Chelsea, Manchester City and PSG have benefited from a swift injection of wealth since the turn of the millennium, but who should you buy if you suddenly became a billionaire today? Well, let us help you.
You could just buy Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United or Juventus, of course, and virtually guarantee yourself glory, but that would be far too easy.
So, how does the new billionaire go about deciding on the right club to buy? Well, there are three important parameters…
Look at the list of the biggest European football clubs and you’ll notice they are located either in capital cities or main tourist destinations (Madrid, Barcelona, Munich, Paris, London, Milan, Rome, Naples) – or at least the cities where people have historically been crazy about football (Liverpool, Manchester, Dortmund, Turin).
It’s insanely difficult to create and develop an international brand without an active local fan base, a robust tourist influx, or both.
In 2011 alone, Barcelona made around €17million selling tickets to the club museum that, according to the city’s mayor, is one of the three most visited museums in the city.
Plus, I still remember Alexis Sanchez rejecting my beloved Liverpool purely because he wanted to live in London. So yeah, let’s concentrate on the teams that are lucky enough to be based in a truly great city.
Man City faced more than a few challenges during the initial years of Sheikh Mansour’s ownership. It’s easy to forget the era of them spending big money on the likes of Jo, Roque Santa Cruz and Scott Sinclair, but it took time for the Blues to attract the world’s best players?
Why, well, the presence of Manchester United down the road will hardly have helped.
It’s not easy to rebrand a club. And to pull it off in a city with another big club is even harder. You can’t be Jonah Hill and suddenly expect to get a part written for guys like Brad Pitt. No matter how hard you work and how quickly you move, people still need time to get used to the new reality.
PSG’s owner Nasser Ghanim Al-Khelaifi has already invaded the fifth-best European league, and there isn’t enough potential in any of the underdogs in Portugal or the Netherlands so the options are starting to reduce.
Back to the parameters…
1) We only consider four leagues – La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga and Serie A – because we want everyone watching us taking European football by storm.
2) We need a really good location, either a capital city or a major tourist destination, because we want to pack our stadium every other weekend and make money from tourists.
3) We’re going to avoid cities that already have one or several successful clubs, because we don’t want to live in their shadow for decades Dave Franco-style.
This can only mean one thing…
Wait till the ’50+1′ rule finally gets cancelled and there will be a massive hunt for this club.
Hertha easily attract 50,000 fans to the Olympiastadion and play in one of the most attractive, multicultural and rapidly-developing cities in Europe.
And the club’s history is so sad (86 trophyless years) that you really couldn’t fail. What if your first season is a disaster? Well, who cares? It’s just par for the course. There will be no ridiculous expectations.
You won’t even have to pay off a pile of debts left by previous owners, as might have been the case in other countries.
And when it comes to the first transfer window, then you’ll show the rest of the world who’s boss.
Sanchez’s wife refused to move to Liverpool? Well, Berlin has as much to offer as Barcelona or London.
Man City’s sheiks spent months trying to come up with a way to top their annoying neighbour? Trust me, FC Union is not going to bother you.
No one watched PSG’s games? No worries, when you drop six goals on Bayern’s heads, people will talk about it for years.
I shared my theory with one of my German buddies and asked him how the locals would react to the ‘50+1’ rule getting cancelled and my imaginary billionaire buying Hertha BSC. His response: “I think most fans would hate you the second it happens.”
I could not have planned this any better.