On Thursday, Hull City’s owner Assem Allam revealed that the Premier League side have been up for sale for five months.
Over the past 24 hours, both Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur’s owners have been rumored with selling their clubs. Then, the impending confusion over Aston Villa’s sale continues.
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Right now, four Premier League teams may be up for grabs as a real period of transition could sweep the league.
With Hull’s Egyptian owner putting the club up for sale, citing the FA’s decision to block his plans to change the name of the club to Hull Tigers back in April, on Thursday at a press conference he revealed he intends to sell the team if they lose their appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport to change the name. Interested parties are already lined up to buy Hull.
Reports on Wednesday suggested Spurs owner Joe Lewis was looking to cash in and sell Spurs for $1.7 billion but the club have since denied those reports. Elsewhere, Mike Ashley’s nightmare at Newcastle continues but reports suggest the owner may be looking to offload the Magpies. Aston Villa’s American owner Randy Lerner revealed his ambition to sell the club in May but the club have had no offers and Lerner has reluctantly carried on running the Birmingham club.
All of this, to me, suggest two things.
One: these owners see the booming finances of the Premier League peaking in the next few seasons and want to get out now. Two: they don’t want to keep pouring endless millions into clubs with plenty of risk involved. Or, quite simply, the owners may just fancy a change. Who knows.
Of course, unlike sports franchises in the U.S. we have just seen sold for several billions, (the LA Clippers and the Buffalo Bills come to mind) there is a huge amount of risk involved when buying PL teams. There is the possibility of relegation, which means a huge drop in revenue, fans not turning up in the lower leagues and financial ruin. Plus, the average wage continues to rise in the PL and so do transfer fees, as we saw in the recent record-breaking transfer window where $1.4 billion was spent on transfer fees alone.
Owners who picked up these clubs for a snip of what they were actually worth are now looking to cash in. Here’s a rough guide of the buying and selling prices of all four teams in question:
- Lewis bought a controlling stake in Spurs for $40 million back in 2001, he now wants $1.7 billion
- Lerner picked up Villa for a $100 million in 2008, trying to sell for $324 million
- Ashley paid $220 million for Newcastle in 2007, now looking for $373 million
- Allem rescued Hull in 2010, paying just $1.75 for the club… but pumped $75 million in. Value has doubled
So, those figures seem to suggest these four owners could make a substantial amount of cash if they got out now, or at the very least break even when you consider the amount of money they have pumped into their teams in transfer fees and wages over the past few seasons.
As many as four very interesting propositions could be up for grabs in the Premier League. Let’s see who fancies a crack at the risky business of owning a PL side.