Thursday, 23 October 2008

Dollars and Sense, or what kind of price can you put on abstract concepts?

Stick with me as best you can because this might go all over the place or even nowhere. I was thinking recently about how much players might get paid in this league, and what influences other than money might have an impact on where players choose to spend their playing time.

A few years back on smfcboard, someone claiming to be Sam Poutakidis made what seemed to be an outrageous claim at the time, that someone might choose a club like Oakleigh not for the money but for its facilities. We all had a good laugh (and whinge)... but no one thought to start putting dollar signs or devising some kind of method. Now that's perfectly ok; the players themselves probably don't go through and list every detail and put a price on it, and it may even be that money is 90% of the deal.

But looking back on certain cases... Hamlet Armenian allegedly coming to South to cut down on travel time... Diaco enjoying having some sort of fandom to play in front of... a Billy Nats playing for the club he grew up supporting... a Scotty MacNicol coming back perhaps because of a lack of opportunities despite what he may have been getting... players coming to South perhaps in the belief that their A-League ambitions would be better suited at Lakeside than say Chaplin or Monterey Reserve... liking or disliking one coach over another... and never forgetting the lure of a championship, where rogue players and their clubs tolerate each other for as long as possible as long as glory is within sight... all of this to be considered within a framework where the next paycheque might never come in.

I don't know what the average VPL player gets for certain, let alone our boys. But for simplicity's sake let's say our boys get about $350-500 on average. The better players a little more, the younger fringe players a little less. If they were to be offered more money at other clubs, or perhaps less money to play for a geographically more suitable team, or any of the myriad options possible, how much would it take to tip them over the edge one way or another? If a player came out and said, 'I'm mostly about the money', would we all break out in shock, or applaud their honesty? Would other players follow suit? I'm not holding my breath for it to happen, nor do I suggest that a thought process is that rational... but players, coaches and clubs all make financial decisions which are not exclusively decided by money, and only hindsight, such as every payment cleared or a new trophy in the cabinet, gives us perhaps any clue if it was the right choice.

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