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Why Swansea City turned down Moores and Noell

Talks broke down between Swans and the Americans

Swansea City's Liberty Stadium
Swansea City's Liberty Stadium
Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The pair of American investors, John Jay Moores and Charles Noell, who are looking to purchase Everton for £200 million had previously attempted to buy a stake in another Premier League club Swansea City. News of their interest had broken in November 2014 when the Board at Swansea started talks with Moores and Noell. The latter was a guest of the directors for a couple of Swans' away matches as well.

The Swansea City Supporters Trust, who own 21% of the club making it the only Premier League club to be partially-owned by the fans, had spoken out against selling any part of the club.

"The way in which we (as a club) work has been recognised around the world as a role model for clubs to follow and given the current strong position of the team and the club we do not believe that this is the correct time for the ownership or set up of the club to change.

"We fully recognise the excellent job that the current directors and shareholders have done, and our desire would be for this set-up to continue and for us to continue our progress in the same way that we have for the last 12 years.

"Our message to the other shareholders has therefore been that we do not wish to relinquish our shareholding in the football club."

We also spoke to SOS Fanzine, a Swans blog that Royal Blue Mersey has very close ties with. Steven, the editor at SOS, had attended the Supporters Trust meeting that formalized the group's stance against the buyout, and compiled these notes.

"In meetings with the two men concerned the board are still no closer to finding out exactly why they want to purchase shares in our club and if they were to come on board they would be expected to pass a fit and proper persons test.

"However we don't want these shares to go to just anyone. The fact is the shares are not going to go down in price because the Premier League is becoming more and more popular around the world not to mention richer with the new TV deal that was announced last week.

"I was very alarmed when I heard over 60% of shares mentioned but not in the least bit surprised. Foreign businessmen with no affiliation to the club were never going to be happy with less than 51% of the club in the long term. Why would you spend millions to acquire a minority stake knowing your methods could be shot down by the rest of the board?"

Wales Online reporter Chris Wathan, who covers the Swans for the publication, did a positives-negatives analysis of the proposed buyout.

The pros:

  • stadium expansion - Would require significant funding to plough ahead with construction.
  • spending big in transfer market - A potential new investor could opt to make available funds for the squad.
  • entering the American market - New broadcasting deals could reach a minimum of £100m per team as channels like NBC buy in.
  • outsiders' expertise - Fresh faces can bring fresh ideas in terms of pushing the club commercially.
  • future deals - If the partnership proves attractive then it could prompt a typical business scenario that further shares are made available.

The cons:

  • loss of local control - Outsiders may not necessarily be aligned to the well-known ideals of the club's decision-makers.
  • the risk of the unknown - Any outside investment represents a trip into uncertainty. Not every buy-in or takeover in the top divisions has brought success.
  • the potential for a want of a return - An investor is someone who commits money or capital in order to gain a return. It can be argued that there would be a want of something back for the money and time spent.
  • further share sales - With a new investor involved, could further share purchases give them a greater control of the club?
  • reliance of Premier League status - Investors may well be enticed by the glamour of the Premier League but the Championship - and its stark drops in revenue - are a different matter.

The difference in Everton's case is quite stark though - the American group is not just looking to buy a minority stake in the club, they are proposing to take over the club completely. That will affect some of the pros as well as the cons as described above for Swansea.

More to come as the story develops.