Tuesday 20 August 2019

John Giles: Foreign owners are destroying some great clubs but the Glazers are the best in the Premier League

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The Glazer family (left) own Man United while Assem Allam owns Hull City.
The Glazer family (left) own Man United while Assem Allam owns Hull City.

John Giles

FOREIGN owners have a lot to answer for. Scattered across the divisions after a decade of poor stewardship are so many big, old clubs with fans who have been betrayed.

Nottingham Forest escaped relegation to the First Division by inches, Harry Redknapp pulled off another miracle and kept Birmingham up but Blackburn went down and with them all of Jack Walker’s great efforts.

All three have foreign owners who don’t really know what they are doing but reckon they do.

There’s plenty more. Leeds have been through the ringer for a decade and Aston Villa have been reduced to a shadow of what they should be.

In the latest relegation battle, Sunderland are doomed and owned by American Ellis Short who doesn’t seem to understand anything about the game.

I read at the weekend that he struggles with promotion and relegation and cannot understand why the structure is not based on clubs with the biggest crowds rather than the most points.

Middlesbrough are gone too and I have sympathy for Steve Gibson who has always been one of the good guys. He tries to do things properly and understands his fans.

Hull have foreign owners who have no interest in what the fans think, as we saw with the controversial name change proposal a few years back.

The owner, an Egyptian businessman, wanted to “create new business opportunities” by changing to Hull Tigers and couldn’t understand why the fans opposed him. He never will. Anyone who thinks like Assem Allam should not own a football club.

Taksin Shinawatra was one of the first of this new type of club owner when he bought Manchester City and ended up convicted of wholesale corruption in Thailand before the Mansour family took over.

They deserve credit for doing their business well and I hear nothing but good about their efforts to engage with their fans and the local community.

By now, everyone knows that I have very little time for Roman Abramovich who is inches away from his second title in three years.

Antonio Conte should be the most secure manager in the world but there is every chance that his owner will do what he has always done and meddle in the transfer business.

I would still maintain that the best owners in the Premier League are the Glazer family and largely because they accepted from the start that they knew absolutely nothing about football.

They are being sorely tested by the effort to find a new winning formula but I don’t think they have changed the model. I don’t believe that they meddled with David Moyes or Louis van Gaal because I don’t think that Ed Woodward had the competence to interfere.

I think neither Moyes or Van Gaal got the players they wanted because Woodward didn’t know what he was doing.

That’s no surprise. Alex Ferguson’s scouting network stopped when he did, so Woodward was on his own.

If the Glazers could be accused of anything, it was making a poor choice for Executive Director.

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