Fans generally have many, often justified, criticisms of club owners so it’s nice to see praise for a change. At Mansfield Town’s annual meeting Darren Shaw, representing Stags Fans United, credited finance director Jim Beachill for his steadfast work on the club’s finances saying ‘Fans really appreciate it.’ Dean Foulkes, chairman of the Stags Supporters Association was even more effusive: ‘The finances are incredible, brilliant. People are so excited to support the club.’
Southampton fans have contacted me to express their concerns that their new Chinese owner, Chairman Gao, has no money to invest in the club having borrowed large sums to acquire it. Given that from the perspective of now minority ‘partner’, Katharina Liebherr, the whole point of the takeover was to provide much needed investment, this has to be a concern. Instead of going to the next level, the Saints may find it harder to stay at the present one.
The long march of China into English football has been going for some time now, but I have to admit that Barnsley was not on my short list of possible targets. However, it is being reported that they are in advanced talks with Chien Lee, the billionaire who is a majority shareholder in Nice and has been seeking an English club. He made his money with a hotel chain and an investment group.
There will be almost 20,000 empty seats at Tottenham Hotspur’s first Premier League match at Wembley because of restrictions imposed by Brent council and the Metropolitan Police. Spurs have sold about 70,000 tickets for one of their biggest matches of the season against Chelsea, including 3,000 to away fans.
The interest in taking over clubs outside the Premier League is increasing. A shift in club and investor behaviours has highlighted that it is clubs outside the Premier League have many attractive qualities, resulting in 40% receiving formal or informal approaches from potential equity investors in the last 12 months.
BDO’s annual survey of football club finance directors questioned more than 50 clubs in the English Premier League (EPL), English Football League Championship (FLC), Football Leagues One (FL1) and Two (FL2) and the Scottish Premiership (SP).
Premier League clubs have long been frustrated at their lack of success in the Champions League, falling foul of the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Bayern Munich etc. Now they have another super club to contend with in the shape of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Up to now there has been a tendency to dismiss what has been happening in France and it has to be admitted that the league as a whole is not that strong.
It looks likely that Premier League clubs will vote by the necessary two-thirds majority to bring the transfer window forward by two to three weeks to the start of the season. They meet on September 7th when 14 clubs have to vote in favour of the move.
The change would come into effect before the start of the 2018-19 season. The transfer window in January would be unaffected.