Tuesday, December 19, 2006

View From The Away End

On the day of Newcastle United plc's AGM, it seemed appropriate to provide you with the latest installment of our View From The Away End feature, in which we asked El Tel to give us his views on the current spate of big money takeovers which are happening in the Premiership.


El Tel: "From the Buccaneering Glazers of Manchester to the West Ham Biscuit Baron, to the imminent New Messiahs of Liverpool and Newcastle, we are undoubtedly in the Footballing Age of the Overseas Investor. For these individuals and consortia, football is about what it can generate – either directly, or as a component in an integrated marketing portfolio – ‘selling soccer to the Americans, its equivalent to the Brits, and using each to sell other stuff’ - that sort of thing. But is it good?

It’s far too late to speak of ‘protecting’ football – as a live spectator sport – for the common man. £30-£50 minimum for a single Premiership home match ticket suggests that that was a fight that never was, but that still managed to be lost anyway – and therein lies the tension that faces the fans of these new investment targets, sorry, ‘football clubs’. What will it mean for ‘us’?

Let’s take Newcastle: pipping Villa to the crown, probably the greatest British footballing under-achiever over the past decade (at least). And why? Poor footballing decisions, decision-makers, and the ugly degenerative aura of that Fred Elliott bloke. So, replace him and all will be well?

Perhaps. For one or two of the in-coming (incoming?) investors, this Premiership football thing will be akin to a hobby enterprise – ‘my club’s bigger than your’s’ type of thing. I’d put Chelsea Roman and Hammer Eggert in this camp. And with that, there’ll be the lucre for big money signings – some of which will work, and some of which won’t. Thus, in terms of this takeover business, there will be on-the-pitch successes and on-the-pitch failures. Put quite simply, as competitors’ short-term financial inputs cancel each other out, it’ll be the people who are making key spending, coaching and tactical decisions that determine whether these investors are to yield good or bad football results. And what does that mean? Simple: Mr Roeder, when is that next transfer window?"


Thanks to El Tel for his views.

If you would like to get involved in future View From the Away End features, please drop us an email at the address in the sidebar.

Update: Kevin McCarra's view on the subject of takeovers in football, as published in today's Guardian, is available to read here.


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