With the money shelled out for
Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United have stretched the national transfer
record even further … and this at a time when other clubs are reining
in on their outgoings. But as a public listed company, how will their
shareholders see the expenditure ? Some football loving investors might
feel that it was an area of the team that needed to be addressed and the
money was therefore well spent on a player who had just had a good World
Cup. However, there are still some investors who are interested in a
return on their money.
It is one of the big
drawbacks of being a plc, but Tottenham are in the same boat. At the
moment, our shares are growing quicker (in percentage terms) than those
of the Gold Trafford crew. And the news that ENIC intend to sell off
their interests in Vicenza, AEK Athens, Slavia Prague, Glasgow Rangers
and FC Basel means that Tottenham will indeed become the flagship for
the investment company who own a large amount of Tottenham shares. Then
on top of this comes the news that ENIC intend to make a share issue
that will bring in £20 million of extra revenue.
This will have two effects.
Firstly, the money will be available to the company to re-invest and
could be used to increase merchandising in foreign fields (which would
generate more income), to spend some of the money on new players (to
take the team forward and into Europe, thus perpetuating the cycle of
success) or to fund the new Academy, should it get planning permission
at Abridge, Essex.
The second, which was
pointed out by the Evening Standard, would be to dilute the share
ownership and prevent anyone trying to make a take-over bid. When ENIC
bought into Tottenham Hotspur plc, they did so by buying out Alan Sugar,
but did not do so completely. Sir Al was left with 13% of the company’s
shares and was seen at the Fulham game recently. He has been doing some
financial money moving in his other companies (nothing underhand, it
should be pointed out), but maybe, should the spare capital become
available, the Spurs shares at a low price might seem an enticing
proposition. By offering more shares to existing investors, ENIC will
ensure that the level of original shareholding will be less of the whole
than before the issue.
As Tottenham fans, we must
hope that these moves are designed to promote the football club and thus
as a knock on effect, raise the share price and also make their
investment more buoyant. We, as many others have always said, think that
the way to succeed on the pitch is to invest in that aspect of the
company. A saleable brand is all well and good, but without the success
there in the first instance, the rest will not follow. Being top of the
league is all well and good, but Europe is where the money is. That
means we need to be there or thereabouts in May, so the transfer dealing
when the January window opens will be crucial to the club in how the
rest of the season will go. Money made available between now and that
time will be most welcome and will help Spurs steal a march on many of
the top clubs.
It only needs one good
campaign to kick-start the revival.