The impact of billionaire football club owners

December 2, 2023


Image Via Images_of_money

It’s been announced that the future of Portsmouth Football Club could be in jeopardy. CSI, the parent company that owns the club, went into administration and can no longer provide the funds neccessary.

It seems like another nail in Portsmouth’s coffin as administrators continue to swarm round the South London club. A rapid fall from grace has seen the club demoted from the Premier League to the Championship and are now on the brink of a 10 point deduction. It was only 2011 when Harry Redknapp took Pompey to Wembley and won the FA Cup.

The problems began when businessman Sacha Gaydamak bought the club and made huge sums of money available; they proceeded to bring in a whole new squad for club record amounts. Players were given massive bonuses to win games too. In essence, Portsmouth bought that FA Cup. Today, Portsmouth are hurtling towards non-existence due to spending an influx of money. Harry Redknapp has placed the blame soley on the shoulders of Gaydamak. He insists the owner didn’t want to put any more money into the club and was looking to sell.

Is there an argument for curtailing such takeovers of football clubs? Man City are perhaps the best example. How the fortunes have turned for Manchester’s poorer brother since Sheik Mansour took the reins.

But last month the club announced a record breaking loss of £194.9 million, mainly due to their £174 million wage bill. In the last four years, the club have spent more than £360 million in transfers. That’s more than what Alex Ferguson has spent in his 25 year tenure just across the city.

Some have voiced their opinions on the issue. Napoli’s president has suggested the billionaire owner will leave if success is not forthcoming in the near future, while Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger doubts whether the financial fair play rule will be successful at stopping clubs that spend big like Man City.

This is not only an occurrence in England. French side Paris Saint Germain and La Liga’s Malaga have also seen huge investments that have led to big name signings. It’s almost a toy for these billionaires; like a real life game of Football Manager. What happens when they get bored and decide to pursue some other whimsy?

Creating a successful and sustainable football club is difficult though. Look at Arsenal for instance. They may spend little money compared to their Premier League counterparts, but it has to be said they are slowly stagnating. Time will tell if Arsenal are right for watching the pennies.

It’s not only the club that suffers. A club in crisis affects the people who work at the club; it also has an impact on the city. Each weekend, cities across the country benefit from increased sales from travelling fans. It’s something I think these billionaire owners don’t take into account. Are trophies in the cabinet worth the risk of a future financial crisis?

Do you think billionaire football club owners are ruining the game? Tell us in the comments section below.


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