Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of! Football Finance

Setting up own goals

Posted by John Beech on August 17, 2010

I’m not one given to railing against foreign owners in principle, providing that is that they are not absentee owners.  Lately though we seem to be finding foreign owners attracted to English clubs who just do not seem to have an appreciation of what is going on English football, and unaware of the obvious mistakes that can be made.  And no, I’m not just thinking Sulaiman Al Fahim and Ali Al Faraj.

At Leicester City, we have new Thai owners (1).  The head of the incoming consortium (although it is his father’s money that is at stake), 25 year-old Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn (apparently known as ‘Top’) has announced that “I believe the club have the opportunity to compete in the Championship and go to the Premier League next season“.  Oh dear, the dreaded A-word – ambition.  His father has said ‘they did not want to make money out of the club, but provide the cash to ensure they got into and stayed in the top tier of English football’ according to the report.  In another report (2), he is “committed to funding new players to get the club into the Premier League”, without raising ticket prices.  Surely at least a whiff of financial doping there, and either an ignorance of, or a refusal to comply with, the incoming UEFA Financial Fair Play protocol

Meanwhile at Blackburn, Ahsan Ali Syed,through his company Western Gulf Advisory, is making his pitch to buy the club from the Trustees of the late Jack Walker.  He claims “he does not want to buy the club for its business potential but to fuel his “passion” for football” (3).  He is reported as saying ‘he wanted to give manager Sam Allardyce a transfer kitty of up to £100million‘.  Irrespective of the ambiguous term ‘give’, this is blatant financial doping, and again the intent is flout the Financial Fair Play protocol.

This kind of action is not going to do the game any good.  Same old, same old ‘benefaction’, but on a larger scale.  If either press on regardless, there will be tears before bedtime, although no doubt having managed to get the respective fans greatly over-excited on the way.

What the new Owners & Directors Test needs is a section testing wannabe owners on the provisions and timescale of the Financial Fair Play protocol.  It would avoid an awful lot of false hope.


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