A 30-YEAR-OLD Dublin businessman plans to pump millions into a minor British football club. Darragh Macanthony, who runs an international real estate empire, has become chairman of Peterborough United and has now begun due diligence to acquire it outright.
A 30-YEAR-OLD Dublin businessman plans to pump millions into a minor British football club.
Darragh Macanthony, who runs an international real estate empire, has become chairman of Peterborough United and has now begun due diligence to acquire it outright.
Yesterday, Mr Macanthony told the Irish Independent he hopes to build a new stadium, complete with casino, hotel and other leisure pursuits, within five to ten years.
"My ultimate goal is to move to the outskirts and build a 30,000-seater," he said.
"We will look at putting in some entertainment facilities, a casino. There are all sorts of possibilities for other sources of income," he said.
Controversially, Peterborough does not actually own its stadium and Mr Macanthony is only acquiring the club itself from former chairman Barry Fry.
In total, the Spanish-based businessman said he planned to invest "millions" in the club.
"In 60 days' time (after due diligence), I can tell you the exact details. At the start it will be a few million and over time it will be more."
"Basically, in January I said I wanted to get into a club. We spoke to three or four football clubs. We saw (in Peterborough) there is a club that needs a little bit of help."
"It is a little less glamorous. But do you know what, it is a little bit more of a fairytale story to take a club like that and take it to the top like it should be."
"Everybody is already cynical about what I have said about that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I am a doer. I think I have got something to offer as well as money," he said.
"I am not Roman Abramovich," he added. "I am thirty years old. I wasn't lucky enough to fall into an oil company! I have worked bloody hard for what I have got and I am a comfortable guy."
Currently, the Coca-Cola League Two club attracts around 4,500 people a game - but Mr Macanthony said he believed this could expand greatly.
"It is in a wealthy area 90 minutes from London, with a great community. They have passionate fans. They are building over 300,000 new homes over the next 10 years in the area. To me, I think we could definitely get over 20,000 supporters if we are in the top league," he said.
Mr Macanthony set up his company, Macanthony Realty International, in 2000 and the company expects to hit turnover of stg£130m this year.
His father Austin, who formerly ran nightclubs on Leeson Street, runs the property group's business in North America and his sister Wendy runs its overseas property TV channel.
He also runs a construction business that has built over 1,000 units in Bulgaria.