Picture the scene: a typical Thursday evening, discussing the fortunes and prospect s of SAFC over a pint with mates, and planning a Friday cutting firewood in preparation for the hardships of a winter of economic discontent that will surely come, when the phone started going crackers. Some bloke, who’s either the 20th or 25th richest chap in the whole wide world, is on the brink of taking over the club, with his financial managers in tow. Well, that’s nice – as he owns Dell computers and stuff like that, he’s not going to get any poorer, is he? Michael Dell (canny name if you’re going to set up a computer company), along with Glenn Fuhrman, John Phelan and Robert Platek, are a fair way down the path to becoming majority shareholders at the SoL. The latter three are collectively MSD Capital, a company set up to look after the assets of Mr Dell and his family. Canny work if you can get it, I suppose.
OK, there have been rumours in the past of ridiculously rich people being on the brink of buying in to SAFC, only for our hopes to be dashed because those folks either didn’t exist, were never interested, or turned out to be about as rich as rich tea biscuit. Americans investing in English football – what could possibly go wrong? Erm, Ellis Short, legal action forcing the sale of Liverpool, Man Utd’s debts? Sunderland fans can be forgiven for being a bit sceptical and not counting our eggs rather than our chickens, but…
After three wins in eight days, the timing of the release of information was clever, raising people’s spirits even more, and while there has to be caution until the dotted line’s been signed, it’s impossible not to feel more than a bit excited – tempered with the reality of experience. Mr Dell’s personally worth £28 billion, and that’s a lot of zeros potentially heading our way. I imagine – hope – that they’ve been allowed to get this far in their plan to take over because they buy in (figuratively speaking) to the long-term plan that the current owners have set in motion. The last thing we want, in my opinion, is for anybody to rip it up and start again, effectively putting us back a year. We can look at them and quite rightly think “they’re not football people” (they’re American, how could they be?), but part of the job interview must have been assessing if they were the right people for the job – as our current owners have always maintained, any potential investor has to be in it for the right reasons. As the deal includes Donald and Methven remaining, presumably to keep the new boys on the right track as far as our current strategy for staying financially stable, those right reasons will be ensured.
It looks like we’ve got some good guys close to completing the deal. All we need now is for things to go according to plan, and we can have our FA Cup winning goalkeeper make the announcement: “The man from Dell – Monty says yes.”