There are always perks to owning the highest valued team brand on the planet. One of them, of course, is the ability to buy pretty much anything you want. Now, leave it to the English rags to release a story like this only days after The Boss passed away, but it is nonetheless intriguing. The Daily Star reported on Sunday that the Steinbrenners have considered a bid of £450 million to buy Tottenham Hotspur. Hank supposedly turned down an approach by Tottenham some years ago to buy a 33% interest in the club for about £20 million.
You can take the story for what it’s worth. English tabloids like the Daily Star are less believable than even the National Enquirer by some margin. But let’s just remember that the precedent already exists for American ownership in the English Premiere League. Four of the biggest clubs in the country are owned by Americans – The Glazer Family owns Manchester United, Tom Hicks and George Gillett own Liverpool, Randy Lerner owns Aston Villa, and Stan Kroenke is very close to owning a majority stake in Arsenal. Everyone has mixed reviews but to be fair, Steinbrenner would be better than all of them combined.
In both Manchester and Liverpool, things are getting ugly. Fans are protesting en masse. American flags are being burned. Tom Hicks’ son is getting spit on. It all stems from these guys going in there to make a profit. They couldn’t care less about the passion or history of the clubs – only their fat wallets. And aside from the flag burning, I have no problem at all with how the fans are reacting. Lerner is different and has put together an extremely manageable situation at Aston Villa although the club’s performance of late has been stagnant. Arsenal have a Board of Directors and shares are sold publicly on the stock market – so while Kroenke owns almost a majority of the shares (29.9%), he doesn’t really have all the say like a singular owner does (believe me though, having a Board is the way to run a club and Kroenke is well respected by all).
Now let’s look at the Steinbrenners – a family of the most ruthless winners in history. And I don’t use ruthless lightly as we are all aware of how George ran the Yankees organization in his time. Hank and Hal, I would imagine, are no different in their desire to win. In football, and more so in England, that’s all that matters. The desire and passion they could bring to Tottenham and English football would be a shot of much needed adrenaline. Financial stability is an issue now more than ever, but something tells me that with all the money they have, Steinbrenner Inc. is too smart to invest in an English football club without knowing they can support it for years to come.
And as far as ownership goes in America, the English only have respect for one other man other than the Steinbrenners and that’s Robert Kraft. Kraft was in the works for a bit as he contemplated taking over Liverpool only to back out mainly because of the lack of caps on player salaries (that should tell you more than enough about the type of man he is).
For now though, Tottenham is as good a club as any other to take over. They qualified for the Champions League last season for the first time in history, the team is on the rise and looking for more glory. I don’t think there’s a better candidate than the Steinbrenner family to try taking them to the next level. If they brought even a fraction of their winning attitude over there the fans would adore them. Better yet, with the New York market at their disposal, Tottenham would get massive marketing incentives from the Steinbrenners.
It’s a smart move, a very smart move, should they decide to buy.