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A club shopping spree

Not exactly a spree at the moment but maybe soon we will come close to it. Not so long ago most speculation in English football used to be about either coach sacking or player transfers. But now you can't miss the speculation about which club is going to be bought next and mostly by a foreign buyer.

The fashionable thing for a club in the past was for the club to be listed on the London Stock Exchange enabling fans to own a share of the club but this has since been replaced by a buyer, mostly foreign coming along and buying a club.

The positives for this are that the product, the premiership, is good and that is why there are many suitors hovering around in search of a purchase. Coupled to this though is the question of whether the new owners would still hang around on the first signs of lustre? I think only time will tell.

Chelsea was the first purchase in this new era when Russian Roman Abramovich splashed his cash and bought the club and went on to transform it into Premier League champions in a short space of time. Next we saw the purchase of Manchester United by the Glazer family in a deal that incensed some fans but still went ahead and its business as usual at Manchester United - at least they are on top of the league at the moment.

The latest deal has seen Liverpool being bought by Americans George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Before this we saw Porthsmouth go to Russian Alexandre Gaydamak and the midlands outfit Aston Villa go to American Randy Lerner and also West Ham United to the Icelander Eggert Magnusson .

I don't think that there is anything wrong with these foreigners buying these clubs as long they work on improving the clubs and stick with them especially when they are unfortunately relegated and that's the danger in all these deals. Unless you buy one of the top four teams - Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal - the threat of relegation always looms.

West Ham is lying in the relegation zone at the moment and if things don't improve they could see themselves in the Championship which is not as glamorous as the Premier League. The question is will these new owners still be interested when the teams they have purchased now languish in the Championship?

Many a team have gone down into the Championship or Division One as it was called before claiming that they will be back after just one season and whilst some of them have done it like my team West Bromwich Albion recently, for others like Leeds United that hasn't been the case. The championship is not an easy place to come out of because the teams are more evenly matched and every season there is a surprise team like Derby this season.

Which brings another interesting scenario about people buying clubs in the Championship. Former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates is now chairman of Leeds United and this week it was confirmed that former Portsmouth owner Milan Mandaric has now bought Leicester City. I wonder whether this will be the new trend with locals (Mandaric is American) buying in the lower leagues and mostly foreigners buying the Premier League.

On the Australian front, I am wondering whether the A-League would reach such a state that teams will draw so much attention from across the globe. I think its a mixed bag at the moment because Perth Glory is still under the administration of the FFA whereas there has been some positive interest for the New Zealand franchise. The real test will come though when it comes time to increase the number of teams in the league from the current eight.

Back to the speculation we await to see which club will be bought next. Will for example Dubai International Capital (DIC) come back to buy another club after failing to buy Liverpool? And will Newcastle be next or maybe Tottenham? The speculation continues on unabated.

If somebody buys a club and makes some improvements then that sounds like a good idea. The people who bought Liverpool said that they would like to build a new stadium and that is a positive thing. The problem is that the league may end up being decided by who has got the most money to buy the best players and that's not on.

It looks like Manchester City will be the next club to be taken over with the club having announced on Thursday to the Stock Exchange that they were in talks with potential investors.

I will be following with interest to see what happens next.

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