Get ready for League One's 'Arizona Derby' as Lincoln follow Town with Phoenix investment
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town won’t be the only team with Arizona-interest looking to win promotion from League One next season.
The Blues are at the start of a new era following the Gamechanger 20 takeover, which has seen three prominent members of the Phoenix Rising ownership group front a takeover largely funded from a large Arizona state pension fund (PSPRS – Public Safety Personnel Retirement System).
But the Three Lions - Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer - now have a rival closer to home after an Arizona-based businessman bought into Lincoln City.
Phoenix businessman Harvey Jabara, an investment executive who also has a minority stake in Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres, has bought a 9% stake in Lincoln City Holdings, which itself owns 75% of the Imps.
Furthermore, Jabara’s investment also sees long-time US national team star Landon Donovan link up with Lincoln as a strategic advisor, looking to help the club build relationships in North America.
Donovan is well known to the Three Lions due to the fact he is currently the manager and vice president of soccer operations of San Diego Loyal, a club with whom Phoenix Rising have enjoyed a significant rivalry in recent years.
Town and Lincoln have enjoyed something of a rivalry themselves in recent years, beginning with the Imps’ FA Cup giant killing in 2017 which saw Danny Cowley’s side dump the Blues out of the tournament on live television while still a National League side.
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The Imps, now managed by Michael Appleton, beat Town 1-0 at Sincil Bank last season before the two sides drew 1-1 at Portman Road before Lincoln ultimately lost out in the League One Play-Off Final.
Following the investment news, Lincoln chairman Clive Nates said, “We are delighted to welcome Harvey, Landon and the Jabara family to Lincoln City Football Club. We are continually on the lookout for like-minded people to join our current group of investors to assist with the ongoing development of the Club financially, and also importantly, contribute their knowledge and acumen”.
“We have been talking to Harvey and Landon for some time now, but right from the initial meetings, it was clear to see we were aligned in our vision and values for the Club. Landon has for some time been assisting his close family friend Harvey in finding the right club to partner with. It is great for all that we can also benefit from Landon and his vast experience."