Friday, June 11, 2010

Football !... Soccer!.. Playing in a dealing room near you....

Oh dear. Football is about to dominate the markets and Team Macro Man are crap at football. Since they have always been surrounded at work by so many experts in the field of "Foopball" they have never needed to nurture any knowledge of their own. The name of any goalkeeper's granny can always be gleaned within nanoseconds from the veritable verbal wikipedia that surrounds them.

Dont get us wrong though , we have picked up a few things.

That man in black is the equivalent to the FSA/SEC. He chases along, following the game rather than leading it, throwing down retrospective edicts and punishments. He often forgets he is on the pitch rather than viewing from afar and that any new rule will change the flow of play in unforeseen and unintended ways.

Linesmen - Compliance officers. not actually on the pitch, but run up and down on the sidelines enforcing the bidding of the man in black, pointing the finger of blame at anyone they think might have transgressed one of the anachronistic rules. Not as important as the man in black, though they think they are. Have been given flags to wave to make them look more authoritative but they would rather have big whistles (so to speak).

The Goalkeeper - He's a large US ex-investment bank, the only one allowed to cheat by handling the ball and who shouts at the rest of the team when he isn't doing anything else. The rest of the team's performance is inversely correlated to the proximity he is to the action.

Strikers - Petulant overpaid primadonna's who are given the best position on the pitch from which to score Goals. Idolised and worshipped by the fans, tolerated by the management because of the goals handed to them on a plate, hated by the rest of their team mates who do the graft and who finally come a cropper by being caught out doing something they shouldn't. At which point they suddenly find they haven't got any mates. Sound familiar?

The Coach - Desk head, one level above the guys who play the matches. Only on the pitch to train and encourage, the rest of the time is spent shuffling papers. Was once a lesser name himself. Teaches traditional skills he learnt in the old days in the old fashioned way. Under pressure from above to get results which produces unpredictable mood swings of shouting, yelling and snap punishments, mixed with teary reminiscences of the glory days.

The Manager - Glass goldfish bowl on the floor above. Plays numbers, people and politics with equal skill. Has trodden on a lot of people to get where he is both on and off the field. Gets away with bad mouthing the competition and anyone internally in his way, though to the investors he is sweetness and light and a man who brings in results. If he doesn't - he s out at the end of the season. Sometimes an old successful striker (see above) who hasn't tripped himself up so far.

Scoring a A Goal - "My Goal! My Goal! My Goal!" - Obviously completing a deal. Everyone who touched the ball or came within 20 yards of it in the last 1/2 hour wants a piece of the glory. Victory dances are often over the top, self indulgent and upset the away supporters. Sometimes involve large bills for Petrus.

Conceding a Goal - "Your fault, Your fault, Your fault," - Missing the deal. Everyone denies any part in the episode, finger pointing ensues with the blame finally being firmly stuck on the back of the person who really wasn't involved and hadn't even noticed the event. Normally the youngest player.

The offside rule - designed to stop a "Kerviel" or "Leeson". Overly complicated, hard to understand, hugely debatable and normally spotted too late. Everyone blames everyone else once denying the occurrence of the offence it was designed to stop fails.

The Fouls - Well how are we meant to beat our competitors without pushing the envelope of risk and rules? If caught protest your innocence vehemently and then blame the bloke in black for being an idiot (see above). The punishments are normally light enough not to deter future attempts. "Unlucky you were caught".

A Penalty - Being handed a near certain winner because of someone else's cock-up or conning the man in black into believing an injustice has been suffered. JPMorgan were awarded a penalty and scored a "Bear Stearns".

Lloyds Plc , however, managed to completely muff a sitter when they were awarded a penalty, kicking the ball straight back into their own faces to score a "Halifax".

So we hunker down and brace ourselves for a new round of nationalism which really isn't needed. There is too much of it elsewhere at the moment with the England/USA match billed for tomorrow kicking off a week early via Obama vs BP. Every rule has been challenged and broken. Protests are fierce on and off the pitch and no one knows where the man in black is......or was.

May your favourite team win ............. unless it's playing ours.


Dario said...

Ah, the World Cup! A curious moment in world history that occurs every four years, except in the USA.

I have to schedule production in my factory around the games, shut down the lines, and put big screen projectors on the floor so everyone can watch. If I didn't do this, nobody would show up for work when the national team plays.

Do you guys in the finance world do the same thing?

impatriate said...

One wonders what President Yomama would prefer more: a US victory over England on the football pitch, or in court? (Of course, given that BP employs more than twice as many people in the US as the UK, a comprehensive victory in the latter arena would be Pyrrhic, at best.....)

Nemo Incognito said...

Dario: yes. CNBC/bloomberg generally get taken offline and switched to sports. Expect market volumes to be thin for the next month or so.

Leftback said...

US-based bears and gold bugs should be warned that the market and even the Euro is likely to drift up listlessly for a few weeks on remarkably low volume, almost as though nobody actually cared about trading for some odd reason....

The opener has been a massive yawn as usual, so far. LB is waiting to watch the frogs take on a tricky opponent in Uruguay this afternoon. A French loss always makes my day.

Many many Americans who know little about football have told me that England always choke and are over-rated, which makes me quite optimistic, really.

Obviously I am shaking in my boots at the idea of Joe Cole and Aaron Lennon having to be marked by the legendary USA full-backs Spector and Cherundolo. No doubt Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard will be neutralized by Bradley and Holden. It's a foregone conclusion, England are outclassed.

Diogo said...

I guess it's nice to have a TV in the office. Same thing happens in the US markets during march madness.
For those who haven't receive it, here is Goldman's piece on the World Cup, which they produce every 4 years:

England hasn't done anything memorable since it hosted and won it in '66. Not expecting it to do anything but choke again. It will be fun to watch them lose against the US.


Leftback said...

Goldman's piece....?? .... don't make me larf.... !!

Given the stunning success of GS recent calls - e.g. on the direction of EURUSD (0/4 and counting), one might be forgiven for using their piece as a contrarian indicator.

Anyway, the yakking and posturing is all over, now it's game on..... and remember - the first game in the group rarely eliminates anyone.

mythoughts said...

Since I live in the country of the (most likely) worst team in the entire tournament (hey, at least we qualified - that was remarkable in itself), I will be happy with anything other than three losses.

LB, I always enjoy seeing the French lose, too (for some reason).

I wondered if we might see the original MM lurking around. We have a spotting today. :)

I like the low volume days when no one is paying much attention. There is usually a bit of low-hanging fruit (and I am set up for a drift of risk assets higher over the next few weeks).

Nemo Incognito said...

mythoughts - are you Kim Jong Il?

Richard said...

If the analogy with the Goalie is correct does that mean that after England's performance tonight, GS are about to fumble the SEC case into their own net?