Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Another American Invasion

Last weekend there was an American invasion during the Fulham-Newcastle match. Four American field players saw time in the match. Today, there was another American invasion in the boardroom of EPL giant Liverpool. Americans George Gillett and Tom Hicks purchased the Reds after a Dubai group backed out. This is the third EPL team to have American owners after Malcolm Glazer and Al Lerner purchased Manchester United and Aston Villa, respectively. Gillett and Hicks both own NHL teams and Hicks also owns the Texas Rangers baseball team.

The Americans say that profit is not their primary motive for purchasing the team. That, I find, is very hard to believe. Who would pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 million for a team and not look for a return on the investment.

Gillett and Hicks are looking to compete with Chelsea and Man United to be the biggest and best club in the world. Whether this means they will turn into the American version of Roman Abramovich remains to be seen, but I wonder how the American takeover will be received. When Glazer purchase ManU the supporters went berserk, partially because he plunged the team into debt. Yet, Aston Villa fans welcomed Lerner as a new owner. For their parts, Hicks and Gillett have said there will be no debt foisted upon Liverpool in this purchase. All of this could make for an interesting arms race during the summer transfer period.

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