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Fulham Sale Adds to the Alarming US Takeover of English Football: Daily Soccer Report

fulham khan al fayed 600x450 Fulham Sale Adds to the Alarming US Takeover of English Football: Daily Soccer Report

The Guardian‘s resident anti-capitalist curmudgeon David Conn writes today that “no one seems to question why an increasing number of rich American businessmen are buying up England’s leading clubs.” It’s a fair question considering 30% of the Premier League teams are owned by Americans. But his comments have a tinge of anti-Americanism. After all, 60% of all Premier League clubs are owned by foreigners, so why pick on the Americans?

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Premier League

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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20 Responses to Fulham Sale Adds to the Alarming US Takeover of English Football: Daily Soccer Report

  1. Dean Stell says:

    I think the more interesting thing is why are these guys pouring their cash into English clubs when they could be pouring money into MLS clubs. I know that the English clubs have much longer traditions, established fanbases, etc. But I wonder too if there is something about MLS’s structure that deters uber-wealthy Americans from spending that money at home.

    • trickybrkn says:

      Because you don’t really ‘own’ a MLS club. The league controls most accepts of player ownership.. You can’t sell or buy players outright, that all goes through the league.

      And the obvious reason anyone would invest in a PL club is the worldwide TV contracts. Keep the club up you are afforded a very nice pay check from the league.

      NFL clubs used to be the vanity buy for a steady income flow in sport, but the EPL with its world wide popularity is well past them now.

      • Mufc77 says:

        Please tell me You’re joking about the MLS and how team and player ownership works?

        • trickybrkn says:

          not joking… It is changing, but a club would only retain the rights to a limited number of players.

          • Mufc77 says:

            So when the Philadelphia Union wants to buy Joe Blow from the LA Galaxy for 5 million who gets the money?

          • Clampdown says:

            He’s not kidding. Except for DPs, the player actually contracts with MLS and not the individual club. The league gains a large portion of a transfer fee. It’s a bizarre system, and I’m not sure why FIFA allows it.

  2. hoosiergunner says:

    I don’t really have anything intelligent to say on the subject, but I absolutely have mustache envy.

  3. Marc L says:

    The concern about this would in my mind be valid only if there was some move afoot to convert the EPL into some sort of “franchise” model a la the NFL and eliminate relegation. Or institute some whack US-standard “playoff” system.

    In theory, enough American NFL types plus the existing big players could equal enough votes to get something like that done.

  4. Marc L says:

    Oh, good to see from that photo that Ron Jeremy appears to be one of the new owners also. I’d have half expected him to get involved with West Ham (given who owns that club), but it is good to see the “Hedgehog” broadening his horizons.

  5. trickybrkn says:

    Not sure I would call David Conn anti capitalist. Sure his books of late have asked if buying a title is truly … well winning I suppose, but isn’t he actually right? Just look over the players that have come through Man City since the take over… This is a guy who was brought up with legends like Alan Oakes, who played at Man City from 1959 to 1976. Now players at Man City a lucky to last three. The culture of following a player come up and thrive and last a career is gone. And sure money changed that, and it is something to lament. just my 2¢..

    • Marc L says:

      Conn seems to be so utterly offended at the notion of a PLC owning a football club (railing again and again at how for-profit business entities “took over” clubs because of evil Sky SPorts and the institution of the EPL.) Like somehow English football was supposed to remain in some sort of pastoral, amateur, pre-capitalist state while the rest of the world moved on. The FA, being such a snow-shite and pure guardian of the interests of fans being subverted by clubs setting up corporate entities to get around their wonderful rules, etc.

      This is a complete misapprehension of just about everything on every level. If you know anything about the early history of the sport (at least after about 1900) you immediately see how this idealized image is anything other than what things really were like. The same sort of corrupt, sleazy junk has always gone on. “Buying” titles, politically-motivated persecutions by the FA of certain clubs (cough cough, Billy Meredith incident in 1906 – which David Conn of all people SHOULD know all about.)

      And don’t even get me started on Conn’s idealisation of the “Against Modern Football” crowd. Good god, about two good ideas from that lot amidst about 200 abhorrent ones.

      • trickybrkn says:

        Nice info on early footie… Well in his story about American owners he finishes with, no other country is selling its teams as fast as England… Well of course not no other country’s game is as popular as the EPL and has as high tv revenues world wide. I tend to project my own feelings into his writing in regard to keeping players and creating tradition. Man U may well be owned by a bunch of NFL owning US owners, but its culture is to have a base of players that are and will forever be Red. While bounce clubs don’t have that pleasure as they are lured by the huge price tags paid for players. So maybe I’m off target, but to me that is the issue with the game.

  6. Dust says:

    Only Top 5 club that is English owned?

    Spurs

    • Christopher Harris says:

      Technically Spurs are a foreign company, owned by a company registered in the Bahamas (ENIC).

      • Marc L says:

        But I think that is in fact the subsidiary of ENIC Group, which is registered in the UK. Which would technically make the true owner of SPurs a UK entity.

        This is the kind of thing David Conn always is whining about in fact. (Shell companies, parent/sub setups, etc.)

  7. CTBlues says:

    The English just miss the days when they ruled the world and are mad that they were usurped by one of their colonies.

    • liam says:

      moronic thing to sayenglish footbll didn’t need these foreign owners,the fans of those clubs probably think they do,but it’s embarrassing,other leagues function just fine without these owners who have no connection to te club,Conn is right,but i wouldn’t expect americans to understand as they are not immeresed in football culture.

      • Reagan says:

        Yeah but I don’t see English billionaires buying these clubs. Get mad if it makes you feel better but there’s no one to blame but yourselves. Your current owners want the best price possible and foreign owners, particularly Americans are the ones offering those prices thus buying clubs. The way to stop that is to take less money but we all know that’s not going to happen.

  8. Kagawa26 says:

    Well Manchester United will fall and has been crippled by the Glazere and the American owners in the Prem are all the worst owners. Im a German American and i dont get why the Prem doesnt let the fans run clubs like at the Bayerns Juves Reals and Barcas of the world. Having men like the Glazers who have been absent at all 3 Ucl finals that Utd havebeen in not be there is wrong. Abramovich goes to Chelsea games regularly and was at the Ucl final in 08 and the one in Munich. They didnt come to the biggest game of are season 3 times. That shows how much they care.

  9. DiscoBallsDeep says:

    the anti american sentiment is strong with the British.

    put up the money or STFU.

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