Forest are rumoured to be talking to three interested parties right now, and in advanced talks, and this is where I begin to worry now. I worry because you don't know what exactly is going to happen in the next weeks and months as the long term future begins to unravel. Don’t make any mistake that any interested parties will want to see where future lies are before making their final show of hands and wanting to know just where their investment will be next season as this would affect any potential prices paid.
I worry because any new chairman is a step into the unknown. You could end up with a wonderful chairman willing to invest away and get us back up. More likely this won’t happen. To be honest who exactly would want to invest now? My immediate question about anyone coming in is would they have the best interest of the club, or merely see us an investment opportunity, meant to maximise profit and not look after the best interest of the club long term,
There are all too many examples of new chairman at other clubs coming in heralding a new dawn, and delivering, well frankly nothing. Portsmouth as good example as any. Three to four chairmen after another have come in and essentially asset stripped or mis-managed the club to the brink of very extinction. Look over the river, Notts County on our doorstep had this great amazing investment, that proved to be completely groundless and merely an attempt to be an acceptable face of a shady investment organisation.
Look all around the football league and there are worrying clues that people investing here might not be for the best hopes. Cardiff and Leicester have Asian investors who have spent large sums of cash. And for what? Remember the Channel 4 Dispatches programme that showed South East Asian investors looking for clubs to buy cheap and then seek to sell on. Well Leicester and Cardiff are prime examples. Sizeable clubs with brand new stadia on the brink of h Premiership. Buy them now whilst in turmoil and sell them on in 2 or 3 years a Premier Club for a profit. Wonderful, these people take you back up!!! If it succeeds that is, and the finances are built on very shaky grounds. Wages are a large part of turnover which will soon be outlawed. Vast sums neither spent on players nor performing. If they don’t go up, how sustainable are these?
Because how much does a short term investor care about investing in the grass roots of the club. The youth teams, the community aspect to bring a new generation of fans, and all that goes with it. These were things that Doughty identified as needed, as this is why, despite what the morons over at Vital say, are vital for any club. You need that constant supply of home grown talent, connections with the City. Doughty for example identified that many local business rely on the club so avoided administration so they didn’t suffer too. Portsmouth and Leicester in their spells before have avoided spending thousands owed to St John’s Ambulance or the local Scouts. That’s ridiculous and screws over the wider community. Football clubs sit at that core.
Any anyone who argues is simply being short sighted. If a new owner had bought Forest and tried moving them to another city, as happens in the USA and happened of course will MK Dons thy would be the first to decry how the club should remain in the city, or the ones who don’t want to leave the City Grounds. They go hand in hand.
Lets not forget the previous time we were sold to new investors. Scholar and Wray and all that.that went well didn't it? Can lightning strike twice? Pompey know it can.
So yeah, a new owner scares me. People have seen the fact that 2 of the top 5clubs in this country rely on millions from rich owners and think we need the same. Indeed many of the Premiership clubs have seen their moves up the table from being owned by rich groups. But then look at Liverpool under Hicks and Gillette, they went backwards. Villa made immediate strides under Lerner but now seem to be stuck in reverse. Then there is Mike Ashley, proved to be in the right long term, but he got such stick it was ridiculous. Or do we want to be owned by Indian Chicken Farmers?
Either way there is going to be a new dawn at the club. I’m not trying to cast a bad light on all investors, but trying to bring back to earth that new people involved may not be a knight in shining armour, but may be indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I do contend they may just be a sound businessman, who does well, and I may have mentioned County before, but Ray Trew there now seems to be running County very well, so it is possible to get good investors. As long like at Bournemouth we don’t get Russian Oligarchs wives walking in the dressing room lecturing the players. This is why I fear foreign investors, why do they want us? It cannot be for anything other than profiteering.
I hate the wonderful old adage mentioned again this week about people demanding that Forest be more transparent about where the future of the club is going and that the club “owe them”. Demanding to know who the interested parties are and what their plans are for the club. It shows a ridiculous demand and a ridiculous level of knowing what happens in business.
No interested party are going to publically put their cards on the table for fears of how this will influence other decisions about who best to sell to. Just because some fans want to know some information doesn’t necessarily mean that normal processes be ignored.