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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Fulham and Michael Jackson – What Shahid Khan Got For His $300M

Written by on July 15, 2013 | 9 Comments »
Posted in Fulham

Beyond the bottomless bit of transfer rumors, there were two stories that gained traction over the past week in England.

It was a week of “if it wasn’t for these dam foreigners.” 

The first story was the lack of opportunities for young English players in the Barclays Premier League and it was followed later in the week by the takeover of Fulham by Shahid.. to read more please click on the link.

9 responses to “Fulham and Michael Jackson – What Shahid Khan Got For His $300M”

  1. Astronomer says:

    Interesting piece, especially with all the factoids that you have provided about the club. Since this topic is tangentially related to the thorny issue of foreigners owning EPL clubs, I would like to pose a couple of somewhat related questions:

    1. Alisher Usmanov and Arsenal:
    Why is Usmanov still so persistently holding on to his near-30% stake in the club? What exactly is he still hoping to get out of it?

    At one time a few years ago, there was — maybe — a glimmer of hope for him of becoming the majority owner of the club. But given what has transpired over the last few years, it is abundantly clear that the only person who is acceptable as the principal owner to both the board and the fans is Stan Kroenke (that is the case in spite of all the misgivings that fans have about Silent Stan’s supposed “passion” — or lack thereof — for the club)..

    Usmanov is, by many accounts, the richest man in Russia (yes, he is even richer than the Chelsea owner). So with his billions he can easily buy some other club in the EPL or in some other top league and try to make it into whatever grandiose thing he wants it to be.

    Heck, if he so loves to be based in London (which is quite understandable), he can buy one of the other London clubs and with his money convert it into another powerhouse.

    So why is Usmanov and his Red and White Holdings still so stubbornly “holding” onto the minority stake at Arsenal?

    2. Everton:
    Another thing that puzzles me is why none of the billionaires has so far bought Everton. Yes, Everton is now a second tier club in the EPL, but it still has a sizable fan base and, given that it is based in a big city like Liverpool, has good commercial prospects.

    On top of that, Bill Kenwright has several times come out in the last few years saying that he is willing to consider serious bids for the club. Yet, nothing has happened — Everton is still unsold and remains in its perennially cash-strapped state.

    So why has no billionaire bought or at least made an attempt to buy the club?


  2. Astronomer – I will get back to you on this though probably tomorrow.

  3. Smiley says:

    “… it is abundantly clear that the only person who is acceptable as the principal owner to both the board and the fans is Stan Kroenke “

    Where did you get that notion? Perhaps to the board BUT definitely NOT the fans mate!

    The more insightful observation would be that Kroenke (who shares Wenger’s view on the failed ROI transfer policy as opposed to Usmanov) was/is the preferred choice of Wenger (who is the club’s dictator). However, another season of his penny pinching transfer policy and the 4th richest team fighting for their 4th place trophy while ticket prices/refreshments increase may just see Wenger ousted and profit driven Kroenke selling his shares to Usmanov. Especially if there is an increase in The Black Scarf Movement and “In Wenger We Rust” posters.

  4. Ed Gomes says:

    Why are Arsenal fans so worried. They’ve been winning the CL Qualification Trophy for years. Also, Wenger has come out and said that Arsenal can afford Rooney and his wages, Suarez and/or Higuain. I don’t get the angst.
    US fans go crazy about how costly it is to go to a game, and attendance has suffered. We’ll see when it hits the futebol leagues.

    Everton will always be second fiddle to Liverpool. It would take decades of Liverpool dropping down and Everton winning, to change that.

  5. Astronomer – I have no idea what drives Usmanov but can only speculate. 1. As long as he holds his shares he is in the game – sell and he no longer gets quoted in the media. 2. Patience is a virtue – you never know what might happen. 3. He’s got so much money that his investment in Arsenal is play money. 4. Converting teams into powerhouses is suddenly not as straight forward as it was prior to FFP and the new Premier League regulations.

    Everton – location, location, location. Need a new stadium or a very large investment to upgrade plus money for players. Depressed region of the country that shows no sign of emerging from 25 years of decline.
    I thought I read that Everton was considered at the same time as City but what helped sway the decision was the publicly built and financed stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Bottom line is Everton just doesn’t appeal to your average run of the mill billionaire.
    When you consider the last two owners of Liverpool they have been on the lower level of wealth scale.

  6. Astronomer says:

    Thanks for the response.

    As I said before, I am also puzzled by Usmanov’s motivation.

    If he thinks that just by holding on to his minority stake, he will one day get to own Arsenal, then he is nothing but a Pollyanna (albeit, a wealthy one).

    For Usmanov to become the majority owner of the club, the following two things have to happen:
    1. Kroenke decides to sell his majority stake in the club.
    2. And Kroenke decides to sell it to Usmanov.

    Neither is likely. With the stadium debt nearly paid off, the club’s finances will continue to rapidly improve. Why will Kroenke then want to sell the club?

    And, even if he decided to do so, it is doubtful that he would sell it to Usmanov — regardless of what price Usmanov is willing to offer. Kroenke is well aware that most Arsenal fans are suspicious of Usmanov (for both his Soviet-era personal background and his intentions for the club) and I doubt he will ignore that and sell his shares to the Russian. Yes, Kroenke is a hard-nosed businessman, but I doubt he is that inconsiderate.

    Thus, Usmanov’s optimism (if it really exists as depicted above) is on shaky ground.

  7. Smiley says:

    “Kroenke is well aware that most Arsenal fans are suspicious of Usmanov (for both his Soviet-era personal background and his intentions for the club”

    You are confusing your distorted view for actual fachts mate. Speak to Arsenal fans, attend a few matches or read several articles/blogs before making that comment.

    Kroenke’s past is just as shady with Walmart sweat shops, NFL player headhunting contracts and his silent stance on Arsenal’s board making huge profits (selling the likes of RvP, Cesc, etc) while ticket/food increase and the 4th richest club gets further behind other top clubs. David Dein, one of the most respected Arsenal supporters and club members sold his shares to Usmanov cause he knew he was the better option for the club’s future.

    PS Last I checked Abramovich’s “intentions for the club” have netted 10 trophies and made Chelsea one of the most competitive clubs in the world.

  8. John Bladen says:


    I agree it’s unlikely that Kroenke would sell directly to Usmanov. However, by staying “in”, Usmanov may benefit if Kroenke does decide to unload his shares to someone else (it seems unlikely, but it is not impossible). It’s not so long ago that Bracewell-Smith was the main holdout, let’s not forget.

    You’d think Usmanov would tire of effectively being a lender without any real say in how his investment is used, but as Bobby notes, the amount he has invested is, for him, inconsequential. And given the way Arsenal manages it’s bank accounts (to the annoyance of some), his investment is growing in value.

    Usmanov could buy Palace (speaking of which, very pleased to see Holloway back in the PL next season), Charlton, Wimbledon or Leyton Orient I suppose, but to what end?

    If you are buying a football club to get your name in the papers and have something interesting to play with, a top four club has far more value than a Lg one or two club does.

  9. John Bladen says:

    Bobby: If I were as rich as Khan, I might spend the $300m just to gain the right to demolish that statue…

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