I hope no one is naive enough to believe the Chelsea spinmasters when they say that Abramovich bought the club because he likes football and he loves the club.
And then they take that and say that THAT is the biggest difference between him and other businessmen taking over football clubs.
Or when George Gillett, new co-owner of Liverpool FC, says:
“This isn’t about making money. This is about winning, passion and tradition.”
Oldest trick in the world, playing with the people’s emotions and getting them to support whatever cause the rich think will make them even richer.
Sidenote: Incidentally, BBC has an interesting article on the takeover trends in football – most interesting is the amount of money different chairmen and stakeholders have made when cashing out on such takeovers. Take a look.
Football, at the end of the day, has turned into serious business. That’s what you get when you have raving mad crowds thirsty for the sport and more importantly, desperate to see their team perform on the pitch.
Here’s a free lesson in Business 101 for you:
1) Find a thirsty crowd – football fans are some of the thirstiest crowds around.
2) Give them what they want – fans want wins, which come from investing in players and coaches and youth academies and scouting networks.
3) Find a way to bring them back – football is hard-wired as a repeat business, so that’s taken care of.
Is it any wonder that TV revenues from 2007/2008 onwards will be insanely higher in the Premiership. Premiership football is a marketer’s wet dream – they’ve spread so effectively across the world that it’s impossible to NOT get Prem football wherever you are. Money’s there to be minted, and you’d be foolish not to take advantage of it if you had the chance (and the money to invest).
At the end of the day, no one wants to throw money away on something they love forever – Abramovich, if you remember, has the money-making instinct in his blood. Hick and Gillett have business-sense hardwired in their brains.
They’re not in this for love – love helps, yes, but money is what makes the world turn around (unfortunately, I might add), and however idealistic you might get about owners loving their clubs, it is always – ALWAYS – tempered by sound business sense.
And this applies to all takeovers – Manchester United, Portsmouth, West Ham, Sunderland, Aston Villa, the investment in Everton. Expect more clubs to be sold, expect more money to be pumped into the Premiership, all in the name of ‘love for football’, but for the single purpose of making money.