Owning a football club is a very fine balance between stepping back and allowing everyone to do their job, and stepping in to make the big decisions when they need to be made.
When Eric Watson took over the New Zealand Warriors he bought a mess of a club.
You think you’re a big fan? Imagine buying what was left of the mess that was the Auckland Warriors collapse knowing full well that the price you paid for them would be insignificant compared to the amount of money you’d have to spend over the years just to keep them semi competitive!
Over the term of his ownership Eric Watson has seen his team have its ups and downs. He has employed people to do a job for him that have done well, and others who have failed him so miserably that it’s a miracle the bloke is still around!
When Watson sold a share of the club to Owen Glenn many saw that as even more money the Warriors could call upon if needed. The double edge sword was however revealed this week as Owen blew up over the “treatment” losing coach Matthew Elliott faced after guiding his club to a humiliating defeat at the hands of the winless Cronulla Sharks on the weekend.
When I was watching that game I actually thought “If I owned this club, I’d make the call tonight. I wouldn’t let the club I own go through this any longer. A change has to be made”. I said as much on my Twitter feed before the game was even over.
A good owner can not sit back and just allow the club they have invested in to be run into the ground before they make a change.
When the change was decided upon, it wasn’t Eric Watson that come out and made the announcement. He left it all to the people he put in charge of running the club on a day to day business. That is the way it is meant to be done.
For Owen Glenn to come out and turn this into a very public spat between owners is not the way an owner of a football club should be behaving.
Now, instead of making a clear, concise decision on the coach, the Warriors look like a complete rabble. Owen Glenn’s comments might be fair enough, but by making them he has destabilized the club, and that isn’t what a good owner should be doing.
This is the concern you have to have when a club have more than one owner.
A good owner needs to rule over everything. They need to have a clear vision for their club. When you have a good owner, its great.
Look at the South Sydney Rabbitohs. They have more than own owner, but it is very clear that the driving force among their owners is Russell Crowe. He has a clear understanding of how to be a good owner. He does what he can to help the club. He keeps out of the day to day running of the club. He tips in money when needed…and when a big decision needs to be made, he makes it and leaves it up to the club to make the announcement.
If that is something Owen Glenn doesn’t want to do, if he wants to have a more hands on approach, that is fine. Buy the club outright, or give up your shares in the club. The latter of which looks like happening.
There is now public pressure on Watson when there really shouldn’t be. The bloke is the reason the New Zealand Warriors are even around. Warriors fans need to think about how bad the club is going right now, and remember how bad the club use to go. This….this is nothing. The club is in a strong position even during a tough time like this because of one constant….Eric Watson.
Club owners can’t be held responsible for every decision, but you can hold them responsible for the big ones.
Sacking Matthew Elliott and ending his 12 year losing career was the right thing to do. It happened before the Warriors got to the point where they needed years of rebuilding.
I’m sure you will find plenty of Canberra Raiders and Panther Panther supporters that wished their clubs had an Eric Watson just one year into Matthew Elliott reign of those two club.