US Owners Are All About Quick Profit
Is it time we looked a little more closely at American owners coming into the Premier League and ask the question, do they know what the hell they are doing?
The Glazers have presided over a huge spend at Old Trafford last summer, with what effect? Fulham went from Mo Al Fayed to Mr Khan, and they are languishing in the Championship, a place where Randy Lerner’s Aston Villa will be next season.
John W Henry is learning fast that a big initial spend can put you in peril, and club building isn’t just about spending big bucks but building and trusting the right man in the hot seat. This is something they are only just doing, and Sunderland under Ellis Short, are probably only 12 months behind Villa in the race to the Championship.
So why is this? Many of these guys have owned or do own franchises in US sports, so they should know better.
But that’s where the comfort factor for English football fans end and the nagging questions should begin.
There’s no relegation for The Boston Red Sox, or the Jacksonville Jaguars, nor for Lerner’s former charges the Cleveland Browns.
They only see initial blitzkrieg investment into their English clubs as almost a cast iron guarantee of some sort of progress, just like in US sports.
Although, in England we have a lovely big R word, relegation, which means unless you address management, recruitment, the right characters and personalities at a club, you’re in trouble, and the good old Yankee Dollar unfortunately can’t compete these days with the Abramovich roubles and the bottomless pit of Dirham that Abu Dhabi brings to Man City.
Time For Change
So what must your American owner do to get it right?
Less leveraged debt, meaning owners should have to prove beyond doubt that they have enough money to put a bond up front to show that their money isn’t borrowed, or that their financial input isn’t gambled against future Premier League earnings, or the size and income of the club. This is something the Glazers in particular have become very good at.
The interesting thing about US owners is that they are all about quick profit, very rarely about building or sustainability,
…something even the Abu Dhabi ownership have done well at; investing big time to pay them long and hard in 10, 20 and 30 years time. In other words they aren’t just there to flip the club quickly, make a fast profit and scoot back to the land of the free.
I’ve yet to see one tangible success story of an American owner in the US who’s then come to the UK and done well, not one, and that must be worrying. They get a free pass largely from criticism in my opinion as they speak our language, are often larger than life characters and talk the talk, but, with increasing frequency can’t walk the walk.
So it’s time that we treated US owners with the suspicion which they deserve, rather than the sports industry pros they pretend to be. One world title for Boston Red Sox amongst a number of high profile owners who’ve come for the Premier League riches isn’t good enough, so lets be as critical of them as we rightly are about owners from other parts of the world.