It has been said quite often during the speculations on future owners of West Ham United that "English Premiere League clubs are attractive business propositions for investors".
Usually the TV-money is then presented as a fountain of wealth, implying that this is a completely safe investment.

Nowadays “a club as a safe investment” has a positive ring to it. This was not always the case.
There was a lot of turmoil when Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United. Here was this foreigner who had no connections with real football and just saw this as a way to make money, how did he dare? Glazer was met by the slogan "For the love, not for the money".

But then along came a totally different brand of owners. Abramovich was not primarily seeing the takeover of Chelsea as a business opportunity, but as a project he could enjoy in his spare time, and get to hang with footballers and football decision makers at the same time.
Abramovich paved the way and now we have also seen Shinawatra and the new owners of ManC - Abu Dhabi United Group.

Today this seems to be the normal profile of people being linked with club takeovers. They are not investors that sees the club as good business, nor are they connected to the particular club they are buying, but rather they are filthy-rich people wanting a football club as a cute accessory, or as Keith Harris calls it “a trophy asset", to match their filthy-rich lifestyle.
And Keith Harris should know. He is the deal maker behind the Icelandic takeover of our Club, and has also been instrumental in three other PL club takeovers the last two years.

I have always considered BG and Eggs to be “Abramovich lights”. They had no previous connections with the club and it was by no means within their core business (and it was sometimes embarrassingly obvious that Eggs enjoyed his time with the footballers), but at the same time they (or at least BG) needed the club to be a decent investment.

West Ham have been linked with a few potential buyers of late, and it seems like filthy-rich people are over represented.

Now, if filthy-rich people really want just about any club, how come several clubs are up for sale, and have been for some time?
Keith Harris says "...people are wondering: 'Should we?' Is now the time to spend the money? Should I be buying what are essentially trophy assets today?"

And if the ones that not really care about the money says this, you can imagine the hesitation of proper investors.

I'm not saying there is no buyer for West Ham, but all potential buyers will be very aware of the costs and, unfortunately, additional costs that may appear down the road.

No comments: