Honest questions about buying talent/titles

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by Auriaprottu, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    https://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=149608&page=4&pp=15

    The exchange in this thread reminded me of a similar thread I saw a few years ago dealing with the same topic. The questions I meant to ask when I saw the thread way back when but never got around to are:

    1) How, aside from spending money to acquire better talent (either on or off the pitch, whichever seems necessary) does a team that rarely or never has a chance to win a title go about putting itself in a position to win? It's bad enough to go season after season winning nothing- there's no reason for a club to exist if they won't or can't even attempt to make themselves competitive.

    2) Why is okay for some clubs (usually the "big" clubs) to use their resources to acquire/develop and retain title-worthy personnel, but not okay for the smaller clubs to do the same thing? There are some posts in the thread accusing teams like Chelsea that have recently come into a lot of money and are now using that money to make themselves competitive of "trying to buy a title". But, AFAICS, that's exactly what the clubs who have been successful do. It just looks different because they've had the money for a longer period of time. Having talent is a requirement for success. The "big" clubs may not look as obvious doing it (as though that's a bad thing), but they do it. Again, if a team could look into a crystal ball and see nothing but midtable finishes and CL first/second round exits for the remainder of its existence, there would be no point in their continuing to play the Game. Obviously it's still a business for the owners/shareholders, but a disgrace to the fans.

    This post may seem sarcastic, but it isn't. What I'm reading in that thread suggests that some fans believe in a pecking order of sorts, and demean teams that try to reshuffle that order in the most logical manner- by buying talent to win matches. I'm trying to make sense of a school of thought that ridicules a team for doing what every team should be doing- trying to win, and spending whatever they can afford to spend in pursuit of the only thing that matters- success on the pitch.

    I hope someone can answer these questions for me. I didn't post in the linked thread because it's in WR, and I wasn't sure I'd get a serious response.
     
  2. triplex

    triplex New Member

    May 19, 2004
    Most people demeaning the 'title-buying' attitude of the big spenders support smaller clubs that can't hold on to their favourite players because of the big spenders. They are clearly frustrated about that. How do you think Porto supporters feel right now? Remember the fantastic Ajax in '95/'96? Once the big clubs finally noticed that there was some talent in Amsterdam, the poachers closed in: the Ajax supporters lost all their players, were cut off from their glorious afternoons and evenings of football. That sucks. Even moreso, as the major buyer at that time -Barcelona- never did much with the talent.
    Imagine the entirely realistic situation, where a very popular player moves to a different club. Having arrived there, he is considered not quite up to the task and is benched most of the season. Result: a net loss of amusement for the football supporter is general, and the players' former club in particular. Conclusion: the club that bought contributes to overall less amusing football, especially for the former club. Verdict: big spenders suck.
    There is a particurly nasty brand of player poaching: where players are snapped up for competitors with the aim of weakening them. That is just immoral, I think.
    To finish this off, the lamenting of the supporters of the less financially powerful clubs is always a bit hypocritical, because they poach players themselves from even less rich clubs, or even amateur clubs (whose supporters are thus also robbed of their favourites).
    I think that those clubs that are actually producing talents -by virtue of football schools and the like- are the clubs deserving most respect.
     
  3. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    My point in that initial thread still stands. Of course teams should always be looking to improve and challenge. However, this should not just involve throwing a large amount of money around for a quick solution. Look at what Bolton and Everton have done. That is what the "smaller" teams should be looking to do. What annoys people is when clubs who have no chance put vast amounts of money (which they often cannot afford, just for a bit of glory). Blackburn did it and the gamble paid off once. Now Chelsea are trying to do it, but they have taken things to the extreme.
     
  4. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    The traditional big clubs always have money and will always buy good players from smaller clubs. What most people bitch about is when a smaller club comes into a bit of money and throw it around to achaive 'artificial' success.

    Having said that, it's so much harder to build a team than it was 10 years ago due to the Bosman ruling.
     
