Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Round of Gulf

Back in December 2006, I suggested that Petrodollars might save us from relegation. Not surprisingly perhaps, they gave Les Reed's charges a wide berth at the time.

However it seems that 14th place in the Championship today is not enough to deter the most determined bidder, because apparently 'Zabeel Investments' are poised to complete a bid for the club.

The timing of this news is incredible. The world's stock markets have just suffered their worst ever week, yet it seems the Petrodollar-fuelled Arabs can't ignore a great investment when they see one.

The deal is far from complete of course, but this is potentially the greatest development in the chequered history of our club. The possibility that they have got bored by Liverpool's internal wranglings, and looked to SE7 instead, is simply too wonderful an outcome to contemplate.

If the incredible recent volatility in financial markets has taught us anything, it's that there's a world of difference between 'real money', and what I would term, 'funny money'. The likes of West Ham's owners represent 'funny money', cash generated at the peak of the leverage boom, that is now unwinding at incredible speed.

'Real money' today is only present in the Gulf, Russia and to a lesser extent, China. Despite the inevitable cultural shock, the idea that Charlton could be purchased even indirectly by the Al-Maktoum family is surely beyond our wildest dreams. Dare I conclude that we might be the 2nd richest club in the world (after Man City)?

The deal is far from being concluded, so let's not get carried away. Moreover, it is worth pointing out that the wealth of Dubai (compared to Abu Dhabi) is somewhat dubious. They never had much oil to begin with, so the gleaming skyscrapers are a little speculative, but one cannot seriously doubt the Emirate's ambition. For further reference, I discussed the UAE in more detail here.

The obvious question is then, "why Charlton?". Firstly, we're no doubt cheap - our current Board have worked wonders, yet will not be demanding a ridiculous price.

Second, and most importantly we are London-based, and within view of the stunning wealth-generating capability of Canary Wharf (surely some mistake? - Ed). Thirdly, despite a worrying degree of mediocrity on show recently, we have produced consistent 20,000+ crowds in a friendly stadium, a far from trivial consideration in light of Mike Ashley's experience at Newcastle.

One has sensed for some time that the present Board might be willing to sell at the right price, and to the right buyer. The bifurcation of the Premiership, has made apparent the enormous financial sacrifice required to maximise the potential for survival. The Board has always implied it would only sell to a genuine and deep-pocketed bidder. They don't get much more deep-pocketed than this.

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but I was wondering in the pub tonight how Mourinho would utilise Messi, Fabregas and Gerrard to their full potential, particularly if one inevitably had to start on the bench. And more relevantly, what would it mean for Darren Ambrose?


At 6:26 AM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

Sounds fun, NYA - but how about SAP having a 60 man squad and drop-ins from every available loan player on the planet?

At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My biggest worry is that they might use the money to extend Ambrose's contract

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYA that last paragraph just cracked me up!! Ahead of yourself indeed! Old crocks like Lionel Messi wouldn't make the reserves!! I'm sure Darren Ambrose's place on the treatment table would remain secure. But seriously folks Hamdan Al-Maktoum is a familiar face to race-goers over here and I'm encouraged by that, this wouldn't be some fly by night flash in the pan. I also trust Richard Murray to be doing what he feels is right. A bit of healthy rivalry between Gulf neighbours/in laws (one of the sisters married into t'other ruling family) should keep things lively for a while at least. Fingers crossed the due diligence doesn't turn up any serious nasties and we might just be welcoming some new faces onto the pitch at our glamourous next home game - who are we playing again? Oh yeah Bristol City on a Tuesday night in October followed by Burnley - I'm sure you'll love it Your Excellency welcome to SE7!
Save Our Songbirds

At 10:37 AM, Blogger mikewoodhouse said...

After seconds of soul-searching I have decided that I am prepared to sell my 7500 shares should a deal be recommended.

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear NYA,
Have you checked next door? Perhaps SAP did move in with your in-laws?
perhaps i won't go mushroom picking again despite the credit crunch

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

On another note, anyone check out Chris Iwelumo's scotland debut?

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Pat said...

Things are moving on NYA - apparently its West Ham now. I'm sure they're playing games with us. But as for 'friendly stadium' - have you heard the booing of recent years? And as for crowds of 20,000+ - you must know that the figures are doctored - it was nearer 16,000 for the last home game but they count the absent season ticket holders. I'm sure this has been done to frighten Liverpool. Much as I'd love someone to come in and pay off our debts and help our lovely Board out there has to be something in it for them and I can't quite see it.


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