant sums to be maintained. Then there are the portakabins. Yes, the synthetic pitch looks great, the training pitches better than ever, but imagine a prospective player arriving at the Cliff Hill and seeing and entering the sub standard buildings that are barely fit for purpose. Yes, to a degree it's aesthetics but, unfortunately, it will put some players that have no knowledge of our history, off. The club/Trust is trying to rectify that and not everything can be done at once.

Yes nearly 10 years and we're still in L2 but many elements of the club are so much better, including the level of professionalism. I started watching City 55 years ago and, frankly, we went nowhere on, or off, the pitch for darned nigh 37 of those years.

Yes, it's frustrating, bloody frustrating, but hang on in there. The best is yet to come! 👌😉🙂
 
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Pete…good comment. However do you not think it’s a catchy monkey situation? Look at Bradford for e.g…great facilities, great stadium big fan base. They are stuck in League 2 because they can’t generate enough of a budget to get the players to get them out of League 2. How about Wimbledon they like us are a fan owned club who have rised through the leagues without having the excellent academy like we have….or sold millions of pounds worth of young talent. It is frustrating, as a fan you do question things!
 

Rosencrantz

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I think we are moving towards a place we want to get to but as ever it is a gradual build which some supporters are losing patience with. Objectively, we are in a different position to where we were the last time we got into L1. Our infrastructure is better, our academy is producing higher quality and quantity, our finances are more stable. We have a much more solid base to grow on the pitch than we did back then. Although we did sell some gems on that journey to eighth (George, Deano, Scrat, Scott Golbourne), the actual spine of that team walked away on free's (Jonah, Matt, Ryan, Gilly). Logically a club selling a player for £x amount are rarely going to replace that player with someone as good as the player sold/moving on are playing at a level in excess of what we are able to pay. That will almost always be the case.

What you have to do is invest that money back into the side. We have already shown we are actually doing that with the signing of Sam Nombe and Josh Coley. Money paid for young players with the potential to improve our side, hopefully gain success, and then have a re-sell value. It is the seeds of what Peterborough and Brentford do but obviously currently on a lower level. All the time we still produce our own. If you look at Brentford and Peterborough, they have generally sold a player for big money every season to get to where they are now because they have been successful and bigger fish with bigger wallets want their players.

The difference of course is that they have had the short cut of investment from private owners to kick start them. We have had to do it more organically but with the income from Ollie and others, the investment in infrastructure is starting to see the end position on the horizon with the training ground plans. There will always be infrastructure costs to deal with but the money and attractiveness of the club can start being pointed towards on field building but with balance.

In developing our own players and starting to invest in other young players, the sharks will always be circling. They do for just about every club. The difference now is that we don't have to jump at every offer we receive the way we have had to in the past. That does not mean it is a case of turning down every bid. There has to be a balance with "not standing in the way" but also the sell is on our terms with regard to the size of the actual deal and the timing. We have actually earnt the right to be in this position. This is not a lack of ambition on the clubs side. It is the reality of the situation.

Project 6000 is the plan to sustain being in this position where transfers do happen more on our own terms. If we can have a sustainable income that will be competitive in L1, we will not be reliant on transfer income but no doubt we will still be selling players, because that will always be the case for every club. The difference is in the amount we will then have to reinvest and grow. I think the way Project 6000 is being looked at is in a "chicken or the egg" way. We can't achieve Project 6000 without first getting into L1 and that means taking risks now and really going for it. Really both go hand in hand.

Our model has got us to the position of not having to jump whenever another club comes in. But if the offer is too good to turn down, then a decision has to be made and we have to plan to move forward. We are in a better place with budget than before relatively for us. But there are still other clubs interested in the same players we will be and sometimes with more money or reputation or better location (whatever reason the player has for going elsewhere, we can't put a gun to their heads and make them sign unfortunately).

I know a lot of supporters took what Matt said about our budget and intentions and ran with it in regards to expectations. But it is one thing having more money, another when it comes to spending it well. We are newcomers to the market we are now shopping in. It will probably take a little time for those players (and their agents) to trust we belong in this market. It will probably take a leap of either faith or desperation from a couple of them. Then we can see where it leads, but there will always be stiff competition.

We can all get frustrated and want things to happen quicker as fans. But sometimes we need to step back and reassess the situation we are in and what we are up against. We are still in a position where the future looks bright. We just need the resolve to see it through with the club.
 
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