Tuesday 29 June 2021

France vs Switzerland and the limits of the power of money

 I don't normally write about the Football here (despite being one of my main real life hobbies), but it got me thinking last night about the meaning of money and wages. The reason for this was the performance of the French team against Switzerland. Both sides full of highly paid footballers - albeit not playing for money in an international tournament. 

One of the main and best players on the French team was Paul Pogba, he even scored a sumptuous goal to put France up 3-1. However, even though he played quite well, he was very fitful. Indeed the last Swiss goal was caused by him losing the ball. 

The whole French team could only really be bothered to try for a few minutes in the second half, they went 3-1 up but it was not enough in the end. The Swiss soldiered on. 

The reason I mention wages is this is also, for Paul Pogba, the same criticism he gets at Manchester united, in that he rarely plays to his potential. No matter how much money, or in international matches, fame and reputation, is at stake, he can't motivate himself. 

For businesses, this is a sound reason not to overpay salaries or to expect people to transform themselves into better workers because of pay rises. Much better is performance based pay that might impact behaviours, but the Euro's show us that even this is a very hard thing to achieve. 


E-K said...


Wages don't motivate people once they achieve the, not for very long anyway.

Some people genuinely want to please or to help or to simply be the best at what they do in a vocational sense.

For Pogba being the best does not necessarily mean that he's being HIS best. For him, climbing youth leagues and lower leagues was probably a lot better for his motivation and happiness than reaching the professional summit and the money.

BlokeInBrum said...

We'll see how the England team fare tonight.

If they show half the tenacity and determination like some of the smaller (lesser?) teams in the competition like Switzerland, then all will be well.

Sadly, it seems that a lot of these highly paid footballers don't seem to bring their A-game when it counts.

Maybe if the carrot approach doesn't work then it's time to bring the stick.

Completely incidentally, I wonder how Harry Kane will get on?

Elby the Beserk said...

Pogba is a magnificent footballer. And I say that as a Man City fan.

But his ridiculous preening after his goal demonstrates why I would not want him in my team. Preposterous ego.

Delighted for Switzerland, who punctured the French preening. Oh how we larfed :-)

Sobers said...

I've said for many years that any football club wanting to go places should be employing araft of psychologists to do detailed psychological analysis of all prospective purchases and identify those who, while incredibly talented, are otherwise a waste of space, and will never utilise their talent to anywhere near its potential. And thus avoid buying the Pogbas and (as a Liverpool fan) the Daniel Sturridges of this world. A good friend of mine is a massive NFL fan and he tells me this phenomenon is a well known issue with the whole college football and draft into NFL process - far too many players get their first multi-million dollar contract and never achieve anything as a pro, the money has satiated their need to compete any more.

What you should be looking for are the Beckhams and Tom Bradys of this world. Players who may not be the most naturally talented, but don't care about how much money they are paid, and have an inbuilt desire to be as good they possibly can, and that is the reward they get from playing, the sense of satisfaction from knowing they have achieved everything their talent would allow them to.

Nick Drew said...

Motivating performance is as big a puzzle as selecting the right people in the first place: a staggering amount of management effort is expended, with variable and uncomfortably unpredictable success

In the most (internally) competitive commercial environment I've worked in, there was one very big division where cash bonus (paid on completion) was the only game in town. They did some spectacular things but some of them were spectacularly bad.

The better outcomes were from another big division where the bonuses weren't miserly, but nothing like as big. However, (a) there was much more emphasis on the Behaviours that were wanted from the workforce, including some very cleverly-framed and apposite demands that were made on staff, which really worked; and (b) there was real cult-hero status afforded spontaneously by their peers to the best dealmakers: the cleverer the deal, the better.

That cost management nothing whatever in $$$! - in fact, of course, quite the reverse. (It's more akin to what you find in e.g. the Army)

E-K said...

Yes, Nick.

An Alpha character can do wonders to draw out ability from a team at no cost... or the complete reverse if they are the wrong type of alpha.

Bill Quango MP said...

Pogba cemented his reputation, and made his money at ManU, from the sort of amazing runs and wonder goals from his World Cup performance.

Pavard, French defender, was spoken about at last night’s game, and every other time he is seen, for his amazing goal against Argentina. But as a defence isn’t up to much at the top level.

The shop window is the time to shine. Club chairmen/women will forget the finances and agree to big purchases in the emotion. So say the managers.

So far, Harry Kane, who really is world class, is looking like his big money move from Spurs will see him go to Swansea.

Funny how it happens. Sometimes at tournament or season just doesn’t click. But the same is true for managers. The special one flops almost as many times as he soars. But overall is a proven winner.
Southgate, who was nobody’s favourite for the job, has done very very well. Even now, while England look suspect, his results are still going well.

It’s so strange how it pans out.

DJK said...

As others have said, money is not always a motivator: people can work had for many reasons. Indeed money (at least, money going to other people) can be a severe de-motivator, or can encourage bad 'uns and create a toxic work environment.

Also worth mentioning the film Moneyball (2011), based on the notion that a solid team of cheaper, second-rate (baseball) players are better value than a few superstars.

dearieme said...

"one of my main real life hobbies"

It had never occurred to me, oh blogger, that you were young enough to play football.

Timbo614 said...

Football (Yawn).
We won!! We won!!We won!!We won!! Engeeeerrrlllaannnd!
First time we have knocked out Germany since 1966 when I were just a lad of 13.

( I only watch football when England are playing in a major tournament.)

E-K said...

Hey. Even I felt a swell of pride at this.

Dave from Bolton said...

At the Nissan plant back in the 90s, they had a goldfish in a bowl. The Team of the Week got to look after the goldfish for the following week, which was placed in a prominent position so to show off. I think they even had to buy the creature's food, but as a motivator it was priceless.

Elby the Beserk said...

Sobers. Guardiola and Man City have made that perhaps their numero uno check on a footballer - character. Which is a major difference between us and our out-of-town neighbours, who insist on buying big names who are always flawed, and lesser well known players who don't live up to the hype. Fernandes is good, sure - but clearly disappears in big games. Wasn't surprised when he won the PFA PotY award; when City win the league, it's usually a Liverpool player who gets that award... this time, United, despite KdB and Foden both having a far greater impact than him.

andrew said...

Jealousy of your peers seems to be one of the most reliable and enduring motivators.

That is why ft100 dirs and footballers get paid so much. They know what everyone else gets paid and (probably incorrectly) those in control think they are not easily substitutable.