Amer­i­can val­ues gov­ern­ing Pre­mier League sack­ings

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For the sec­ond time in a week, Amer­i­can own­ers of a Pre­mier League club have acted swiftly to pro­tect their in­vest­ment by sack­ing a man­ager. While some ob­servers ques­tioned the strat­egy of fir­ing Bob Bradley, whom the club had hired just 85 days ear­lier, co-owner Ja­son Le­vien got on with the bru­tal busi­ness of di­rect­ing the search for the club’s third man­ager of a trou­bled sea­son. Wales boss Chris Cole­man, for­mer Manch­ester United winger Ryan Giggs and ex-Birm­ing­ham City man­ager Gary Rowett, him­self sur­pris­ingly sacked by the club’s Chi­nese own­ers this month, are among the favourites.

Man­age­rial departures ahead of Jan­uary’s trans­fer win­dow have be­come fa­mil­iar. Crys­tal Palace sit just two places above Swansea in the ta­ble and acted de­ci­sively last week to bring in Sam Al­lardyce as their new man­ager, af­ter Bri­tish me­dia said Swansea ex­pressed in­ter­est in hir­ing the for­mer Eng­land boss who has be­come a spe­cial­ist in ex­tract­ing clubs from rel­e­ga­tion trou­ble.

Palace also have Amer­i­can co-own­ers in Josh Har­ris and David Bl­itzer, who helped pro­vide the fi­nance for a £50 mil­lion ($61 mil­lion) in­jec­tion into the club last De­cem­ber, af­ter be­ing linked with another cor­po­rate raid to se­cure As­ton Villa, who were then owned by yet another Amer­i­can, Randy Lerner.

Har­ris and Bl­itzer know Swansea’s Le­vien well, hav­ing all been part of the same in­vest­ment group, along with the ac­tor Will Smith, that paid $280 mil­lion for the Philadel­phia 76ers in 2011.

Le­vien sub­se­quently sold his stake in the bas­ket­ball team, mov­ing more heav­ily into foot­ball as man­ag­ing gen­eral part­ner of Ma­jor League Soc­cer team DC United be­fore form­ing part of the con­sor­tium that paid £110 mil­lion with part­ner Steve Ka­plan for a 68 per­cent con­trol­ling in­ter­est in Swansea City last July.


In­vest­ment from across the At­lantic has flowed steadily into Bri­tish foot­ball of late with six of the Pre­mier League’s 20 clubs now listed as hav­ing at least one Amer­i­can owner, with Manch­ester United (the Glazer fam­ily), Liver­pool (John Henry), Ar­se­nal (Stan Kroenke) and Sun­der­land (El­lis Short) form­ing an elite sub-group in­side the world’s rich­est league. They are all chas­ing the huge re­wards avail­able to win­ners, with ac­coun­tancy firm Deloitte fore­cast­ing that last sea­son’s sur­prise cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City, owned by Thai busi­ness­man Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha, will en­joy rev­enues of at least £155m in the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year, re­gard­less of this sea­son’s per­for­mances.

With such sums on of­fer, it is no sur­prise that English foot­ball has be­come such a man­age­rial killing field. Its lat­est ca­su­alty, Bradley, took to the air­waves on Wed­nes­day to vent his frus­tra­tion at be­ing sacked af­ter just 11 games in charge. “I thought dis­cus­sions were go­ing in the right di­rec­tion. I think that Ja­son and Steve un­der­stand the team needs to be im­proved and that will in­clude spend­ing money in Jan­uary to make it hap­pen,” he told TalkS­port.

For­mer Palace man­ager Pardew had also ex­pressed his sat­is­fac­tion with the re­sult of a “pro­duc­tive meet­ing” with his for­mer own­ers, Har­ris and Bl­itzer, in New York last month be­fore his own sack­ing.

Those talks had been trig­gered by a 5-4 de­feat at Swansea, which had granted Bradley tem­po­rary re­lief at Pardew’s ex­pense. But lit­tle more than a month later, both man­agers are gone. As they search for a new mir­a­cle worker, Swansea’s own­ers know they can­not af­ford to make another wrong de­ci­sion be­cause English foot­ball is now gov­erned by the bot­tom line. Mil­lions of dol­lars are rid­ing on it.

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