The Euro as a Soccer Team

Posted: Jul 31, 2012 12:01 AM

It seems that lately my columns have taken on a sports related theme. 

Can you blame me given that we’re in the heart of baseball season, the NBA has just concluded their summer league schedule, and NFL players have already reported to training camp? 

In addition, the pageantry and glory of the Olympic Games are in full swing. 

So, if you’re not a sports fan, you need to, as they say “get out of town.” 

Let’s continue. 

When the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, made his recent line in the sand statement, “within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro, and believe me, it will be enough,” the financial markets definitely stood up and took notice. 

I listened to Mario intently, studied his statement judiciously, and then I asked myself one very simple question: What will Draghi do differently this time that he hasn’t already done in the past? 

However, before answering my own question, I imagined that I was an owner of a professional sports team and that Mario was the general manager. 

Since Draghi is European, I visualized a soccer club. 

Considering our fictitious team has missed the playoffs for several years, seems to be aging, and has no real competitive future, I asked GM Draghi what we could do in order to turn things around. 

My expectation was that Mario would say that we need to change personnel by trading for some younger players who bring a winning attitude to the team. 

I would also anticipate the firing of the old coach, to be replaced by someone who would implement a whole new strategy. 

In fact, I would even be willing to change the team uniforms and “start over.”

After all, applying the right tactics and executing a winning strategy is vital for success.  On the other hand, if GM Draghi told me the players would still be the same, the current coach would remain with the strategy unchanged, and yet, we would somehow conquer the past and win in the future, I am not sure our conversation would last very long.  Imagine any GM in Major League Baseball, the NBA, or the NFL, having lost season after season after season, telling his owner “don’t worry, the past doesn’t count, doing more of the same will result in a championship.” 

Being a good owner and staying responsive to the fans, I’d have to bid adieu to that GM and search for an immediate replacement. 

Indeed, if the European crisis was a professional sports team there would be a lot of people out of work, with the first name on the list being Mario Draghi. 

And Ben Bernanke would be next.