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How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy?

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par Eric Bailly
Staffordshire University (UK) - M.Sc. in European Management Strategy 2003

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3.3. Data collection

3.3.1. Secondary data

To have an overview of football clubs' sector, it has been useful to integrate an important amount of secondary data. Both types of data were used: qualitative and quantitative. The aim of this secondary data study was to design football clubs' portraits to be able to conduct in-depth interviews later on. The clubs' official documents (e.g. annual reports) were ordered by e-mail, through the football clubs' websites. Clubs are used to answer students request so they sent those

How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy ? September 2003

information very quickly, in England. As they are considered as traditional companies, English clubs have to publish their financial accounts. In France, clubs did not have to publish their accounts (but things are changing), so it was impossible to get them, even by asking the clubs. Clubs websites were full of information and freely accessible. On these sites you could find information for fans, downloadable documents, managers' interview, players' interview... Leagues official reports have been the most useful secondary data: they give an overview of the sector, forecasts for the future of the business... They were accessible on demand by e-mail through the Premier League, the Football Association and the Ligue de Football Professionel's websites. The websites of stakeholders' groups were also analysed (G14, players' association, agents...). It was also possible to find some academic papers written by lecturers or students on universities websites. Most of them were available on-line. They were really precise and useful to understand football clubs' management and economy. The most recommendable universities were Liverpool and Leicester ones because they had football studies departments. Some other papers deal with the subject on the Internet. Emerald and Mintel websites have been the most useful tools to gather documentary data. Many books were edited about football business and football economics, but their content was not useful for this study. In fact, most of the popular books were focused on some polemic events and did not study deeply football clubs' management. The only useful books were the ones written by academicians and lecturers. A huge amount of (useful and useless) information came from specialised magazines like 442 or France Football, daily newspapers, television and radio. In fact, they often related speech of football clubs' managers, players and sometimes of agents. It has been meaningful to feel the atmosphere and the trend of football economics. All those secondary data have allowed the author to have an overview of the current football business and to get some clues about how were managed stakeholders by football clubs. The decisive part of this research depended on the primary data collection.

3.3.2. Primary data

This information has been the core of this research. Primary data came directly from football clubs' managers. It was important to select an interview mode. A telephone interview would have been the quickest way to get this data but it was also limited in time. People usually are not at ease with long conversation on the phone, so they prefer to shorter the interview. To understand stakeholders' management, an interview on the phone would not have been long and `deep' enough. Liverpool F.C. asked the author to design an e-mail interview, before they changed their mind and accepted to meet the interviewer. Face-to-face interview was the mean chosen to conduct this research. It was the most adapted mode to understand how the club is managed, to have time enough to answer all the questions and to have spontaneous (and usually true) answers. Then, some football clubs had to be chosen as sample for these in-depth and standardised interviews.

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