Monday, September 04, 2006

Second bid for Irons raises issues for Charlton

A second bid has now been made for West Ham football club by Georgian businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili who owns Dynamo Tiblisi. This follows the earlier bid by Iranian born businessman Kia Joorabchian, although he has links with the Georgian through the Corinthians club in Brazil.

What's the Charlton relevance? Well, West Ham has been a family owned club. Attempts by international financiers to take it over means that investors are looking beyond the top Premiership clubs for less well established clubs with potential. West Ham has a number of assets such as its stadium and training ground, but so does Charlton. It is perhaps a measure of the gap that has opened up between the two clubs that it is the Irons who are attracting investment interest.

How would Charlton fans feel about a similar takeover at The Valley? That would in part depend on the identity of the bidder. However, such a bid would release funds that would enable the club to buy players of the calibre that could make it a real competitor for Europe. Against that, fans might feel that the character of the club had changed.

What is clear is that the financial basis of Premiership football is going through another period of change. Perhaps the best outcome at Charlton would be for more outside investors to be brought in, as has been happening on a smaller scale, but for control to remain in large part with the existing board.


Blogger colin from welling said...

Good points Wyn, and there are definite similarities between us and the Hamsters which could mean we are eventually linked with such takeovers.

Talking in terms of total takeover personally I am thoroughly opposed to such a move for similar reasons to most fans - that the club is where it is today because those involved at the top end are as passionate about the club as we are. It's an ideological thing. I think most true supporters would not trade the club's soul for the riches (and possible success) such investment would bring.

Looking at from a less impassioned POV now, the level of investment you allude to, large scale investment rather than takeover, should be the most that is ever considered.

A total takeover wouldn't work for us and clubs of our size simply because, for the bigger names, when the arse falls out of the market - and it will sooner rather than later - the size of the brand will ensure the investor has reason to retain interest. For the rest of us we would simply become a liability, at best an umnwanted plaything, at worst an entity in which the investor has no material interest and this will lead to the kind of decay that saw the club nearly go out of business before.

While there are definite similarities, there remains a key difference between us and the hamsters which means we should never go down the takeover road.

FWIW, UEFA have even got involved in the debate and sounded a note of extreme caution with regard to the current trend toward foreign investment:

12:45 PM  
Blogger worcestershireleaburn said...

THis is all bad news for football in my view. Look at what's happening at Fulham, the wealthy owner is no longer interested, and the club will probably struggle to stay in the Premiership this season. If they get relegated, I suspect they will be sold.

6:23 PM  

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