Rasmus Ankersen Leaves BFC (and buys Southampton)

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Ras hasn't been appointed a director of Southampton FC (nor its holding company) whereas the "other two" have....
 

BaildonBee

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Rasmus would of course know all our transfer targets for the next couple of windows , would that be a problem ?
It rather depends if Saints are looking for players in the same positions as we are. Unlike some we do not just buy good players but good players to perform specific roles in our system.
 

SouthernRed

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Ras hasn't been appointed a director of Southampton FC (nor its holding company) whereas the "other two" have....
Whilst structure is unknown, it looks like he’ll be head of the group, rather than any real specific involvement in us, which is fine by the large majority of Saints fans.

We’re pretty happy with those running the football operations at the club. His involvement in the group can only be a good thing however, increased scouting network etc.
 

teesbee

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Southampton fan here.

To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Ankersen until now, but it seems like we’ll be adopting a similar transfer model (moneyball esq) to you. What does that look like? Do you scale the lower leagues, Europe? Did you spend ‘big’ in relative terms, when needed?

Yeah, moneyball, that's how we do it. Sit everyone down and watch the movie, it's all in there.
 

Shamrock_Bee

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Whilst structure is unknown, it looks like he’ll be head of the group, rather than any real specific involvement in us, which is fine by the large majority of Saints fans.

We’re pretty happy with those running the football operations at the club. His involvement in the group can only be a good thing however, increased scouting network etc.

It looks an interesting set up from what has been reported and he'd likely be to busy for day to day involvement with one club.

It looks like this new Sport Republic company will eventually have a lot of influence in more sports teams/companies than just Southampton. You's will be part of the portfolio of course but it'll be interesting to see what football team Southampton may eventually share that portifolio with and how that may impact things for your club.
 
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nathanbee

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It looks an interesting set up from what has been reported and he'd likely be to busy for day to day involvement with one club.

It looks like this new Sport Republic company will eventually have a lot of influence in more sports teams/companies than just Southampton. You's will be part of the portfolio of course but it'll be interesting to see what football team Southampton may eventually share that portifolio with and how that may impact things for your club.

Question. Will this type of Investment model lead to a bunch of mid-table clubs in Top-Flight leagues across the world?
Individually they won't ever have the financial muscle to compete with the Middle Eastern owners but collectively (through smart recruitment etc) could ensure they secure top-flight football for a prolonged period. The owners take their cash returns every year. The fans have top-flight football every year. They might strike lucky from time to time and get a Champions League run. The owners take the cash and the fans get a season of excitement. Unearth a great talent .... sell them. The owners get a cash windfall and the fans wish they could keep that player.
A raft of Sports Investment companies (and their relatively wealthy owners) lobbying to end Relegation and Promotion to protect their investments. Something to keep a watchful eye on I think.
 

Shamrock_Bee

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Question. Will this type of Investment model lead to a bunch of mid-table clubs in Top-Flight leagues across the world?
Individually they won't ever have the financial muscle to compete with the Middle Eastern owners but collectively (through smart recruitment etc) could ensure they secure top-flight football for a prolonged period. The owners take their cash returns every year. The fans have top-flight football every year. They might strike lucky from time to time and get a Champions League run. The owners take the cash and the fans get a season of excitement. Unearth a great talent .... sell them. The owners get a cash windfall and the fans wish they could keep that player.
A raft of Sports Investment companies (and their relatively wealthy owners) lobbying to end Relegation and Promotion to protect their investments. Something to keep a watchful eye on I think.

I doubt football will ever stop promotion or relegation despite how much some owners would like that to happen.

Your points and these new models are interesting. I'm not saying it'll happen and is only a guess but investing capital and data into a club like Southampton to keep them in the top flight might be the limit due to the revenue that generates.

Pushing for CL places through the PL would be difficult and expensive however investing in a less lucrative league with a realistic pathway to the CL albeit through qualifers might be tempting, so some of the investments would be for mid table but some would be to get part of the portfolio into the CL depending on the expense and competition around them.

I think from what is being reported the whole model looks very interesting and one I'll keep an eye on, good luck to them!
 
