Samsung chief visits his favourite football club

Chelsea's Samsung stripThe boss was over from Korea, so there was a Samsung management team outing to see Chelsea draw 1-1 with Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, according to the JoongAng Daily.

Lee Kun-hee used the occasion to compare a successful business with a successful football club.

“The premier league is where the best athletes in the world play and is the competition stage for creative players. Companies should also apply creative management styles,” he said. “Above all, it is important to acquire and cultivate excellent talent.”

Careful not to mention the backhanders which are allegedly an integral part of the player acquisition process in the premier league1.

Mr. Lee said there were three factors which made Chelsea so popular. “The team has the best players in each position and a coach with fine leadership skill, as well as the unsparing support from the team,” he said.

All good management-speak. But Chelsea’s success in the league and with its fans does not feed through into the bottom line for the owner:

Since Mr Abramovich took over the club has spent £276m on players and made losses of £228m

according to the Evening Standard.

Samsung is paying Chelsea £10 million a year for 5 years for the privelege of displaying their corporate logo on the players’ shirts. I hope it’s worth it. I’m sure there are many ways in which a successful business and a successful football club can be compared. And while a team is at the top of the league table I’m sure that a business sponsor gets huge value from having their name associated with that club. But one day there’s going to be a scandal too far at a football club somewhere, and I hope the business sponsor doesn’t come to regret that association. So I wish Chelsea ongoing success in the league, and positive coverage in the press.

  1. and which, according to Transparency International, are a feature, albeit declining, in the Korean business world – see yesterday’s Hankyoreh article []

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.