Ipswich Town owner Johnson close to adding another club to his portfolio
- Credit: ITFC
New Ipswich Town owner Brett Johnson is reported to be interested in buying Australian A-League club Central Coast Mariners.
Johnson is one part of the Three Lions group who have been the driving force behind an American takeover at Ipswich Town, completed last week, largely funded by investment group ORG and their control of the Arizona state pension fund.
Along with Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer, Johnson is a leading member of the ownership group behind US second-tier club Phoenix Rising, while he is also on the board of Danish second division club Helsingor.
Chairman of Helsingor is American businessman Jordan Gardner, with he and Johnson said to be leading the charge to purchase the licence to run Central Coast Mariners, according to multiple reports in Australia.
The reports suggest the duo have ‘signed a letter of intent’ to move for the Australian club, who have also been linked with a sale to Manchester United, with talks said to be ongoing for more than a year.
It’s also been suggested a sale to Johnson and Gardner could lead to the Mariners being moved eight hours north to the Gold Coast, an area which is not currently hosting an A-League side.
As well as Helsingor, Gardner also has a financial interest in Championship side Swansea City and Irish club Dundalk.
Johnson, meanwhile, also owns US third-tier side FC Tucson and is working towards the launch of a new second-tier side in Rhode Island.
Speaking during his first press conference since the purchase of Ipswich Town, Johnson said he would one day like to see a more formal relationship between the clubs linked to the ownership group.
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“Right now it’s informal,” he said.
“But I think, longer-term, I would love to see something more formal. I’m blessed to be involved with Phoenix, with Tuscon, with Rhode Island, with Helsingor and now with Ipswich.
“Informally I would love to leverage the talent that is in our broader ecosystem and figure out where best to place it.
“Formally if there is a way to make that kind of activity and the affiliation more direct then fantastic, but I’ve got to be very careful with it because I’m on every single side of the ledger if you will.”
Meanwhile, Ipswich Town and Phoenix Rising are already understood to be talking about how the two clubs can link up now they are under the same ownership group.
It’s understood discussions have already been had regarding the Phoenix coaching staff potentially coming over to Suffolk once their season concludes in the Autumn, in order to learn from how the Blues do business both on and off the pitch.
Furthermore, it’s also possible Phoenix could come to Suffolk in July 2022 to play a friendly game against the Blues, in the lead-up to Ipswich’s 2022/23 campaign and during a break in action in Rising’s 2022 season.
The new relationship with Phoenix has left some Ipswich supporters keen to get hold of some Rising merchandise, with work to make that easier also underway.