Football owners need to find a middle ground

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What goes through the head of a football club owner? Many people would love to know as It can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game we love. 

Why people choose to become an owner is always an interesting topic to discuss: Some of them have the best of intentions by wanting to help their local club, while for others, it is a big power trip or even worse, a sense of greed.

The breaking news announced today that Watford manager, Quique Sanchez Flores, is to leave the club at the end of the season, is somewhat mind-boggling.

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It is true that the Hornets have only claimed a mere three league wins since the turn of the year, but they have been largely impressive in their FA Cup run - defeating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on their way to a narrow semi-final defeat against Crystal Palace at Wembley.

The question that has to be posed to Watford owner Gino Pozzo now that Sanchez Flores has been told he's leaving after their final game against Sunderland is, what was his main aim for the season? 

The Spaniard has achieved survival when many predicted instant relegation back to the Championship. Sanchez Flores has become the fifth sacking of Pozzo's reign, and consequently, it will be interesting to see who would want to work under the Italian, who is clearly an extremely hard man to please.

We have seen the damage that can be done to a club with a meddling owner in the case of Massimo Cellino and Leeds United. The Italian has sacked five managers in just under two years at the club, and that sort of action can't help the morale within the side in any way.

In another bit of bizarre behaviour, Cellino banned Sky Sports cameras from Elland Road, believing that it deterred from the club attendances. It is now 12 years that Leeds last graced the Premier League, which in some young fans case, is their lifetime.

Blackpool is yet another sad story. Flying high in the Premier League five seasons ago, they have just received their second consecutive relegation, this time, down to League two. 

Supporters of the seaside club held a mass protest for the second season in a row before their last home game of the season against Wigan Athletic, where 3,000 fans took to the streets. 

The reason behind the call to arms? You guessed it, the mismanagement of the club which is run by the Oyston family (Owen and Karl). The main fury of the fans was to do with the lack of investment in the playing squad and generally run down facilities.

The actions of owners like Pozzo, Cellino, and the Oystons effect the whole morale of the town or city in which their clubs are based. In fairness it is not only those three clubs, there are plenty more that could have been mentioned like Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Liverpool under the Gillette and Hicks regime, Blackburn Rovers, and Cardiff City amongst others.

However, it is not just madcap owners that cause frustration, it is also the kind that sit on their hands and have too much faith in a failing club or manager. A case in point is Stan Kroenke with Arsenal. 

There is a perception that he is too close to manager Arsene Wenger to make any firm decisions on the Frenchman's future. The fact that Kroenke observes proceedings in a hands-off fashion has its positive and negative points. The bonus is that he isn't micromanaging every facet like others already mentioned, but equally, there can be a suspicion that he is avoiding making the tough decisions by letting things drift along.

Owners have to strike a balance. It can be difficult at times but the main prerogative is to leave the manager to get on with their job without distraction. However, if things head in a downward spiral over a sustained period then firm questions should be asked. 

Good owners can change the overall fortunes of a club, and you only have to look at the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City in that regard. Both Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansoor prefer to keep a very low public profile, but when required to make the necessary decisions they believe will make their teams better, they do so. They don't make a change for changes sake.

Some people may well say that it is the owner's own money they are pouring into the club and therefore they can do what they like with it. That may be true, but when their actions affect the livelihood of others, it becomes a completely different story.

What makes the perfect football owner? Have YOUR say in the comment section below.

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