Skip to main content

"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme



Hull sale closer

The sale of Hull City moved closer after a 'heads of agreement' document was filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange.  A Far East consortium is prepared to pay £130m for the club.

The buying consortium, GreaterChina, says that it sees 'unparalleled opportunities' to promote the club to a Chinese audience.  

They would face competition for that audience from the growing number of English owners of Chinese clubs.   It is a big market, the biggest available, but it has its limits.

Forest sale would have some unusual conditions

The owners of football clubs sometimes have some unrealistic expectations about the price their club might fetch when they try to sell.   However, the conditions apparently being attached to the sale of Nottingham Forest are among the most extraordinary I can recall.

Birmingham City takeover completed

The takeover of Birmingham City by Trillion Trophy Asia has at last been completed after a 16 month process.  It ends the seven year period of ownership of Carson Yeung who was jailed for money laundering in 2014.  The deal values the club at £12.3m.

New effort to sell Notts County

Notts County chairman and majority shareholder Ray Trew has made a new effort to sell the club.   He has approached local businessman Alan Hardy who has made two bids for the club in the past.  He thinks that the world's old professional team has the potential to reach the Championship

Trew has had talks with potential buyers from China and the United States and also with a UK hedge fund, but these do not seem to have gone anywhere.

Trew originally put a price tag of £8m to £10m on the club.

Second phase of football investment

We are now into a second phase of global investment in English football, according to Rory Smith, writing in the latest issue of Four Four Two.

He argues that the Manchester City takeover in 2008 was a watershed.   The amount it cost Sheikh Mansour to turn City into a top class Premier League outfit was much more than the money spent by Roman Abramovich on Chelsea.

Morecambe becomes first Brazilian owned club

With teams in the Premier League and the Championship snapped up, the attention of foreign investors is turning to Leagues One and Two where they hope there may be bargains to be had.   Morecambe was put up for sale in March and has become the first club to be acquired by a Brazilian investor.

A list and B list Chinese investors

As clubs looking for buyers and investors welcome the new wave of Chinese investors, it is as well to remember that not all of them may be of high quality.

The tale of Birmingham City is a cautionary one.   Acquired in 2009 by Carson Yeung, a former hair salon proprietor, the team was relegated to the Championship and remains there for now.  Yeung was jailed in Hong Kong in 2014 for money laundering and the club remains barely known in China.

A toxic brand

Foreign owners sometimes acquire clubs in order to boost their brands, both in their domestic market and globally.   However, when the Indian conglomerate Venky's took over Blackburn Rovers, it quickly became apparent that, while they might know something about chickens, they didn't understand much about football.

The one time Premier League champions have been effectively run into the ground.  At the bottom of the Championship, attendances are falling and financial problems are increasing.   Turnover has fallen from £58m a year to £12m a year under Venky's.

Liverpool bid confirms interest of reds

We have been focusing a great deal in the last month or two on the state-led long march of Chinese investors into English football.   This has been confirmed by the interest of China Everbright, a state-backed investment company, in making a bid for Liverpool.

Is Carlisle bid for real?

One of the difficulties with reports about takeover bids is sorting out those which are substantive and those which are flights of the imagination.   There have been cases in the past of bidders for football clubs not having the funds they claimed to possess or promised to invest.   In one or two cases they actually proceeded to acquistion with disastrous results for the club concerned.