Go into just about any pub in the world and, sooner or later, the topic of conversation will likely lead to football (sorry ladies but I guess its just a guy thing that you have to put up with). As the beer starts to flow the talk will likely become more and more impassioned. Us men are all experts on the worlds’ most popular game and we all think we know more about the game than anyone else.
We also have our own very strong views on teams and players. We pick a club when we are young and support them forever more, come what may, win or lose (it goes without saying that doesn’t apply to fans of Chelsea and Manchester City as we all know they are simply glory hunters who change allegiances every time a new sugar daddy comes along).
This devotion to our club can cause much tension though, beyond the banter, we can still respect each other as professionals, even if the likes of Dan Raywood and Raj Samani are highly deluded in their support of Spuds.
For my own sins I support a club that could be likened to marmite because you either love them or hate them.
Thats right, I’m a Liverpool FC fan.
And right now we have a bit of a situation going on that I’m sure most of you are well aware of surrounding one Luis Suarez.
This transfer saga has been going on for so long that I am, quit frankly, extremely bored with it all now and wish he would just do one. But, for the owners of the club, it isn’t anywhere near as simple as that. Luis Suarez is an entry on their balance sheet. He is an
ass asset. And, as such, he represents a certain value to the club. This asset needs to be protected so that it can realise its full value when it is liquidated.
So can the owners of Liverpool football club teach your business anything about securing its own assets?
When you run a business any resource you have that offers value can be considered to be an asset. With football, more than other business models, that value can often be hard to determine. Ultimately, a player’s value will be determined by both what the selling club are looking to receive but, also, by what a potential buyer will be willing to pay.
In the case of Luis Suarez it would appear that Liverpool value the player at around £55 million. His suitors currently have different valuations in mind. Real Madrid reportedly think £25 million may be sufficient. Arsenal, however, think £40 million plus a packet of cheese and onion crisps should do the trick.
How did Arsenal come up with this figure? Apparently it is because some joker put a clause into Suarez’ contract that allows him to be notified of any bids in excess of £40m (do you value your corporate data highly enough?). That figure also means he can commence talks with any club matching that figure, even though it is below Liverpool’s asking price.
But how do Arsenal know about that clause? Offering £40 million plus a pound is a very specific bid amount isn’t it? Surely the terms of the contract that Suarez has with Liverpool are confidential? Knowing about this clause puts the potential buyer into a much stronger position than they may otherwise have been in as simply getting to talk to the player could lead to him becoming even more unsettled than he already is.
So can this leak of business critical information teach you anything about protecting critical business intelligence?
Earlier in the summer it was widely reported that Suarez had been talking to journalists back home about how he was being hounded out of the English game by the attitude of the press towards him. If that is true then it signaled his availability to other clubs and, ultimately, reduced his potential value. If it is known that a player is looking to change clubs then, once again, it can have a detrimental effect upon the price that the selling club can ultimately ask for his services.
Could Liverpool Football Club have done more to manage the situation after these alleged conversations took place? The way a company handles a data leak is paramount in determining its long-term effects upon the business.
The way you secure and protect your business assets can have a profound effect upon their value. Kenny Dalglish went well beyond what some believed he should have done when supporting Suarez after the Evra affair and doing so may well have cost him his job.
Since then Suarez has, in my opinion, gone out of his way to lower his own personal value even more through his actions both on and off the pitch. But he is still the property of Liverpool Football Club and the owners still expect to get the maximum amount they can for him upon his sale.
Is he still worth more than the £40,000,001 that Arsenal have offered? Owner John W Henry certainly thinks so.
What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?
— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
But how can Liverpool ensure that they receive the maximum transfer fee possible after what has gone before?
Current manager Brendan Rodgers has got it right here as far as I am concerned. He is carrying on as though Suarez is staying (though we all know he really isn’t). He is telling the press how Suarez is an integral part of the business plan and a valuable asset. A world class one in fact. He won’t sell Luis for a penny less than he is worth. Rodgers knows the value that Luis Suarez represents to the football club and won’t let him go for a penny less.
Do you value your business assets highly enough?
Do you ensure that competitors and other outside parties cannot get hold of business data that could lower the value of your assets?
And do you have a plan in place to deal with the fallout following an incident that could paint your organisation in a bad light and, ultimately, lower its value?
photo: Jimmy Baikovicius