In order to counter criticism of my comments about dubious ownership of English football teams, and to deal with possible allegations of hypocrisy, allow me to clarify a few things.
Well, I firmly believe that at any football club, there should be significant and meaningful supporter involvement and, where possible, investment. This rarely happens in England, although there are significant exceptions such as AFC Wimbledon and Exeter City. The various Premier League models, like the Russian oligarch at Chelsea and distant American owners at my Premier League club of choice, Liverpool, are not models I support in any way at all.
In Bristol, we have one club, the City, which is owned and subsidised by a billionaire who chooses to live in the Channel Islands in order to legally avoid tax. For all the usual arguments, I do not support that type of ownership, either. Our other club, my club, the Rovers, is owned by a Jersey-based Jordanian family. Cards on the table: I do not support that method of ownership either. That is not to say that I actively oppose this ownership model or will do anything, ever to change it. I just don’t like it. Before the Jordanians owned the club, it was run by an autocratic multimillionaire businessman who almost took the club into administration. Then, as now, the board of directors includes token directors from the Supporters Club who have never influenced anything.
What have I proved in this blog? Nothing. Just that a huge number of clubs are what is known as financially “doped”, either by using the money of a benefactor or by existing on borrowed money. And that the ownership models in England are largely crap, including the ones in place at the clubs I support. There’s nothing I can do about it, there’s nothing I am going to do about it. I do think the fans deserve a voice but at most clubs they don’t seem to give a toss about it.