  5. John Boy

    John Boy New Member

    Jun 16, 2002
    Staffordshire
    I think the main reason people have a go at Chelsea (now) and Blackburn (95) is the source of the money they spend. No one really moans about Man. United, Liverpool, Arsenal buying players for big money because most of that money is usually generated by the club itself (mechandise, tickets etc). When a club is funded by a 'sugar daddy' it seems to be when other people become resentful. Some of it's jealousy, created by the fact that many benefactors (such as Abramovic) could have easily chosen their club if he'd wanted to, but didn't. Fans become resentful that while their club are maybe working towards their goals by slowly improving team and commercial operations, another isn't required to do this
     
  6. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Triplex, I read and understand your post completely. Thanks.

    But if a quick solution is available, what is the rationale for a club not pursuing it, so long as it won't backfire at some point in the future? The goal of a small club is to become a big club (I'd think, anyway). If the opportunity to do so within two years is there, are you saying that they should deliberately take five or six more years? I'm not trying to be confrontational; this just makes no sense to me at all.

    Understandable. If a club cannot afford to improve itself, then that's another issue altogether. What I'm curious about is the bad press given to clubs that can afford to do so.

    But Chelsea can afford to do it now. Why should they wait?

    But that's exactly my question. Why is the success "artificial"? What would it take for that success to be considered "genuine" in your opinion? Wins on the pitch are wins on the pitch; the success is genuine, regardless of whether it is achieved with players who were brought up from the club's reserves/junior ranks or with seasoned, skilled players who were paid to come play for the club because the club's existing talent wasn't up to the task.

    Imagine yourself as the owner of a small club. You've just won the lottery, and now you're a multi-billionaire. What is wrong with your going out and trying to make your club a contender as quickly as you possibly can? What would make you wait five or six or ten years to do what you might be able to accomplish in two or three? Now imagine yourself as a fan of that same club. You've been going to matches for years, maybe decades, and you have nothing to show for your faithful support. Nothing. Your club has been mired at EPL midtable for the last 20 years. Nada. You've never won a title, never won a cup, never played in a CL match- just a sad story of perennial failure. Now your club's owner has won the lottery, and he wants supporter's opinions on whether he should make an attempt to better the club immediately at no risk to you, him, or the club, or take his time and make you suffer through another half-decade of mediocrity. What do you tell him?

    But at some point, ManU, Arsenal, Liverpool, etc. were small clubs... right? (I'm asking). Regardless, it seems to me that a small club should strive to become a big club by any legal, low-risk means available. Abramovich has chosen Chelsea, and it's his own money he's spending. I don't understand (other than the jealousy/resentment point you made, which does make sense) why he or any other owner with his finances should observe some unwritten "waiting period" before trying to raise his club to the level he thinks it should occupy.
     
  7. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

    Mar 18, 1999
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    I did not bother to read the entire thread, but we are living in a capitalist world. I saw nothing wrong with clubs spending money to buy everything. It is not a crime for a club happens to be located in a big market and be able to manage their money wisely. Chelsea got lucky with a new owner. Why now? He is making an investment. Is that a crime?
     
  8. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    No, of course this is not a crime. Maybe I am not entirely rational about this. I guess what annoys me is when a club buys a player who has been playing well for another club, just because they can afford to, and don't use the player to the full extent, wasting his talent. Most big clubs are guilty of this, of course. Taking an example from my home country Germany, Bayern bought Hashemian who did very well for Bochum last year, and now they are ruining his career by leaving him on the bench. Moving on to Spain, Real Madrid have bought loads of great players, but somehow they never live up to their potential. My impression is that somebody like Owen or Beckham, or Figo or even Raul would do far better in another setup. I can't prove this of course, and Owen might be proving me wrong just now (but let's wait till the end of the season). Regarding Real, it's just so disgustingly easy, you read the newspapers, see which player gets mentioned most times, and buy him. Sorry, but this annoys me, it's simply not very inspired. And I feel that Chelsea are heading in the same direction, though luckily Ambramovich doesn't know much about football so sometimes the players which are chosen seem a bit of a weird choice (phew!). Of course, it's capitalism, but does this mean it's right? I don't believe that a a fully survival-of-the-fittest society is the ideal solution, and I think this is also true for football.
     
  9. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

    Mar 18, 1999
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    I understand how you felt about the situation, but we are living in a capitalist world. Soccer is a business. Money buys the best talents. I admitted that it is tragic in certain ways, but this is part of life. If Chelsea does not do it that way, somebody else would.... in fact, some club presidents are critized for not doing enough for their clubs when they have the money to do so.
     
  10. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    It is artificial because it is unsustainable. When the sugar daddy leaves, the club is lumbered with a high wage budget, a place in the top league (possibly) to protect but with no remaining sources of income.

    This has been a big talking point in Scotland recently. If you're being propped up by a rich man, what happens when that prop dissapears?
     
  11. canzano55

    canzano55 Member+

    Jun 23, 2003
    Toronto
    Club:
    AC Milan
    The only way of slowing down the capatalist movement would be to find some common ground with all of the European clubs and franchise the game therefore effectively implementing spending caps. But as we all know, this ofcourse is impossible. Football is a free enterprise sport and will remain that way with little or no alterations to the surroundings in whichs these monster clubs occupy; for ex. foreign player restrictions, transfer blockades etc.
     
  12. Walter3000

    Walter3000 Member+

    Apr 8, 2004
    gainesville, Florida
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i think people dont realize the difference between chelsea and say a blackburn or leeds. chelsea is trying to win now, as well as build for the future. debt free, new youth academy, training grounds, trust setup, etc.
     
  13. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    Another point is the overall affect that a club trying to buy success will have on football and their league. The Old Firm have ruined the SPL through their drive to buy success. With Chelsea, they have wrecked the transfer market, just when it was started to settle down and re-adjust to a suitable level. It's another reason why other clubs and fans aren't happy about the way clubs do things, particularly if it's Roman.
     
  14. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Artificial=unsustainable makes sense. Okay.

    But the "sugar daddy" should be using the success to expand the impact of his club worldwide. When the club starts winning matches and titles, then the jersey sales should go up as well, if the club is doing its work in the marketing arena. At some point, the club should be able to continue on its path by selling merchandise and tickets.

    If the club does its job and prepares itself for its future without him by marketing their success, then they should be fine. That's just a guess; it won't happen that way every time, perhaps not even most of the time.

    This whole thread really boils down to small clubs having no chance of winning anything. How do they (and more importantly, their fans) cope with that? What's the point, if there's no way you'll ever amount to anything?

    I don't like to compare American sports to football, but I think this one time won't hurt. The NFL (American football) has a salary cap; what this does is help to maintain some level of parity within the league. Helping small-market teams stay competitive is good for any league in any sport, as no one would support a team that has no chance.
     
  15. catracha

    catracha New Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    puerto cortes
    There cant be a team that wins just cuz of 1 good player there has to be atleast 3 or 4. midfielders and forwards. soccer is about playing together, 1 person cant do everything.some teams are obssessed with having good players, and some players dont care wether they play good anymore like beckham, he,s rich.
     
  16. Gordon EF

    Gordon EF Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Edinburgh
    Cheers.:)
    We are talking about 'small' clubs here. I take it you're from Brasil, so I doubt I can think of a good example of what I'm talking about here.


    Of course, but how often does that happen? If a new chairman comes in from nowhere and pumps money into the club, he wants immediate results. More often than not, he won't be a fan of the club and may not secure the clubs future after he leaves.

    It really dosen't. People who support small teams are different to people who support 'big' teams. I know I will never see my team win a major trophy but I'm OK with that. Success is relative. East Fife have had more success than Chelsea, relatively speaking, in the past couple of years.

