Overseas Ownership: Mobile Capital and the EPL
Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea F.C. from Ken Bates and put English football in its era of ‘foreign’ ownership on 2 July 2003. Little was known about Abramovich then (see Harris 2003; Midgley and Hutchins 2005; Rubython 2009), but the Russian oligarch purchased the club for 35p per share. He was not the first non-British investor to buy a major stake in an English football club, but he is popularly remembered as the EPL’s first ‘foreign owner’ of a member club. Over the next seven weeks, he spent £110m on eleven new players for the club, recruiting Porto’s Champions League winning coach, Jose Mourinho, and Peter Kenyon, who was widely credited with building Manchester United’s global brand (Bose 2007), to strengthen the club on and off the field of play. By the 2005/06 season, Abramovich had financed consecutive EPL title wins as ‘[Chelsea] elevated […] from an important national club into an international player’ (King 2010: 887).
KeywordsMember Club Football Club Operating Profit Major Shareholder Credit Crunch
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