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Takeover or Turnover?

By Bristol Boy

So there I was having a cup of tea and some toast with Mrs Bristol Boy when a text followed closely by a phone call comes in: 'Rumours of a takeover from a consortium of Foreign businessman.'

Good news or bad? The way forward or the road to ruin? Well, first of all, let’s look at the “facts” as they are reported in various Sunday Newspapers.

Foreign businessmen obviously established in this country and football supporters who regularly attend Premiership Football. I like that.

They want a controlling interest. Well, if I was putting £40m into City or anything else for that matter, so would I, so I’m not concerned about that.

Looking at Foreign investors overall record in our game, we probably do them a disservice by disrespecting their intentions when one views their record at Pompey, Chelsea, Fulham and Man Utd. Even Blackpool appear to be on the up after decades in the doldrums.

Then there’s Romanov (just to balance the discussion).

Liverpool HAD to sell out if they wanted to compete at the very top level. Just pause for a moment and think about that. LIVERPOOL.

As far as suspicion goes, the British view seems to be that we can do everything better than Johnny Foreigner and this probably has more to do with this than any hard evidence. If you look at Knighton & Risdale or even those recently jailed at Exeter as examples of what British Chairman, nay fans, can do, then it may prompt a rethink.

Then look at John Majdeski who took Reading from a status similar to Brentford to a club that we have to look up to and one that has regularly poached the cream of our best young talent and one that may do so again with Cole Skuse looking set to move in the near future. Another look at the Jacks: Walker & Hayward at Blackburn & Wolves. There is further evidence that it’s all about the person, not nationality or location however, that’s a separate and it seems, unrelated issue, so let’s just park it.

Clubs like Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Fulham, Reading, Portsmouth & Bolton have moved past us when once they were our competitors and even smaller clubs. Of those, three were lead by local men and two by Foreigners. Two have completely new stadiums.

We are all, well I am, sick to death of hearing about our catchment area and what a big club we are. That other word, 'potential' will no doubt rear it’s ugly head for the umpteenth time.

Lots of fans are talking about 2-3 more new signings and a takeover, I believe, would only add to the attraction of joining us.

There is no need to sell and no desperation on the part of the Chairman who is a highly successful businessman in his own right, along with being very rich personally. However he has always said that if the right offer came along and it was in the best interests of Bristol City he’d step aside.

The manager will soon be signing a new contract and the stadium has been tidied up in preparation for our first season back in The Championship. Two signings have been made and more are promised. In fairness to GJ, he said July and before pre-season training which commences next week and Sproule’s signing is potentially an exciting one of a player who can get the fans on their feet (Hopefully not banned or ejected though!). Henderson looks a good prospect to understudy Basso and Weale who’ll hopefully put his injury worries behind him and emerge as real competition for Basso this season. Plans for a new training ground are mooted.

Should GJ be concerned?

The answer to that is probably a little more than at present as new owners mean new relationships and that’s always tricky in any business, football more so. As always, it’s about pure & simple success, although success is a relative concept in Football. I like talk of a 3-5 year plan to gain Premiership status. That shows ambition tempered by realism and common sense.

Lots of fans are talking about 2-3 more new signings and a takeover, I believe, would only add to the attraction of joining us.

One season of Premiership football is worth £50m/£60m on the basis that you’re relegated at the first time of asking, so anyone looking for motive should look no further, although there is also risk. Further motive could be that these guys are genuine football fans or that they have egos the size of France, who knows and SL’s due diligence should give a better view of that.

I suppose if SL thinks it’s right for BCFC and his family, he’ll go for it and there will be many hard negotiations ahead. As I said earlier, there is no need to sell and the only pressure will come from fans demanding success. The figure of £40million that has been mentioned would, on the face of it, pay for the redevelopment of the Williams & East End, pay off any debts and still leave more money at GJ’s disposal for “squad strengthening” as signing better, more talented players is euphemistically referred to.

Whilst it sounds a fortune, in football terms, it’s not and if the current shareholders wanted out, as opposed to selling off part of their shareholding, I’ve no idea how much that would cost. The worst person to buy anything from is someone with no real need or desire to sell and our Chairman probably falls into that category.

One thing’s for sure, the agent’s phone will be red hot with people who’ll take that cash and a lot less for Control of their clubs.

Could this really be something massive or just another “Bradford-On-Avon” job and a massive disappointment?

We’ll have to wait and see.

Oh well, it’s certainly livened up a dull close season…any more news on signings??

The views expressed in this 'Soapbox' section are those of the author of each article and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bristol City Supporters Trust

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