I know, worst pun ever in a title, but the strong rumour is the Kuwaiti billionaire Fawaz Al-Hasawi is taking over Nottingham Forest. It’s not certain yet that it is us being bought by him. He has confirmed that he is in the process of buying a second tier English team with a rich heritage. Basically it is or Leeds. The vital part is that he is buying 100% of the club apparently, and from what I have seen from Look North, Leeds fans on forums, a bit from media, and the fact he is a megalomaniacal power monger, Ken Bates is not selling his entire stake. So in essence it potentially rules out Leeds, leaving err, us.
Many who read this page know that I am deeply sceptical about rich foreign owners. Their motivation, long term plans and vision always need to be questioned. Basically why the hell do they want to buy us? In this case there appears no clear motive other than he wants to own a club. Well Ok, fine, but I don’t want the club to be a rich man’s toy. For every Man City there is a Neuchâtel Xamax (we signed Thierry Bonalair from them), and if you don’t know what happened with that Swiss club, basically they got bought out by a rich chairman, who turned out to be a mental war criminal. The club imploded, in a way that Notts County nearly did, being declared bankrupt and excluded from the Swiss Super League.
The news has reported he wants an ex QPR coach as manager, most have assumed this means Warnock (once again pointing to us, as Leeds already have him) but it could mean Ian Holloway. Or Gerry Francis, where’s he these days? Either way it doesn’t look promising for Cotterill.
Now the next assumption everyone makes when being bought by rich Arab oil sheikhs is that they will splash the cash. Like at Man City, Paris Saint Germain etc. Remember Portsmouth has a rich sheikh. Who was actually broke and whose wealth stemmed from POTENTIAL earnings from property. I have no doubt this guy may be genuine, but just pointing out a few problems. There may not be vast swathes of cash spent. We do need some cash spending. The midfield and defence have been ravaged by contract expiries and departures. McCleary has gone, Anderson is on his way out the door, Chambers is probably off and Lynch, well that’s still unclear. But even if there isn’t that much, it’s still better than Frank Clark checking behind all the club sofa’s for discarded change, or mugging people under Trent Bridge.
People have cried foul about the fact we haven’t been feeding back to fans what’s happening. Well for one it’s not the club handling this potential sale. It’s Seymour Pierce. No doubt the club are up to date and what not but they aren’t controlling this, and neither should they. Get professionals to do it. Additionally keeping everyone informed is simply not how this is done. You don’t tell everyone all your business dealings, and yes people want to know before buying a season ticket, but sorry, this is just the way it goes. You have to retain an element of secrecy, basically because that’s business. In fact as I write this and have checked Twitter the club have indeed commented. This speaks volumes. They never did about the Irish supposed take over, or the Canadian one from the Maple Leafs group. Now they have. This does mean something afoot, but whether we are adding 2 +2 and coming up with 17 here is unapparent.
I have seen it said elsewhere that Mr Al-Hasawi puts a lot of stock in youth development, and that is certainly something that pleases me. It means he might not want to just buy a new starting XI. However a lot of top clubs claim to have top youth development, but in fact just sign other clubs youngsters and polish these diamonds rather than actually mining them, just look at Patrick Bamford.
There was a lot of contention about a comment suggesting he wanted to bring in Kuwaiti players. And people were unhappy about this. But wait, why? Are they assuming that these players who probably aren’t good enough would be forced into the team? Why would he buy the club and then enforce that, it would devalue the club. No it’s more likely he will use our facilities to help train them and develop. And if we do sign some, so be it, they might be good enough after all, and would certainly sell a few shirts in Kuwait. Remember we can only have 3 non EU nationals in the team, and they’d have to get work permits to transfer here.
As I said, rich foreign takeovers make me nervous. I have covered this extensively before, but right now we have little choice as we cannot continue in limbo, seeing players walk out the door for free. We need investment. Let’s hope that if this comes off, we don’t become one of these rich brash obnoxious clubs, claiming we’re going to win it all. He will be welcomed in regardless (even if one pillock tweeted to him last night get lost we don’t like Muslims, I hope this guy gets kicked off Twitter, he doesn’t speak for us.)
Interesting times ahead at the City Ground if this is all true. We need this situation resolving as soon as possible, What has been entertaining is how little people commenting on the net about this understand business. And if this goes through I will miss laughing at peoples misguided attempts