Purchasing a professional soccer club typically involves millions, if not billions, of dollars. This is clearly evident in recent years. American businessman Todd Boehly was part of Chelsea’s $5.2 billion takeover last year. Manchester United’s Glazer family is also hoping to rake in a similar fee when/if they sell the team. However, one man in England found a much cheaper option.
Matt Uggla, a 29-year-old Arsenal supporter, recently became owner of Yeovil Town in a deal worth roughly $1.25. The team based in Somerset, England has bounced around various divisions of the English pyramid over the last 25 years or so. In fact, the Glovers have played in the seventh-tiered Isthmian League as recently as 1997 and they managed to climb up to the second-tiered Championship by 2013. However, tough times have once again struck Yeovil Town.
Club faces relegation from National League
The club is currently sitting 22nd in the fifth-tiered National League. This is the same division as popular Welsh side Wrexham. While Wrexham are heading for promotion to League Two, Yeovil Town have confirmed relegation from the division. They will spend next season back in National League South.
While Uggla has taken over the team for essentially nothing, he will have to invest some fairly serious money into the team. The businessman claims that he will basically have to start from scratch. “We have inherited a bare-bones club,” said Uggla. “The previous regime left nothing, not even a physio[therapist].”
Young owner looks to other clubs to bring back Yeovil Town
The new ownership is apparently hoping to replicate recent success stories such as Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion. Both Premier League clubs were playing fourth-tiered soccer in recent years. Brentford played in League Two as recently as 2009. Brighton, on the other hand, managed to be promoted from League Two in 2001. Both clubs are now in the top half of the Premier League table.
Uggla will run Yeovil Town alongside friend and retired English rugby player Paul Sackey. After purchasing the club, Uggla bought a round of beers for the team’s 2,000 traveling supporters at the next match. While he realizes that money needs to be invested into the club, Uggla also acknowledges the need to be smart about it as well. “The aim is to get out of this league, but we’re not going to be silly about it,” claimed the new owner.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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