By Keiran Fleming
With Mark Campbell becoming the latest millionaire looking to invest money into Scottish football it is time for fans to realise that football in Scotland is on the verge of changing forever.
The American Stockbroker is leading a consortium from New York looking to takeover Falkirk. The Bairns shockingly got relegated from the championship and now face a fight to get promoted from league 1. Although they have already made some big name signings, a new owner could see the club rise back into the premiership within the next 5 years – at least that’s the target.
This rumoured takeover comes at the end of a season where the ownership landscape in Scottish Football has drastically changed.
The first big ownership change this season happened at Tannadice, with American millionaire Mark Ogren buying the club in December. The takeover has led to United’s debt being wiped, the hospitality facilities being upgraded and most importantly a squad overhaul.
The month after Ogren took over the Arabs signed 11 new players which helped them push to the play off final. Further investment from the new owner this Summer has seen the Tangerines bring in star players such as Lawrence Shankland and Liam Smith. The 56 year old has set a short-term goal of promotion from the championship but he looks to get the club back into Europe within the next 10 years.
Right at the end of the season it was announced that Ron Gordon, US Media Tycoon, had become the majority shareholder of Hibernian. The first action the new chairman was to wipe away all of Hibs debt which has put them 6 years ahead of schedule. Gordon has set the goal of becoming a consistent top three club with the views of becoming a title challenger but the American realises that will be a tough task.
Another championship club facing the prospect of new owners are Partick Thistle. A consortium led by billionaire Chinese-American entrepreneur Chien Lee. Lee is also the majority shareholder of Ligue 1 side OGC Nice and English Championship side Barnsley.
The jags had quite a disappointing season finishing sixth, so maybe new owners would freshen the club up. However, the main goal for the clubs possible owner would be to building the jags up again just so it can be sold for a significant profit. Of course, at the time of writing this is an example of a proposed takeover harming a club, the mysterious nature of this proposal has seen lottery winner Colin Weir withdraw his funding for a training ground, and supposedly players will be paying for their own bus travel to some away games.
For those fans that are worried, don’t be. Change at clubs such as Dundee United, Hibernian, Partick Thistle and Falkirk has been needed for a long time. So far it is fair to say that the new owners both for the Arabs and Hibs are ambitious and want the best for the club.
With a lot of new investors coming from the US it can only be a good thing for Scottish Football. The fact that half the clubs in the championship are have owners from America shows that they deem teams in Scotland as good long term sporting projects. They see the potential for Scottish football to grow and they want to play a role in bringing the reputation of Scottish Clubs back to where it used to be.
It’s an exciting time to be a Scottish Football fan especially with big clubs such as Aberdeen and Hearts being the next teams rumoured to be the targets of American investors. The landscape of Scottish Football could be changing and who knows, in the next 10 years the Premier League could be looking completely different.