WHO Poll
Q: 2019/20 With seven games to go will West Ham stay up
a. Our demise was sealed when the idiots on the Board appointed Moyes, we're down
b. Despite the efforts of Moyes and the players, we will stay up by the smallest of margins
c. I'm beyond caring & couldn't give two hoots either way

Alan 10:13 Wed Jun 3
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Chelsea have made Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell, 23, one of their main transfer targets but the England international could cost up to £85m. (Athletic - subscription required)

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has spoken to the agent of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, 27, saying he is still interested in signing the France World Cup winner. (Le 10 Sport - in French)

Manchester United have identified Velez Sarsfield's Argentine winger Thiago Almada, 19, as a possible transfer alternative to Borussia Dortmund and England international winger Jadon Sancho, 20. (Manchester Evening News)

Inter Milan will make a move to sign Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette, 29, should Argentina forward Lautaro Martinez, 22, join Barcelona. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Tottenham have given England full-back Danny Rose, 29, permission to remain on loan at Newcastle for the remainder of the season. (Football Insider)

Newcastle midfielder Matty Longstaff, 20, who is currently on an £850-a-week academy deal, has been offered a £30,000-a-week contract by Serie A side Udinese, with the Magpies due just £400,000 in compensation. (Sky Sports)

Barcelona have made an enquiry about re-signing Spanish centre-back Eric Garcia, 19, from Manchester City. (ESPN)

Galatasaray have joined the race to sign Charlton and Montserrat international striker Lyle Taylor, 30, who says he will not play for the club again as his contract expires this summer. (Mail)

Brighton look set to miss out on the £15m signing of Rennes striker M'Baye Niang, 25, after Marseille entered talks to sign the Frenchman. (Star)

The Premier League has told clubs that no more than four matches will be stages at neutral venues, meaning Liverpool could become champions at Anfield. (Mail)

Sport Business

US investors ‘seeking preferred equity positions’ in Premier League clubs before market rebound

Ben Cronin, Europe Editor

Major investors are showing an increased appetite to secure preferred shareholdings in Premier League clubs and as many as nine EFL Championship teams could be available for sale as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a sports investment specialist at an international capital raising firm.

Adam Sommerfeld, head of sports investments at Certus Capital Partners, who describes his client base as a ‘who’s who’ of private equity players, NBA and MLS owners, ultra-high-net worth individuals and media firms, said experienced investors are looking for bargains during the crisis in anticipation of a rebound when top-flight leagues return to action.

He told SportBusiness: “We’re currently seeing significant interest in preferred equity deals across the top European leagues, mainly from our US investment groups.

“These are seasoned sports investors who are looking for positions in football which they can grow as the market returns, without engaging in full buy outs.

“Yes, they’re kind of sceptical on revenue hits with Covid, but they also see it as a kind of [Warren] Buffett or [George] Soros-type approach where you need to almost bet against the market – just as things are going down, that’s the best time to come in.”

Sommerfeld said his firm was in “advanced processes” to finalise a mixture of equity and debt deals with teams in the English Premier League, Serie A and La Liga that had become more compelling with the likely return of top-flight European football. Two weeks ago Germany’s Bundesliga returned to action and the English Premier League is in advanced talks to do likewise.

He suggested major clubs are more receptive than usual to selling minority stakes to shore up their financial positions and help them see out the crisis.

“It’s probably a risk adjustment for them; they want more capital, deeper pockets or just a partner to come in so they’re not taking the brunt.

“The main thing to remember is a lot of these owners will have been hit in their other businesses. Take the Newcastle United situation, where the owner [Mike Ashley] has multiple business lines. With Covid, it’s not just Newcastle that takes a hit but also [Ashley’s] Sports Direct retail group. The same goes for the stock market. When that tanks, most owners will be adversely affected.”

Sommerfeld said he expected Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund would conclude its proposed takeover deal of Newcastle United in spite of the crisis, although he wondered whether there was much appetite for deals of a similar scale elsewhere.

He said: “When it comes to writing the three, four or $500m cheque (£407m/€454m) then we’ll see if that happens in this environment.

“We deal with a lot of very well-versed US groups that own a lot of franchises already in the MLS, MLB or NHL. They understand that they are not going to get a massive discount on price at the moment – be it on a minority or majority stake – because owners are just going to rebuild value over the next 18 to 24 months.

“I’ve had some investors saying they’d expect at least a 30-40-per-cent discount and no owner in the Premier League is going to say: ‘we’ve been worth £300m for two or three years, now you are offering us £200m’, it’s just not going to happen and I think they lose credibility.”

Sommerfeld believed clubs further down the football pyramid will have a weaker hand to play and that as many as nine EFL Championship teams could be available as distressed assets.

