Today I’m going to discuss what we as traders might do in two plausible scenarios:
– Euro 2020 is moved to either late 2020 or Summer 2021 to free up an extra month intended to allow completion of the current season in time to start the next season as normal.
– Euro 2020 is moved to either late 2020 or Summer 2021 BUT this season is completely voided or decided via a handful of play offs. Next season expected to start as normal.
There are other scenarios too which I’ll cover later. But these feel like the two most pressing/likely and we may hear more about them tomorrow as we see the outcome of a UEFA video conference with all the relevant decision makers.
A Quick Thought
Before I get onto the scenarios I’ll share a thought about media players.
As discussed yesterday, there was a social media consensus building around the obvious strategy of pushing into big media players, anticipating a long Summer of media ahead with just a handful of players dominating.
I was not keen. Fact is, everything, including the transfer window, now feels up in the air and we don’t know whether we will have football on this Summer or a long spell of media.
The market for these players is now dropping this morning and I think my caution is warranted. It may change, but I think we’ll need more clarity on the football calendar before we can start making serious decisions on this.
My additional thought is that FI also have a powerful incentive to make sure that a long period of media is not dominated by the same few players.
Media is very predictable. We saw in January how Fernandes swept the board. If we do get a long period of media ahead, and the same 3-4 predictable big hitters are cleaning up that is terrible for FI.
They’ll be paying out dividends by the bucket load which is expensive, and trading might be minimal as there is no reason to trade these holds if they have a long predictable media streak ahead. So they might not be bringing much in for FI in commission either.
Adam Cole is not a stupid man. I imagine he is aware of that. Right now, it’s convenient (and true) to be able to bang the drum that FI can carry on with media where as your average bookie is bigging up Algeria U19’s vs Kazahkstan. Having a few success stories and rising players in troubled times is helpful.
Longer term, were I Adam Cole, I’d be making sure any interventions I make in the market via new promotions broaden out the pool of winners to encourage trading that generates FI revenue and makes it more difficult for a handful of predictable players to dominate the dividend payouts.
I think if we are holding good players then panic selling them at these spreads is not a good idea, but I’d just be wary of chasing the big media strategy too hard. I think it’s too simplistic.
– Euro 2020 is moved to late 2020 or Summer 2021.
– Current season is completed over April to July
– Next season kicks off as normal in August
This feels to me like quite a likely plan. There is plenty of chatter about this and the majority of reported views from decision makers seem to be that they want to finish the season if at all possible.
The people wanting to end the season now seem to be limited to Chairmen who want to dodge relegation. There is just too much money involved, too much at stake and too many legal risks to not finish the season unless there is just no choice.
I’d not be surprised if this Scenario is the outcome we see this week. It may not be possible of course. Corona could well make playing in April > July impossible. But this feels like it could be a credible plan for now.
This would be a positive outcome for traders who hold good FI players.
We’d have a fixture calendar throughout April > July with probably only a few weeks between seasons and a Euro’s to look forward to in late 2020 or at least next Summer.
I would imagine this includes the CL and Europa, either in full format or at least in some form of cut down style, with single legs and maybe even a mini-tournament style with all matches played quickly in a single venue.
That makes buying strong performance players, currently on trend or not, very viable. And they wouldn’t differ much from the classic “full season fit” player that’s been part of Key Strategy either. (At least not yet, transfers/new tactics from teams/new managers/any performance scoring changes will change up who exactly those players are between seasons)
We may be holding a lot of those already. We could also get excited on veterans again if they are expected to continue next season where they left off (many of which are currently sitting at value prices).
This would also likely squeeze the transfer window, bad for media/transfer players particularly where they are primarily about hype/speculation.
The transfers that are interesting because of potential performance strength at their hoped for destination are on much safer ground. It will be another example of how sticking to quality always leaves you more options in a pinch than chasing garbage hype.
And premium media players will probably do fine provided they are generally expected to return dividends routinely throughout a season. Non-dividend returning premium players may struggle as they overshadowed are by those who do.
Euro 2020 players also retain their premium for a lot longer, and we may see more speculation about younger players who might have won an international place by then (most of which will be rubbish, but it will be there).
In this situation, I don’t think we’d need to see much intervention from FI in way of new bonuses or dividends.
So far, pretty appealing. But there’s a potential trap.
The risk here is that people do not really believe that matches will go ahead in April > July even if the football authorities make that plan.
We could get ourselves into a false start here by gunning into performance players on announcement of such news, only to find in a month or so that the whole season is cancelled after all.
That might be ok. I think the key thing to a lot of this is whether we think next season will kick off as expected.
If we knew that, we could invest fairly confidently in performance players knowing that at the worst case, by June/July at least people are going to be wanting to prepare portfolios for next season.
But, it’s not impossible for the start of next season to be chewed up as well. I don’t think we’ll have an answer on that anytime soon. If I had to guess I’d probably expect football authorities to find a way, even if it is behind closed doors with only players who have tested clean for corona virus or similar.
This is a good outcome all things considered that I’d welcome BUT that back of the mind uncertainty about whether next season will start as normal is a problem.
I think this would warrant retention of existing “full season fit” type performance players, and the best transfer/media picks where they have genuine dividend and performance potential at their new club not just hype.
Note the theme here – last week I was saying make sure your media picks also have performance strength. In this scenario I would be saying make sure your performance picks also have media strength. Same thing, just the other way around.
Why? Because if trends shift between media/performance unexpectedly you are covering both, not relying on one or the other which is risky. And it’s perfectly possible to find good performance players who also have hype potential. The only reason not to is laziness or lack of ability.