    If I became a millionaire, and bought my club, I would not just throw money arounbd, filling the team with players from higher leagues who are attracted by the money. I would use the money to give the club a good foundation and hopefully they could become successful under their own steam. I suppose I just see that as the 'right' way to do it.
    Possibly a good idea but I doubt it could happen in the European leagues. I would like to see it though. PLayers have lost loyalty to clubs, but who can really blame them when someone comes along and offers to triple or quadruple your wages?
     
  17. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    I also think salary caps are a great idea. Not a big chance of it happening of course.

    I guess most of us have imagined what it would be like to have an infinite amount of money so that we could buy a club, maybe our local club, and do whatever we wanted with it. I don't think buying Ronaldo, Zidane and Figo really works, though. Sure, it will increase the chances of a team that hasn't had these players before, but in almost all cases you'll end up with a team where the team performance is worse than the sum of the talents of players. What I like to see in football is teams that overperform, where the team plays better than it should when you look at the players. On a footnote, this is what makes watching teams like England, Spain and Holland (which underperform, given their available talent) so frustrating sometimes. Don't know if anybody here follows German football, but in Germyn, Bayern are the notorious underperformers (ok my definition might be a bit idiosyncratic...). They buy lots of good players (Deisler, Ballack, Klinsmann, Ze Roberto........ ) and don't use them to their full extent. Bloody frustrating! Much better to watch a team like Werder Bremen which is far cheaper but plays better football, at least at the moment.
     
  18. Walter3000

    Walter3000 Member+

    Apr 8, 2004
    gainesville, Florida
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    salary caps are for communists. capitalism and survival of the fittest is for me. and yes that was an exaggeration dont freak out on me. i just dont like plastic parity.
     
  19. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Thanks. I didn't want to sound like I'm challenging everyone who posts in my thread, I'm looking for answers. Your post has provided some.

    No, I'm an American citizen, born and raised here. I've followed Brasil for more than 20 years, and began following the USA in 1990. My profile change (it was USA & Brasil) is related to the recent election. Call me crazy if you want, but I'm quite disturbed at the direction my country is headed. Right now my dismay is carrying over to football. That won't win me any friends, but that's how it is. When I'm absolutely certain that this administration won't be able to send segregation legislation back for each individual state to decide, I'll feel better. But this is for another thread.

    Agreed.

    This is informative. I've always wondered how small clubs maintain a fanbase in Europe, where most of the nations are so small that one could easily get to a big-club match almost anywhere within a given country by driving a few hours. I guess the Game is so ingrained there that there's always a team nearby. There's an A-league team in Atlanta (I live 75 miles from ATL), but no MLS team.

    Got it. But wouldn't you buy some (not necessarily lots, and not necessarily mega-expensive but better) players if you felt that it was necessary for the club to win? If I were a billionaire club owner, I'd spend whatever was necessary to both provide a foundation and assure my club's promotion, if they weren't already in the top division. Not terribly different from your idea, but the goal would be to make them (ultimately) one of the world's biggest and best. As for filling the team with players who "are attracted by the money", you'd really have no choice, if you wanted the club to win more often. No insult to East Fife, but I don't know any players who'd choose a small club over a big club for the same price and playing time. The money would be your only lure, at least until the wins began coming and the base of a tradition was built. I'd like to think that's what Roman is trying to do (even though Chelsea's already something of a big club)- get the players for the wins, and then use that success to increase ticket and merchandise sales. He's buying more expensive players from the outset than you would, but the idea is the same- once Chelsea has more EPL and CL success under its belt, the club's popularity will increase and it will begin to sell itself.

    It's a business; the players we watch are making a living at the Game. Our loyalties are with a club, because we're only fans of the Game. They may love a certain club from their childhood, but as professionals, their interests are their accounts and their families. I don't fault them one bit for that. If an employer came along offering me comparable job responsibilities and working conditions at a salary that dwarfs my current one, I'd be foolish not to take it.
     