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Adam

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Rasmus seems a very nice man, although he does have a touch of the Cliff Crowns about him. His media appearances always seemed to be more about promoting himself much more than the club to me.

I expect him leaving will have close to zero impact on our model, he seemed to be the face/charm side of the deal making (although I could be wrong) - which explains why he has so much time to seduce billionaires.

Southampton may be slightly disappointed after the initial transfer windows are over and he has exhausted the names he can remember from the Super Computer (ala Smith). Although, I would be surprised if there wasn’t a longer notice period than a month and he hasn’t been out of the loop for 6+ months. Plus, Southampton have a very good record signing players - is there much improvement he can actually make (especially without access to our data)?
 

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I’d assume Sport Republic will include their own proprietary data analytics company in the organisation, as stated, thus enabling larger data volumes for the benefit of network.

I believe this is the RBL model.
 

Banana

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Rasmus seems a very nice man, although he does have a touch of the Cliff Crowns about him. His media appearances always seemed to be more about promoting himself much more than the club to me.

I expect him leaving will have close to zero impact on our model, he seemed to be the face/charm side of the deal making (although I could be wrong) - which explains why he has so much time to seduce billionaires.

Southampton may be slightly disappointed after the initial transfer windows are over and he has exhausted the names he can remember from the Super Computer (ala Smith). Although, I would be surprised if there wasn’t a longer notice period than a month and he hasn’t been out of the loop for 6+ months. Plus, Southampton have a very good record signing players - is there much improvement he can actually make (especially without access to our data)?
I don't believe Ras is going to be performing the same role. He is not going to be involved operationally with Southampton. He won't be identifying talent and calling up DMac etc talking about lost points. He's done that hence why he's moving on. He is not even on the board of Southampton.

Instead he is building a portfolio of club's like the City Group who own
  • Manchester City
  • New York City
  • Melbourne City
  • Yokohama F. Marinos.
  • Montevideo City Torque.
  • Girona FC.
  • Sichuan Jiuniu.
  • Mumbai City FC.
  • Lommel SK.
  • Esperance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne (ESTAC)
Expect Ras to be talking to other clubs with a view to acquire them on behalf of Sports Republic. Then there is how to benefit from economies of scale which I would imagine to be to use some analysis/data/mumbojumbo in order to find an edge to increase the portfolio performance and earn a return.

Also, AFAIK, there's been no "spend, spend, spend" comms from Sports Republic to Southampton fans. Instead it's been an acquisition of shares and comms such as "we like how the club is run" (sotto voce "we won't be chucking money at it a la Saudis and Newcastle)
 
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Ras hasn't been appointed a director of Southampton FC (nor its holding company) whereas the "other two" have....
Which may be an indication that he wishes to retain his independence to market his businesses services to others. As others have observed, he is likely to be advising on strategic direction, rather than day to day direction.
 

Doovster

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I don't believe Ras is going to be performing the same role. He is not going to be involved operationally with Southampton. He won't be identifying talent and calling up DMac etc talking about lost points. He's done that hence why he's moving on. He is not even on the board of Southampton.

Instead he is building a portfolio of club's like the City Group who own
  • Manchester City
  • New York City
  • Melbourne City
  • Yokohama F. Marinos.
  • Montevideo City Torque.
  • Girona FC.
  • Sichuan Jiuniu.
  • Mumbai City FC.
  • Lommel SK.
  • Esperance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne (ESTAC)
Expect Ras to be talking to other clubs with a view to acquire them on behalf of Sports Republic. Then there is how to benefit from economies of scale which I would imagine to be to use some analysis/data/mumbojumbo in order to find an edge to increase the portfolio performance and earn a return.

Also, AFAIK, there's been no "spend, spend, spend" comms from Sports Republic to Southampton fans. Instead it's been an acquisition of shares and comms such as "we like how the club is run" (sotto voce "we won't be chucking money at it a la Saudis and Newcastle)

I believe/assume he also has some equity in Sports Republic which I assume he did not enjoy at BFC nor FCM?

All in all a very logical 'next step' for Ras in his working/entrepreneurial life and one which will 'potentially' make him far wealthier than continuing to solely be an 'employee' of BFC/FCM.

I don't see this as being any 'risk' to BFC and no doubt had MB's blessing when Ras would have advised him of his plans.
 

jbee

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He was probably a bit bored at BFC towards the end. He is not a scout, not a data analyst, not a coach. He seems to specialise in finding edges and in networking and you would hope we are now pretty well set up in that regard. He was probably short of things to do and wanting to make a bit more money.

But I am sure that his self-confidence and patter were massively important in selling the project in the early days, plus of course those vital Danish connections.
 

Ealing Bee

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It looks like this new Sport Republic company will eventually have a lot of influence in more sports teams/companies than just Southampton
Interesting development, no doubt and other groups have made a success of it, most notably Man. City. But it's hardly guaranteed to work. For instance Spurs owner Joe Lewis built up big stakes in a number of other clubs eg Rangers, Slavia Prague and Fiorentina(?). Ended up selling them all as a dead loss.
 

Banana

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Interesting development, no doubt and other groups have made a success of it, most notably Man. City. But it's hardly guaranteed to work. For instance Spurs owner Joe Lewis built up big stakes in a number of other clubs eg Rangers, Slavia Prague and Fiorentina(?). Ended up selling them all as a dead loss.
It's a shame Ras didn't read this before SR bought Southampton. Could have saved him and his mates a few million. Oh well.

Maybe they read Wikipedia instead :cool:
 

jlove

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Interesting development, no doubt and other groups have made a success of it, most notably Man. City. But it's hardly guaranteed to work. For instance Spurs owner Joe Lewis built up big stakes in a number of other clubs eg Rangers, Slavia Prague and Fiorentina(?). Ended up selling them all as a dead loss.
I think SR is not « building stakes » but building a network, that will include data analytics and scouting (maybe) to which they bring extra value, thus increasing the worth of the individual clubs in the portfolio.
 

Ealing Bee

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I think SR is not « building stakes » but building a network, that will include data analytics and scouting (maybe) to which they bring extra value, thus increasing the worth of the individual clubs in the portfolio.
What is the point of SR increasing the worth of those other clubs if they (SR) don't also have ownership (partial, majority or full)?

Or am I missing something?
 

jlove

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What is the point of SR increasing the worth of those other clubs if they (SR) don't also have ownership (partial, majority or full)?

Or am I missing something?
They will (e.g. Southampton 80%) but as an actively managed group, bringing its own proprietary assets, not just owning bits for the sake of it.
 

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Banana

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An interesting article in Southampton’s local paper about Rasmus view of what happened at Newcastle in 11/12

It's old. old and more old. Definitely not news. It's a Ted Talk he gave about 3 centuries ago.
 

hobbsy

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Not related to Southampton per se, but there was a discussion on the Guardian podcast about Newcastle and whether that could be unfair.
 

Bee(h)Iver

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Not related to Southampton per se, but there was a discussion on the Guardian podcast about Newcastle and whether that could be unfair.

You could make a very good argument that certain teams were more than happy to postpone games given injuries, chances to sign new players or just for an opportunity for a new coach to have a couple of weeks to get his bunch of overpaid primadonnas playing as a team.

Not mentioning any names though... ;)
 

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Ever heard the boiling frog apologue? The story goes that if you were to place a frog in a pot of boiling water it would immediately jump out to save its life, yet if you were to slowly increase the temperature it would be unaware of the danger and the frog would die.

The idea is, of course, a myth, but it is used as a metaphor for being alert to danger and the need for change, one often used by the man now in charge of leading Southampton into a new era of possibilities and security. Rasmus Ankersen is co-owner and chief executive of Sport Republic, the newly formed investment company backed by the Serbian entrepreneur Dragan Solak, which completed a majority takeover of Southampton last week.

