Derek Davis' Football Chatter

IT is probably not so much a case of if, but when, the majority of clubs in the top level will be owned by foreign investors.With Liverpool close to becoming the next big club to be bought out by big bucks from abroad, it is surely just a matter of time before all the others will follow.

IT is probably not so much a case of if, but when, the majority of clubs in the top level will be owned by foreign investors.

With Liverpool close to becoming the next big club to be bought out by big bucks from abroad, it is surely just a matter of time before all the others will follow.

Dubai International Capital are going through the due diligence process which is the final stage before sealing the £450m takeover and it will mean that seven of 20 Premiership clubs are controlled by foreigners, if you include Mohammed Fayed at Fulham.

Newcastle United could be the next one to be sold, although it is a British-based consortium leading the chase.


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The clamour to buy a Premiership club is not just about wanting to own a fine football club and use it as a hobby, as Roman Abramovich clearly does with Chelsea, albeit a very expensive past-time.

It is more to do with the lucrative television deal that has been struck by the Premier League and one that all their members benefit from, unlike the Italian and Spanish leagues where the clubs negotiate their own deals.

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The possibility of big profit-making land deals also offer an attraction as with the Icelanders at West Ham who hope they can pull off a move into the yet-to-be-built Olympic Stadium after 2012 and sell off a prime site in East London for housing.

The chances of foreign investors dropping down a division in order to make a killing look unlikely because it is no sure thing that they will get into the land of milk and honey, as the Icelandic group that took over at Stoke City discovered.

There would be even less chance of Ipswich Town attracting a bid from abroad given the level of debt and the lack of tangible assets, such as the ground they play on.

DAVID Sheepshanks may be copping some flak at the moment over the bonuses and financial state of the club but he clearly retains his sense of humour.

Following my piece in the Chatter regarding the part-time Blues chairman 'hobnobbing' in Dubai, I was greeted at my seat in the Portman Road press box by a packet of Hobnob biscuits, paid for out Sheepshanks' own pocket.

I'm sure his humour and unwavering belief in doing only the best for the club will still be intact after tomorrow's night's AGM at Portman Road.

Now where's my calculator - 20% of £15m that's, er, £3m. Very nice, thank you.

Even allowing for a bit of negotiating that would represent a tidy sum for Ipswich Town if Charlton were to get their full asking price for Darren Bent.

The Addicks are asking £15m for the striker according to Glen Roeder, who made a determined effort to get him but was rebuffed because Charlton were petrified of their fans' reaction if he were to go cheaply.

Although Bent has signed an extension at the Valley he would be allowed to leave if they were to be relegated and there is no shortage of admirers for the man who should have played at least two competitive England games - which would have netted Ipswich another £400,000.

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