The Proposed Liverpool Takeover
Well, well, well - looks like Dubai International Capital (DIC) owned by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum are close to taking over the club. I don't like it one little bit, though I think I'm in the minority here. It is said he is a fan like Randy Lerner is a Villa fan-good, but what about the soul of the club? The beauty of Arsenal and Liverpool is that it is still owned by locals. Of course, it is now a global game, and I hate how some English people have a go at the foreign fans as if we know nothing about the game-how many of them will stay up till 3am to watch a match, or when it is not shown, stare at the computer at some ungodly hour to catch the minute-by-minute highlights?
But make no mistake, this is an investment opportunity by a man who uses public funds in the UAE, a nation where democracy has a flimsy outlook. True, they are travelling well and as far as I can make out the locals are largely content with their leaders who have done well to diversify the UAE economy so as not be as reliant on oil as their immediate neighbours. But 450m pounds of their money to be plowed into a football team? 80m of that to retire debt!! What sort of return will the people receive over time? Football clubs are not cash cows that pay out huge dividends. This is a disgrace. Just as Abramovich used his connections to buy public companies in Russia for a pittance and played his part in robbing the citizenry, so I fear the DIC are doing the same by foolishly putting all this money into a football club. What will the people of the UAE get out of it? Maybe the stadium at Stanley Park with be renamed the UAE stadium, maybe the front of the shirts will advertise Dubai. Does that justify a 450m pound investment? I pity the MU fans among their citizenry....
As far as the club is concerned, I don't think we should cheer on this invetsment. A bad turn of events in the Middle East (a war in neighbouring Iran or instability in Saudi Arabia) and the UAE economy can quickly go down the drain. The DIC can quickly pull the plug and leave. Perhaps the DIC will have to show it has long term plans to involve the locals. It would be nice if the local fans could buy say 10% of the shares in the club, or that the bulk of the current board will stay on in an executive capacity (though admittedly with significant input form the new owners). I have always felt that Abramovich's arrival at Chelsea would herald their demise. A quick downturn in oil prices and instability in Russia and he could well disappear and Chelsea could quickly find itself bankrupt and financially relegated to the Championship. The DIC venture sails a bit too close to the wind for my liking in this regard.
Also, let's not be hypocritical-we have all had a go at Chelsea's sugar daddy; let's not then embrace ours as a saviour. Let's not sell the club's soul if the DIC decides to do as it pleases. I hope (against hope) that this sale will not go through because I doubt it is in Liverpool's best interest in the long run. After all, has anyone really found the fabled pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Let's not lose our heads here. There are plenty of investors with more stable and ethical funds, poorer certainly, but I for one prefer stability to speculating for fools gold.