  20. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

    May 2, 2001
    Berkshire
    Club:
    Reading FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    it is all but impossible for a small club to become a big club. They can become bigger, but only up to a certain point. Even if Blackburn had won ever title and champions league in the last 10 years, they wouldn't be as big as Arsenal or Man Utd etc, because there just isn't the market in a town the size of Blackburn to support it. Having success alone will never make a club a big club. Even when Liverpool were the best team in the country for about 15 years, and Man Utd had gone 25 years without a title, Man Utd were still the better supported club. It works the other way too, as big clubs that drop will retain their support. Sheffield Wednesday are a poor League 1 club now, and still pulling over 20,000. The fact that Sheffield is a rather bigger urban area than Colchester guarantees they'll get more more support


    part of this is pure jealously, down to a club having an unnatural advantage. An unearned advantage if you like. There is also the general point that clubs that live beyond their means kind of force the rest to stretch themselves that bit further too because if they don't they'll struggle through having a weaker squad. What you don't have here, that I think may happen in a few american sports franchises, are teams that are underinvested, and could afford to spend a lot more money but chose not to.

    Again, it boils down to success being 'earned'. There's just a kind of natural order to success being driven by a club being well-run and doing something positive to achieving that success rather than just buying players they can't afford. I think "shallow" would be a better world than "artificial", turning clubs into the sporting equivalent of a model with false breasts.

    I think just buying players comes across as tacky. It's also a very short term way to run a club. It can be done in a way that doesn't cause resentment, and doesn't make the whole thing such a pack of cards waiting to collapse. In the non-league game, Hornchurch, at level 6 of the pyramid on gates of about 700, had a full time team financed by a rich backer. He just ploughed money into players wages (up to £2300 a week for some players) and didn't do anything else for the club. His business folded and the club might well do the same. At best it'll leave the club no better of than before he came in. Compare that to the approach of Max griggs, owner of the Doc Marten boots company. He merged (shock horror!) to small part-time teams and slowly built them a stadium as they rose through the division. As he did it slow he was able to build a fan base too. And now that he's pulled out, because of that, the club isn't set for financial ruin.

    the fans will be split. Some will so go for the glory, some will say build the club. If you go the glory route there's the problems that a) the players might be crap and b) crap or not, you'll be losing money hand over fist. Build a bigger stadium instead and you'll get more support (you always do) and the growth will be more sustainable.

    technically, yes, but you are going back 100 years or so. The big clubs would have to be horrendously bad over an extended period of time to lose their support. It isn't remotely like sports in the US, where you have 30 cities with urban areas of several million people. Manchester is just a massive city compared to Southampton, and there's just now way in the world Southampton would be able to pull in 60000 a week, regardless of how much success they had. Even if they aren't necessarily getting the best results, there are no sleeping giants who could come along and join the ranks of Man Utd in spending power or support.

    There is also the question of tradition. In London there is no cold logical reason why Leyton Orient couldn't attract as good support as their neighbours Spurs, Arsenal & West Ham. Yet to do so they'd have to poach fans from those clubs. They'd have to somehow have to force fans who've grown up supporting another team to support them instead. That is very hard to do. It's said that something like 95% of all fans support the first team they were taken to see as a boy, which would almost certainly be his dad's team. So you get generations of supporters supporting the same team. It's pretty much in the blood. The only chance they have is to attract the currently uncommitted, and there's a lot less of them about.

    Even in towns where there isn't a big club on their doorstep, it's still difficult, although per head of population smaller clubs are far better supported than their big city rivals.

