Top 5 Worst Takeovers – When Sugar Daddies Go Bad

As Manchester City and PSG have shown in recent years that a big money takeover can prove to be an enormous windfall in terms of financial and on the field success, however some takeovers can prove to be a nightmare.

We take a look at five of the worst buyouts in football.


Whilst PSG and Manchester City have been living the high life, Spanish side Malaga are left to rue what might have been.

The Andalucian side were bought for around 35 million euros in 2010 by Sheik Abdullah Al-Thani, who invested millions in building a side that would qualify for European football.

However two years later after Champions League football was achieved, the Qatari removed his investment in the Spanish side, forcing them to sell some of their star players and leaving some players with unpaid wages.

Reports that the Sheik is looking to sell the club after growing frustrated with the lack of progress with his other business ventures in the area, have turned Malaga’s dream owner into the sugar daddy from hell.


Peter Ridsdale – Leeds United

Peter Ridsdale’s tenure as Leeds United chairman was one of the biggest rollercoaster rides in English football over the last decade and a half. Success followed in the early days of his ownership as Leeds reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and the Champions League, but financial mismanagement saw the club slide down the Premier League table.

Ridsdale quit as chairman in 2003, leaving the club with debts of over £100m. Leeds were then relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2003-04 season. The turmoil that Ridsdale left behind saw the Yorkshiremen relegated from the Championship in 2007, and began the 2007-08 in League One with a 30-point penalty due to insolvency.

The Venkys – Blackburn Rovers

The Venkys ownership of Blackburn so far has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster. A seemingly lack of knowledge about the English game, or football in general, has seen the chickenmen ridiculed by the press and fans alike.

Having replaced Sam Allardyce with Steve Kean in December 2010, Rovers went on narrowly avoid relegation at the end of the 2010-11 season. Despite Kean originally being hired on a temporary basis, the Venkys eventually gave the Scot the manager’s job full time.

With the club looking like certain favourites for relegation under the stewardship of Kean in January 2012, the Venkys failed to inject more transfer funds into the club, or sack the hapless Kean in order to help save the club from the drop.

To rub salt in the wounds the club made a pre tax loss of £18.6m during the Venkys first year at the helm.

 The Glazers – Manchester United

When it comes to the question of sugar daddies any Manchester United fan will happily tell you that the Glazer family has pumped more debt into the club than they have invested.

After an unprecedented £800m buyout of United in 2005, the Glazers have left the club paying around £70m a year in interest – the equivalent of one Cristiano Ronaldo every season.

The Florida based owners have been a figurehead of contempt at Old Trafford, and whilst much of the management of the club has remained constant, the animosity towards the American owners has not lifted in the last seven years.

In many ways United are lucky that their extensive commercial arm has helped to finance the club in recent years, although there have been rumours that Alex Ferguson has had to curb his spending to help the club clear its debts.


With the sheer number of disastrous takeovers at Portsmouth in the last six years, it would be unfair to pin the club’s current financial problems on just one man.

Perhaps the biggest villain of the piece must be the Franco-Israeli businessman Alexandre Gaydamak, who started the rot after taking soul ownership of the club in 2006. Gaydamak had allegedly stripped the club of £32m before selling it to Sulaiman Al-Fahim for £60m in 2009.

Al-Fahim’s tenure at the club lasted less than three months, before he sold the club to Ali al-Faraj in October 2009. The sale provoked much controversy with one report claiming that Al-Fahim had sold the club for ‘zero pounds’.

Al-Faraj’s reign was met with similar financial mismanagement. The club was transferred into the hands of Balram Chainrai in February 2010, after Al-Faraj defaulted on a £17m loan. Chainrai’s first major action was to take the club into administration, becoming the first Premier League club to earn the dishonour.

Relegation swiftly followed and the club was sold yet again in July 2011 to the Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) consortium headed by Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov. “In CSI, I believe we have found owners who will take the long-term view,” said chief executive David Lampitt at the time.

By November Antonov had resigned as chairman of Portsmouth after being arrested for asset stripping. His Convers Sports Initiatives was placed into administration and subsequently so were Portsmouth.

In many ways perhaps Pompey are best off in the hands of the administrators.

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