“In the EFL, the capital requirement is more imminent and clubs are essentially really struggling. [There are] owners that have been putting money in for a while and have never really seen anyone turn a profit. There are exceptions to this. Brentford FC recently turned a profit and is a very well-run club. That strong financial management will stand them in good stead for the post-Covid environment.

“The guys that we know are available – and that’s not including the bottom three clubs which will likely need financing – you could be talking about pretty much 50 per cent of clubs that could be talking about majority deals.”

Sommerfeld said he knew of one deal to acquire a well-known Championship club that had already faced challenges because of the pandemic.

“We did a lot of work with a major team and there have been a lot of issues with that deal because of Covid, so we’ll see what happens there. That one was obviously pretty disappointing because that was very advanced. Those clubs are really going to struggle because TV money doesn’t really exist for them. It’s very much bums on seats and ticket sales. As I say, most will be available at the right price.”

However Sommerfeld believed sport should be heartened by the continued appetite among private equity firms for sports assets.

Private equity firm CVC recently tabled an offer to acquire 20 per cent of a new company to manage the Serie A broadcast rights, its international trademark and commercial development, while KKR and Apollo Global Management are said to have initiated talks over a potential nine-figure bridging loan to the German Football League (DFL).

“It’s no secret that private equity firms were looking at some of the topco opportunities with the leagues and these are encouraging statements,” Sommerfeld said.


Man City vs Liverpool and West Ham vs Chelsea to be moved to midweek due to FA Cup

Premier League games are being shifted ahead of the imminent fixture list release as the FA Cup has to be squeezed into the calendar before the season finishes at the end of July

By Jack Staplehurst

The FA Cup quarter-finals and semi-finals are playing havoc with the Premier League fixture calendar ahead of this week’s release.

Clubs are set to imminently discover exactly when they will be playing their remaining matches.

The schedule is poised to follow the same structure as was mapped out prior to the season being suspended.

As a result, those games that were due to take place on the weekend of March 14 and March 15 will now be on the weekend of June 20 and June 21.

It has already been agreed games in hand will be played out first on Wednesday, June 17.

Manchester City ’s home game with Arsenal and Sheffield United’s showdown with Aston Villa will go ahead so that every club will have nine games remaining.

The Premier League have confirmed full match rounds on six long weekends from Friday to Monday, while three midweek slots of Tuesday to Thursday will also be on the calendar.

The midweek rounds will be between June 23-25, July 7-9 and July 14-16, with the season due to end on Sunday, July 26.

The FA Cup final will then take place the following weekend on Saturday, August 1.

But it is the earlier rounds that have already forced changes, with some big matches being moved about.

The FA Cup quarter-finals of Newcastle vs Manchester City, Sheffield United vs Arsenal, Leicester vs Chelsea and Norwich vs Manchester United are on the weekend of June 27-28, and the semi-finals are on July 18-19.

As a result of the quarter-final ties clashing with Premier League games for that weekend, Manchester City vs Liverpool in the Premier League will be bumped to midweek.

The crunch showdown between the reigning champions and Premier League leaders will be a night-time clash now.

Pep Guardiola’s side will no doubt be out to send a message to Jurgen Klopp’s men ahead of next season.

Elsewhere, the London derby between relegation battlers West Ham and Champions League-chasing Chelsea will now be a midweek game too.

David Moyes’ team will be desperate to pick up the three points as they bid to avoid the drop, while Frank Lampard’s team cannot afford to slip up against teams in the bottom half with United on their tale.

Bournemouth vs Newcastle, Arsenal vs Norwich, Brighton vs United, Everton vs Leicester and Sheffield United vs Tottenham will also be moved to midweek too.

The full provisional fixture list is set to be debated at Thursday’s meeting where clubs will get a chance to express any disapproval.

It is being made a priority that no club will have to play twice in a 48-hour period.

Some teams, though, will need to play three games in seven days on some occasions due to the spreading out of games for broadcasting purposes, as every match will be shown on TV.

Sky Sports have 64 matches with 25 of them free-to-air games, BT Sport have 20, BBC have four for the first time in Premier League history, and Amazon Prime Video have the remaining four.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 7:38 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan, amazing dedication during this period of no football.

Texas Iron 3:54 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

bill green 12:54 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

the Star ...
with United on their tale. ffs

ted fenton 12:49 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 10:19 Wed Jun 3

Sydney_Iron 11:55 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

Should be saying this more often, sterling job everyday.

*doffs hat

blueeyed.handsomeman 10:40 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
THanks Sven, THanks Alan and Yes between 10 ;00 and
10 ;30 03 06 2020,

Thanks Alan 10:23 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Sven Roeder 10:21 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Thanks Alan 10:19 Wed Jun 3
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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