    It's magnified in somewhere like Scotland or Holland. The only time the Scottish league was really competitive was in the 1980s when the big two were in the doldrums. But there's no way a town like Motherwell, population 30,000 can be expected to compete with a city of 600,000 like Glasgow, unless they can get every single person in the town to watch them, and pay twice. Why the Edinburgh clubs support are so comparitively poorly supported is less clear though. Even with the old firm sucking support away, they should both be capable of getting 20,000 each
     
  21. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard of Yo! Semite
    THAT is rubbish. The transfer market is only affected in those instances where Chelsea bids for the player. Tiago was bought for more than Deco. Think about that. The moment Chelsea leaves the negotiating table, the price immediately drops for all other teams.
    This claim is simply not true. Footballers are not a fungible commodity where one person buying things for more money will increase the price of that commodity.
    If I started paying more for the salad bar at my office cafeteria, why would it raise the prices for anyone else?
     
  22. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard of Yo! Semite
    A. No basis to suggest that Abramovich doesn't know much about football. For all the talk of "crass" success and "shallow" success, the man's a fan, and goes to almost every single Chelsea game. He's not on a beach somewhere writing checks.
    B. Which of our players have been "odd" choices? Veron, Crespo and Mutu? Clearly Ranieri's picks, seeing as how he buys Italian players everywhere he goes. Also, they're only odd in retrospect. Veron didn't play badly for us until his injury (and is remembered for his less than fit performance in Monaco), Crespo didn't have a bad season, and Mutu's purchase made sense; its not Roman's fault Mutu's such an avid skier.
    C. Which other players were "odd" choices?
     
  23. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard of Yo! Semite
    Its easy to say now. But when you can buy Carvalho to fill that hole in your CB slot, it'll look considerably different. But what would you do, then, to build this "solid foundation"?
    Buy younger players? Cech, Robben, Tiago, Morais, Cole, Johnson, Bridge et al. certainly fit that tag. Chelsea's most high profile purchase has been Drogba, who's hardly the second coming of Fabrizio Ravanelli or Alen Boksic.
    Develop the ground? We're doing that/looking into it.
    Get the club out of debt? Check.
    Develop marketing strategies? We've toured the US, have a contract with Wililam Morris, and got Kenyon precisely because the man knows marketing. (Not transfers, apparently.)
    Build from youth? Roman's spending over 30M on a top of the line youth facility in London.

    So really, if you were a billionaire, please let me know what you'd do differently.

    Football is a job. I don't have any loyalty to my employer beyond the fact that I like them and they pay me. The moment someone offers me a job at twice my salary in New York or London (or another acceptable city, given my language limitations, such as Madrid, Los Angeles, DC or San Francisco or worst case scenario Moscow) I'm gone. Why should it be any different in football? Its a job for the players.
    Why should the guy serving you fries at McDonalds stay if Wendy's is offering to double his salary
     
  24. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    Fair enough, if I would put so much money into a team I would probably watch them play as well. In any case, I have to admit that I'm not really in a position to argue with you, don't know more than what you get from watching Match of the Day on BBC, whereas you catch all the action live in Stamford Bridge. What do you think about this article?

    http://www.itv-football.co.uk/Features/story_111679.shtml

    I quite liked Ranieri, and had the impression Roman threw him out mostly cos he wasn't a guy with a big name and/or ego. But then again he did make quite a few mistakes, especially at the end, and especially in CL games. Sorry if I offended you, I didn't really mean to. Just not my cup of tea, this 'let's buy Robben before Man United or someone else do' thing.
     
  25. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard of Yo! Semite
    :) Not quite live, from NYC.
    I do watch nearly all the games, however.
    As for the article - its crap, mostly. Ranieri bought Crespo and Mutu, not Roman. And Geremi was a long term target for him as well. Also, "Smertin, who will never see a Chelsea jersey". Um, yeah, about that.........
    Point being, I don't think anyone believes anymore that we bought Robben to keep him away from United.

    No. Roman fired him because Ranieri made mistakes. The subsitutions in Monaco practically sealed his fate.

    I'm not offended in the slightest. Nothing wrong with some spirited discussion.
     

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