Tony Fernandes enjoys public life it seems.
In December he took a very active part in his company's yearly party in a way that none of the owners of "my" companies ever has. Good for him and maybe for his employees I think, but it also tells me he enjoys the limelight a bit. He Twitters about his Upton Park trips and that's fine. I have never felt the need to tell the world when I go to a game, but then I realize the world wouldn't be interested. Nothing wrong with his Twittering but I think one can conclude that his public image is important to him.
Take the "Branson stewardess challenge" for an example. As Tony and Branson both own an airline and a F1 team (OK, Tony is CEO, not the owner – another hint) they made a very public pub-ish bet that the one with the team that ends up below the other in the F1 circuit will do a days job in a stewardess outfit in the other's airline. Not a bad image building publicity stunt.
It’s in this context I see the “Soon they will have an owner who will make a difference and care” Twitter message, the meetings with Zola, and his tour of the facilities. I wouldn’t be surprised if he genuinely wants to be the next owner, but so do I. What kind of priority does he give this piece of business? He may be a huge fan but he lives in an economic reality, or at least Rothchilds does, and Tony is no dummie. He knows that there is a limit to his influence over this deal, a limit where his money or his ability to persuade others to invest no longer suffice.
Supposedly there was a Bank Meeting yesterday where the Straumur appointed Knight - Rothchilds - are supposed to have met up with interested bidders, together with the banks, to try to make sure if the bidders are for real. Tony sent representatives…
He was ready to go to the Wolves game but not to a meeting about acquiring the Club? Make your own deduction.
You all need to read the Times-on-line article HERE where it says that Tony missed a deadline. In these cases a deadline is not really a deadline as a seller with this much at stake most likely would wait another day or two if he really believes it would mean getting a better bid. Missing a deadline in these circumstances, however, may show that the bidder is not able (or even wanting) to put his money where his mouth is.
This, as you may have grasped by the build-up, is my worry. Tony wants to be involved, wants to be seen, wants to be accepted and loved, wants to get media exposure.
But then so do I.
When did he realize he would come up short? When did the genuine attempt to be the next Club owner turn into a charade?
He really has nothing to lose in behaving like this has he? He will be remembered/regarded as the guy who really wanted to buy the Club but for reasons out of his control was unable to.
If I had an airline I would bet a days job in a stewardess outfit that I can take his blog and Twitter site off the “Sites of Interest” list soon.
(There is an Intermarket twist to that Rotshild/bidders meeting but if you read the Time-piece, and choose to believe it, you know and this post was on Tony)