As with most takeovers, the investment from a largely unknown overseas entrepreneur raises question marks about where the club is heading. But the involvement of Ankersen, the ambitious 38-year-old Dane who helped Brentford reach the promised land of the Premier League despite regularly selling their best players, indicates a perfect match. Fittingly, Southampton are at home to Brentford tomorrow night, in the club’s first Premier League match since the takeover.
Ankersen was co-director of football at Brentford, along with Phil Giles, with a reputation for a data-driven approach and desire to push boundaries by exploring all possibilities. One day he wandered down the Great West Road from Brentford’s offices in west London to GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturing giant, and ended up in a meeting with the company’s executives. He departed with a partnership formed.
Matthew Benham, Brentford’s owner, trusted Ankersen implicitly with the running of his clubs. Ankersen split his time between London and Denmark, where Benham appointed him chairman of FC Midtjylland, the Danish club formed in 1999 that reached the Champions League group stage for the first time last season. “We can’t win by outspending the competition so we have to out-think them,” Ankersen said.

In 2004, he helped set up Scandinavia’s first football academy from which Simon Kjaer, the AC Milan defender who captains Denmark, was among the early graduates. Midtjylland were one of the first clubs to embrace data in recruitment and training, as well as employing a full-time throw-in coach, now increasingly common across European football. Midtjylland focused on set pieces and became by far the most effective team on the continent when it came to scoring from corners, throw-ins and free kicks.

At Brentford, the model was identifying promising young players with the potential to sell them on for significant profit. The record is remarkable. Aston Villa bought Ollie Watkins for £33 million three years after Brentford signed him for £1.8 million from Exeter City; Saïd Benrahma was sold to West Ham United for a £27.3 million profit two-and-a-half years after joining from Nice; Neal Maupay came from Saint-Étienne for £1.6 million two years before Brighton & Hove Albion paid £20 million for him.

And still Brentford managed to progress, promoted to the Premier League last summer with Ivan Toney, bought from Peterborough United for £5 million, scoring the goals that have, surely, sent his value rocketing. Southampton’s story is similar with Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mané, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers among the alumni that lined the club’s pockets and made St Mary’s an attractive destination for young players — though profits from such sales have dried up in recent years.

“They have very carefully looked at what has happened here in the past few years and have seen we have a clear strategy, a clear plan of how we want to develop this club, not doing stupid things, with big targets and create value to keep the club healthy,” Ralph Hasenhüttl, the Southampton manager, said.

The search for a new owner had been long and arduous, two years in the making with a few false dawns. Gao Jisheng, who had an 80 per cent stake, was not a bad owner but one with his hands tied. Changes to Chinese investment law in the weeks after Gao completed his takeover in August 2017 limited his financial support.

Such parameters added pressure. Hasenhüttl, the manager since December 2018, has spoken of the increasing difficulty of competing in the Premier League year-on-year, with the club finishing in the bottom half of the table in the seasons since Gao’s takeover.

The change at St Mary’s will not be as drastic as the one unfolding at St James’ Park after Newcastle United’s takeover by mega-rich Saudi investors in October. Southampton believe Sport Republic’s investment will simply allow them to re-establish and then enhance their reputation as a breeding ground for future stars.

“In the past it was very often that we first had to sell players before we could sign new players because we had no chance to get them earlier,” Hasenhüttl said.

“This will change now, massively, but it doesn’t mean we change our behaviour and go to the market to buy everything around and available. That doesn’t make any sense. We want to pick the [Tino] Livramentos, the [Armando] Brojas that are around. This new owner gives us the chance to get these guys earlier.”

Ankersen and Henrik Kraft, the chairman of Sport Republic, are planning for Southampton to be the lead club in a stable that could eventually include at least four other teams. Hasenhüttl met them last Wednesday for the first time and spoke at length about the philosophy, with his history offering experience to the model.

Hasenhüttl, 54, was part of the Red Bull franchise, joining Southampton from RB Leipzig where players were developed through their Austrian sister club, Red Bull Salzburg. Naby Keita, of Liverpool, and Dayot Upamecano, the Bayern Munich defender, were brought through the system and sold for huge profit. Chelsea’s Timo Werner and Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konaté also generated huge sums after being sold by Leipzig, the top club of the franchise.

“They were all my players and we have signed them, sometimes from Salzburg, sometimes from other German or French clubs, young signing first or second professional contract, and going with us to a very good development time and ending up in one of the biggest clubs in Europe,” Hasenhüttl said.

“This is a big advantage to sign players you have tested before with your football philosophy, that you can see if they’re fitting through this football philosophy or not.”

