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BAGGIES FOR SALE

11-06-2008

Terry Wills brings us the lowdown on developments at the Hawthorns.......

So after achieving a third Promotion into the ‘Greed League’ (whoops should have said the Premiership!)! Baggies Chairman Jeremy Peace has in effect erected a ‘FOR SALE’ notice board outside the Hawthorns.

The message reading “Wanted new investors”

At face value that’s an encouraging message for supporters. The immediate train of thought being ‘With new significant investment Tony Mowbray COULD be in a position of being able to strengthen a squad that come August 16th will be playing the first game of a season that could shape the destiny of West Bromwich Albion for the foreseeable future.

Personally I don’t think Jeremy’s decision will come as a major surprise because in truth compared with the majority of Premiership clubs finances the odds against them doing little more than strive for a mid table position are long indeed.

The disadvantages are clear. To attract top rated players a club needs a substantial fan base around a minimum of 35,000. This would at least generate an income well in excess of the present maximum capacity of 27,000 and give them a chance of keeping players such as Zoltan Gera out of the clutches of clubs such as Fulham who were able to offer him terms well in excess of Albion’s final offer.

Ok Fulham are a similar sized club to Albion but they do have the considerable advantage of being able to call on the services of a certain Mohamed Al Fayed.who isn’t short of a penny or two.

So WHAT would a new investor gain from ploughing money into Albion’s coffers? Surely any interested parties considering making an investment would look at the broad picture spelling out the inbuilt message “What can I get in return for my investment at a future date?”

Would he/they be a football lover/s ( as opposed to a speculator/s ) be prepared to wait patiently to see if any investment bore fruit or would, as in many cases, simply be looking just how much could be made in making a substantial profit on an original investment?

Therein lies the crux of the matter. Jeremy Peace is prepared to sell his majority share holding at a price almost certainly in excess of their current value.

If successful that would confirm his shrewd proven methods of balancing the books, recruiting the right manager, Tony Mowbray, (who has utilised the available transfer money to maximum effect) WAS the right approach despite receiving criticism that he was a ‘penny’ pinching Chairman who starved a succession of managers sufficient transfer funds.

Yes an overseas investor, the most likely scenario, could change the structure of West Bromwich Albion providing he genuinely had the feelings of the club at heart.

Randy Lerner ‘down the road’ seemingly falls into this category as do the Glazers after the initial bitter takeover of Manchester United ALTHOUGH lets not forget that they’ve saddled the Old Trafford club with millions of pounds worth of debts.

Debts that would have to be borne by whoever bought the club should they decide to pull out but even so should that happen such is the massive world wide interest in United they wouldn’t have any difficulty in finding a buyer at whatever price they asked.

Add the controversy surrounding Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester City, plus the far from happy situation at St Andrews, it’s imperative that any proposed Albion investor will have be thoroughly vetted.

Will it happen ? Almost certainly not in the short term. Jeremy Peace has bought stability to the Hawthorns that’s the envy of many a clubs.

A fact confirmed by Financial experts who very closely scrutinise accounts supplied by every sporting organisation.

Together with the Chairman and his Board of Directors all Baggies supporters can do is to sit back and wait and wonder IF a suitable applicant will be picking up a phone to express a GENUINE interest for the right reasons.

That being to ensure West Bromwich Albion remain a ‘family’ club that will never sells its soul, for any price, to the Devil.

Whoever that MAY be!

Terry Wills

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