Date: 14th January 2009 at 11:43am
Written by:

Michael Dilley from Vital Norwich sent me this over and I thought it would be a good one for Vital Villa.

The chap in this article Keith Harris – along with a fine fella, apart from the fact he supports the Pink and Blues of West Ham and someone I now call a mate, well I say mate, more care in the community really, David Bick were the ones who helped find us our superb owner Randy Lerner. They have been involved in many of the takeovers over the last five years and it seems we really do have the cream of the crop.

Those dreaming of a white knight riding in to save their football club have been delivered a stark message from Keith Harris last week.

The chairman of merchant bank Seymour Pierce was involved in Roman Abramovic’s purchase of Chelsea, Randy Lerner’s acquisition of Aston Villa, Bjorgolfur Gudmondsson’s of West Ham and the deal which took Thaksin Shinawatra to Manchester City, and has more recently been tasked with finding a buyer for a number of clubs including Newcastle and Everton – as well as the Canaries – but believes the current financial climate is such that it is difficult ‘even for billionaires’ to invest in football clubs.

‘We’re in the toughest economic situation anybody has endured in our lifetime,’ Harris is quoted as saying in the Guardian, ‘And that means we are unlikely to see much activity on the football takeover scene.

‘You can’t force a club down somebody’s throat, They have to really want to buy it. They may expect to make money out of a club ultimately but a football club is a trophy asset, for enjoyment. Confidence is dented everywhere and I do not see much activity on takeovers until we get some form of stability in people’s minds.’


There can be no doubt that the confidence of potential buyers has been knocked, but Harris also urged clubs to take control on the amount they pay out on wages and transfer fees.

‘We have been through a time when clubs have been overspending, with very ordinary players commanding huge transfer fees and wages,’ he continued. ‘The climate has changed and takeovers are not going to be the solution to the woes that they may have been two years ago. That is unequivocal.

‘The clubs have been spending too much and the club owners were looking for richer people to buy the clubs and take on the losses,’ Harris said. ‘But we are in a different climate now, where the football clubs have to realise it is back to the fundamental basics of managing their costs.
The supply of richer people has proved to be finite.’


The message from Harris is clear; gone are the days when owners can expect to find wealthy individuals willing to bail them out – and the further the club is from London, the less attractive a proposition it becomes. The future may not be quite as bright as we all hoped.

With thanks to The Guru at www.norwich.vitalfootball.co.uk