Optimism is high on the south coast. Southampton have hopped out of the pot and, if Ankersen’s history is anything to go by, into a bright new era.
 
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Humblebee

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I am surprised that no-one has blamed him for our defeat at Southampton. He must know all our players' weaknesses and Southampton certainly exploited them.
 

jlove

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I am surprised that no-one has blamed him for our defeat at Southampton. He must know all our players' weaknesses and Southampton certainly exploited them.
Southampton matched up with our formation and applied their usual high press, it’s not difficult and didn’t need a third party to advise them… more likely to be Jensen’s fault.
 

Gazza Bee

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I am surprised that no-one has blamed him for our defeat at Southampton. He must know all our players' weaknesses and Southampton certainly exploited them.
Basic scouting would do the same thing so not sure he had any role in our defeat - we were just poor on the night
 

Beefletch

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Basic scouting would do the same thing so not sure he had any role in our defeat - we were just poor on the night
I agree about us being poor on the night but you can bet RA had plenty of input about our weaknesses.
I can’t imagine given his knowledge of how we set up that he hasn’t identified where we are vulnerable .eg
GK not commanding , no pace in the centre of defence , forward playing left back etc etc.
Nailed on in my view !
 

jlove

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I agree about us being poor on the night but you can bet RA had plenty of input about our weaknesses.
I can’t imagine given his knowledge of how we set up that he hasn’t identified where we are vulnerable .eg
GK not commanding , no pace in the centre of defence , forward playing left back etc etc.
Nailed on in my view !
You could find that out from the GPG!
 

Beefletch

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You could find that out from the GPG!
Probably true but why bother when you have analysed the players to death before signing them and know them & the coaching staff warts & all !
 

jlove

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Probably true but why bother when you have analysed the players to death before signing them and know them & the coaching staff warts & all !
But it's Southampton's analytics department that would be doing the analysis for every opponent, not a download from Ras. If they've got any sense, they'd trawl fans' forums as part of that.
 

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I am surprised that no-one has blamed him for our defeat at Southampton. He must know all our players' weaknesses and Southampton certainly exploited them.

He'll have had an input into the preparation for sure but for all his abilities he ultimately isn't a player or coach, football matches are won out on the pitch and from coaching sessions beforehand. Southampton and our players would have both been given a lot of information like they always are but it's the actual game where it was won and lost so we can't talk about his impact too much.

Southampton players were much better and that is where the credit should rest, it happens in football where another team is much better in a particular game.
 
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Beefletch

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But it's Southampton's analytics department that would be doing the analysis for every opponent, not a download from Ras. If they've got any sense, they'd trawl fans' forums as part of that.
Trawl the GPG rather than talk to the bloke who has been in the midst of your opponent’s analytics & recruitment over the previous 4/5years ?! I think maybe we should agree to disagree .
 

mhead bee

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Trawl the GPG rather than talk to the bloke who has been in the midst of your opponent’s analytics & recruitment over the previous 4/5years ?! I think maybe we should agree to disagree .

One would pick Jenson and one wouldn't.
 

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If I remember correctly, Hasenhuttl said in his press conference that Rasmus had provided some information about the Brentford players, etc, prior to the game.

Most likely to reaffirm ideas that they already had after their analytics department had provided information well in advance of the game.
 

TheHairdresser

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If I remember correctly, Hasenhuttl said in his press conference that Rasmus had provided some information about the Brentford players, etc, prior to the game.

Most likely to reaffirm ideas that they already had after their analytics department had provided information well in advance of the game.
There's a delicious irony in a former DoF highlighting the weaknesses of opposing players he in all likelyhood recruited.
 

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The only thing you'd hope is that Frank would switch a few things up for the game specifically to counter the knowledge that Rasmus would have provided. Otherwise they could have prepared for this one perfectly. I have no idea if Frank would have done that or not though.
 

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The only thing you'd hope is that Frank would switch a few things up for the game specifically to counter the knowledge that Rasmus would have provided. Otherwise they could have prepared for this one perfectly. I have no idea if Frank would have done that or not though.
We know Frank is no fool so I'm sure he would have been aware of that and countered. Unfortunately if you defend as abjectly as we did on the night it really doesn't matter.
 
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