I’m trying my best to give some rational analysis of what may happen next but let’s be real things are chaotic and we don’t know which way the wind will blow. We aren’t helpless though – having both of these bases covered is one of the best things we can do to manage risks right now.
As discussed yesterday, we haven’t seen mass drops in lots of good players, many of them are holding up remarkably well so far. That makes it difficult to be able to call this as the moment to be super greedy. Whilst we are getting mild discounts in some cases, it’s not huge.
We could take advantage of some of those mild discounts if we want to build more of a stable “core” portfolio sure.
The bulk of a free balance in this scenario may actually want to go to cheaper previously off trend players who have performance strength and are expected to pick up where they left off for next season.
The market could, yet again, overlook the value in elite veterans just as it did at the start of this season. I was expecting people to learn from that error and was thinking I might not have been allowed to get away with it a second time. But all this chaos may throw people off.
In the majority of cases this over caution on age just opens up value. But to a point let’s not go crazy. We want the 27-31 age range with long contracts rather than the really risky 32+.
Other possible targets are cheap young long term prospects and some of the better transfer selections.
Overall, I think we can add a bit to our “core” full season fit players if needed in this scenario, taking advantage of some of the small discounts but I would not go overboard if I’m holding a lot of this already. I’d primarily target the strong value elite veteran or longer term value youth/transfer end.
I’d say just be careful in selections and only buy players where we are content with them long term as well as just over this Summer – we may find a month from now that this season is voided after all and want to be comfortable holding what we have into next season if needs be.
– Euro 2020 is moved to late 2020 or Summer 2021.
– Current season is VOID or shortened to a handful of play-offs.
– Next season kicks off as normal in August
This feels less likely to me than the above Scenario but is still possible.
I would expect them to set out Scenario 1 as “the plan” with Scenario 2 more likely to hit IF it becomes clear that matches in April > July are impossible.
But let’s consider what would happen if this happened now and we found out that the season was going to be voided or shortened to just play offs this week.
This is a much more difficult situation for traders than the first scenario.
We’d be looking at a long stretch from here to August (5 months) where quality performance players can’t prove it.
This would likely see another wave of panic sales of those perceived as performance players, good ones and bad.
Media would appear to pick up the slack and we may see a shorter term move this way. This can benefit the usual big ticket media dividend returners, but also transfer speculation players.
I would however expect some kind of major intervention from FI to broaden out the prospective winners beyond just the big ticket media players. That could be a beefed up transfers dividend as we saw in January but I think they’d have to come up with something new as well.
It could also be paying 5 or up to 10 places on media to bring in a wider field.
They may also try novel ideas that we can’t really predict. The best idea I have managed is some form of simulated Euro 2020 and to be honest that’s ropey as hell. I’m not sure I’d actually pull that trigger if I was Adam Cole! But I think they would have a strong incentive to come up with things that benefit a wider section of the market both for their own revenue and the stability of the market.
There could be some short term interest in any quick fire Champions League mini tournament etc. But, when you know it will be over in a few days, it might be quite volatile.
As long as confidence remains high that next season will start as normal, I don’t think this is a disaster scenario. But it probably causes short term panic selling in a raft of performance players.
In fact, this may well open up significant value. We have not really yet had the kind of panic that has really shook up the market and caused very strong players to hit a value price range (beyond some of the elite veterans who were dropping anyway).
With the spread lockdown as it is, and the expectation that traders will want to prepare for next season possibly as early as May in some cases, I cannot imagine Instant Selling at 40%+ losses goes well. Unless you are super desperate for the cash and have no choice.
Really, the preparation for this kind of panic sell was best done weeks ago as per the discussions here, if more bad news hits now then ideally we are already holding a portfolio we can be content to take into next season.
If not… and we are really sure we are holding the wrong players it may be best to come out. But I think it’s only the real garbage that is worth offloading at these spreads it’s not a good position to be in.
I think the optimal response here is to grit teeth, hold onto what we have and keep our cash on the sidelines.
If value is opened up we can evaluate once things settle.
Whilst this will be a bad outcome at least initially, May is not far away and people could start preparing portfolios for next season that early, particularly if there are bargains to be had.
So, provided we have players we have confidence in, we don’t have to be too worried about a short term drop. And it may open up some tempting targets with the longer term in mind.
I much prefer the first scenario. But I think I can live with the second.
Oddly, a a panic now if the season is cancelled may even open up the best profit opportunities. Although I find it hard to hope for a panic, if it comes, I’ll look for the opportunities if they are there.
Which Scenario we get I think we should hear a lot more about this week, possibly even tomorrow.
The really bad scenario is that we start hearing that NEXT season may not start as normal and that can start to change calculations.
Even then I’m trying to imagine at what point I’d think it a good idea to eat a 40% loss to Instant Sell a good player and I can’t picture it right now. If they were that bad they just wouldn’t be in my portfolio.
For now though I don’t think we have to worry too much about next season being delayed being announced.
It’s just too early for the football authorities to credibly make a call on next season – they aren’t done deciding on this one yet and that’s why I think it is these two above scenarios we need to be mentally prepared for at the moment.
Next season we can start to worry about next week.
I’m hoping we see news from UEFA tomorrow as they have their big meeting and if so you’ll hear more from me then, possibly in Live Blog format.
If you have any questions you want me to answer on the Live Blog please send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope everyone is staying as safe as possible and has sufficient supplies of toilet roll to weather this storm!