Monday, November 27, 2006

West Ham takeover raises the stakes

IN AN act that was either fatuous or farcical, the FA Premier League ran fit-and-proper persons checks over the Icelandic bankers and biscuit makers before sanctioning their £85m purchase of West Ham United last week. The deal was approved before David Richards, the Premier League chairman, knelt before the Queen for his knighthood. Sir David has risen as his former club Sheffield Wednesday has fallen into debt. His way of muddling through club chairmanship was perhaps typically British, but as buyers from Iceland to Siberia to the Americas and the Far East come to buy our clubs, who is fit and proper to judge their means or intentions? Who can tell whether Roman Abramovich pouring in Russian roubles is good for Chelski, let alone for England in the long term? Who knows exactly why Randy Lerner acquired Aston Villa for £63m, why the Glazers took on £500m of debt to buy Manchester United, or what attracts foreign investment in Portsmouth, Fulham, Hearts, and coming shortly Liverpool and possibly Newcastle United? Six Premiership clubs are totally bankrolled from abroad.

Read More