Why shouldn't managers like me be rewarded with a bonus for selling players on?
When the details of my contract with Blackpool were laid bare for public consumption last year I was made to feel like someone who had been caught with his hands in the till.
There were an awful lot of raised eyebrows when it was revealed that I receive a bonus payment every time the club sells a player at a profit.
It led to a few accusations of a conflict of interest that left me incandescent with rage.
How could I be doing anything wrong when the bonus clause was written into my contract by my chairman Karl Oyston when he offered me the job of Blackpool manager?
How in hell could there be a conflict of interest when the bonuses I could earn for bringing success on the pitch were much more lucrative than anything I’d be able to bank by selling my best players?
Let me take you back to May 21, 2009, when Mr Oyston offered to bring an end to my year from hell.
I had been out of work for 363 days after leaving Leicester. My CV meant absolutely nothing, I had got nowhere near landing any of the three or four jobs I had applied for, and here was the opportunity to rebuild my career.
The only drawback was that the job at Blackpool was paying well below the going rate.
The chairman understood my predicament. But he said to me, ‘Ollie, if you are successful here then I will make sure you get rewarded financially.’
One of the things I believe I am good at is spotting a player. I like to think that I can take a player another manager can’t work with, restore his belief, polish him up, and make him an asset for my club. Mr Oysten agreed. He said it was only right that I should be rewarded appropriately if I improved the squad at Blackpool.
At first, I was only paid a bonus if a player I had signed was sold.
Now I get paid if any member of my squad is sold on.
I am at a club that refuses to pay big wages and it is still a source of some frustration that I don’t get the kind of basic salary that most of my peers take for granted.
But my chairman does offer incentives. If we’re doing well towards the top of the league, or we get into the play-offs, or get promoted then I benefit financially.
And I think you will find it’s the same with every single manager in the world. The only difference is there’s also an incentive for me to improve the club’s playing squad.
My chairman felt the arrangement would really make me feel part of the business model that he has.
It is all legal and above board.
Yet I came under the microscope last January when Liverpool offered £4million for Charlie Adam. My chairman knew I didn’t want to lose our best player and he made the decision not to sell.
I was delighted when Charlie eventually got his move to Anfield in the summer, but what would have happened if he had picked up a serious injury when he was still a Blackpool player?
The bottom line then would have been that our club would have lost an awful lot of money. We will never sell a player unless the deal is right for the club as a whole.
My chairman is a totally switched on businessman whose family owns Blackpool Football Club.
Anyone who thinks he would agree to anything that wasn’t in the in the best interests of Blackpool would only have to spend five minutes in his company to find out that would never happen.
I would never sell a player if the transfer would weaken my team unless I had to – either because it was for the benefit of the club, the player or both.
If I started selling players just to pick up bonuses then I wouldn’t be in a job for very long because we would start losing games, tumble down the table, and pretty soon Blackpool would be searching for a new manager.
Football has changed beyond recognition in the last 10 years.
There used to be a time when managers could do transfer deals with agents.
In my experience, a manager now makes recommendations to his chairman and chief executive and they decide whether to negotiate the deal or decline to take the advice.
Why shouldn’t I reap the benefit of my good work?
One of the most important things for me is being able to look at myself in the mirror.
That’s why I told my chairman that we should allow Elliot Grandin to move to Nice in a loan deal – even if it means we will be losing a player who could be vital to us as we push for the play-offs. Elliot is a talent. After recovering from a nasty injury he has come off the bench in our last two matches to score two priceless goals.
But he is not a happy fella. His wife and young son live in France, and it is heartbreaking to see the suffering in his eyes.
Some things are bigger than football. Family is more important than anything.
My chairman is worried that we will weaken the squad. But we are dealing with human beings here, not lumps of meat.
And I also believe my decision also makes professional sense.
We lose a good player, but if I get a reputation of being a man of integrity that is something that will benefit both me and Blackpool FC in the future.