Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Who's the next A-Rod of the EPL?

MMM . . . these are different than the pies at home

As Liverpool FC fall to foreign hands, the most intriguing aspect of the Yankee shopping spree of late is not whether the American entrepreneurial duo of George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks (pictured above) will turn the storied club into a late nineties Leeds United, but just who's next to be swapped up by a non-Brit.

Much like the melodramatic bleating from across the pond about preserving the English-ness of the game, Liverpool are constantly drawing attention to the fact that they are the "biggest" of the big four, despite never lifting a Premiership trophy. Well, that's all going to change, as Tom Hicks prematurely crowed:

"If you have a chance to get a great player, you get a great player," Hicks said. "We're not going to put a budget on what we're going to do."

Well said, Tom. Too bad you couldn't do the same for the Texas Rangers before you sold them to Georgie Bush Jr. You did, however, award baseball's highest annual salary (more than Hicks paid for the entire team) to A-Rod, who seemed to become half the player he was before he got the big money. Too bad Beckham's gone to LA or he could be the new Anfield's A-Rod, albeit with the waning of form having taken place years ago.

This is the biggest takeover since Roman Abramovich and the Glazer family took over Chelsea and Manchester United, respectively. While Randy Lerner's purchase of Aston Villa and Magnusson's of West Ham are indeed interesting developments in foreign ownership, any club outside of the top four really don't stand a chance unless there's a concerted effort to spend money on all aspects of the club, from players to global merchandising. This could be the step that could break up the oligopoly of the EPL, with Arsenal and Manchester United with the largest share of spoils and Chelsea close behind.

Due to my lack of imagination and penchant for pre-judging, I've decided non-Brit owners fall into two categories:

1) The powerful European businessman with a hint of nefariousness (I'm thinking of a Sheikh petting his beard as he watches EPL games in his model-filled harem, seated in his throne made of gold and childrens' bones) or

2)The benevolent but clueless Yankee who, after realizing the costs of fielding a competitive squad are prohibitive to profit, allows said club to fester in the middle of the table or worse.

What do you think? Drop us a comment and let us know how you feel.

'American invasion' of English soccer continues — in Liverpool [IHT.com]

Meet the owners: Tom Hicks [Liverpool Daily Post]

No comments: