Playing attractive football like Southampton is not a moneyspinner — but it can buy a manager more time in the job.
That is according to Kieran Maguire, football finance expert and new Football Insider correspondent, speaking exclusively to correspondent Adam Williams after Southampton released their financial report for the year 2020.
On face value, Southampton’s financial state is worrying: they posted net losses of £76million while turnover was down by £23m.
But the club stated that had it not been for the seismic financial impact of the pandemic, their total revenue would have been £157.8m, a 5.5% increase on 2019.
Southampton finished 11th in 2019-20 compared to 16th in 2018-19 and played attractive football throughout, a style reflected in their increased appearance on television screens.
Maguire doesn’t believe that is the only reason a manager might choose to employ a visually-pleasing playing style.
Asked if there was ever a financial motivation to play attractive football, he told Football Insider: “What attractive football tends to do is buy you a little bit more breathing space. It also gets you on Sky more.
“But as a Brighton fan, we play very attractive football and our fanbase has now turned against Graham Potter.
“I saw Guardiola’s comments after the match last week saying Potter is the best English manager out there at present and if he was a player he’d love to play under him. I take the view that we’re going to get relegated at some point anyway and I’d rather get relegated and enjoy watching the football than having Tony Pulis there grinding out 1-0 victories.
“Southampton are in a slightly different position but the same principle applied.
“So while there might not necessarily be a financial advantage, as a manager it does buy you time. Because when Brighton were winning matches under Chris Hughton two years ago there was a lot of moaning as the football wasn’t great.
“Under Potter, we’ve had lots of plaudits and among some fans that will buy you more time.”
Brighton currently sit in 16th place, nine places and 12 points behind Southampton.
Manager Graham Potter has been in the job since May 2019, five months after Hassenhutl was appointed as Southampton boss.