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Walsall go American


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American sports investment firm take control of Walsall

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Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images

American sports investment firm Trivela have bought the controlling stake of League Two Walsall.

The group, based in Birmingham, Alabama, have bought 51%of chairman Leigh Pomlett's shares and have agreed to purchase a further 25% within two years.

The deal will allow the club to trigger their purchase option on the stadium.

Benjamin Boycott will join the Saddlers' board as co-chairman with Pomlett, who has agreed to stay on for four years as part of the transition process.

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Oh dear. New company, attracted by a club that makes a profit. No doubt they'll be looking to make even more profit next year.  Not good for them. Might put a tenner on them and Crewe to both be relegated to non-league next year.

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Posted (edited)

So many red flags here. The more I read, the more concerned I get for Walsall.

A distant American investment company, formed in the last year, committed to extracting profit, trying to create a 'family' of football clubs under their ownership, keeping the existing frauds in a job for a '4 year transition period' and not bringing their own people on board, with no immediate promise to invest any serious money in the short-term?

Zero clarity as to where the money will come from, or whether the expectation of profit will be immediately, or long-term. 

Just smacks of a failed promotion push and ever-increasing debt. Distant owners taking profit. There is very little precedent for this sort of buy-out going well. Pomlett's track record for decision-making is absolutely abysmal and my gut is that he's just sold Walsall down the river.

Edited by Joe B

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Joe B said:

So many red flags here. The more I read, the more concerned I get for Walsall.

A distant American investment company, formed in the last year, committed to extracting profit, trying to create a 'family' of football clubs under their ownership, keeping the existing frauds in a job for a '4 year transition period' and not bringing their own people on board, with no immediate promise to invest any serious money in the short-term?

Zero clarity as to where the money will come from, or whether the expectation of profit will be immediately, or long-term. 

Just smacks of a failed promotion push and ever-increasing debt. Distant owners taking profit. There is very little precedent for this sort of buy-out going well. Pomlett's track record for decision-making is absolutely abysmal and my gut is that he's just sold Walsall down the river.

I had a quick browse of their forum to see what their views are, and see that this comment was picked up. Hi lads! To be blunt, I don't have any strong feelings either way about Walsall, so this isn't an embittered dig.

If there's any club which is used to false dawns when it comes to investments, it's us. V2001, Harlequin Properties, Bluesky, Ameriturf, Keith Ryder, Norman Smurthwaite, the mythical 'Hong Kong' Consortium... honestly, we've been there. Each time, we thought it was a new dawn.  When you've been through so many poor chairmen, and failed investments, you begin to pick up a sense when something is amiss.

To summarise, a foreign investment firm being very vague on how they will finance the club (in terms of ROI timeframe + loan conditions) whilst maintaining the existing (bad) personnel in key operational positions is a major concern, based on experience. Their priority seems to be the acquisition of the freehold; it's the only specific investment and target they've said. These lads aren't sugar daddies. Their number one motive will be profit, which is a very rare prospect in the lower leagues. 

Fundamentally, the main thing will come down to these fellas being competent operators. We had a former owner who had cash, and invested interest-free, but he lacked intelligence and any degree of football understanding. Walsall are Trivela's first step, but they don't seem to have much expertise with them, hence Pomlett sticking around. The success of this takeover will come down to whether promotion is attained in the short-term; a big job for Flynn.

Edited by Joe B

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Posted (edited)

They’re loving it on their forum. Sadly (or gladly in my case with walsall) this will only end up one way. 

Investment companies want one thing and one thing only. A return on their investment. This has future admin written all over it. 

Edited by valiant_593

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On 06/06/2022 at 13:13, butt lane vale fan said:

Some of their fans getting excited saying they have assets of over £12Billion. Who knows, however no mater how much they are worth, can they run a Footy Club. 

But the £12 billion is not their money is it?  It's other people's money that they manage?

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10 minutes ago, Jacko51 said:

But the £12 billion is not their money is it?  It's other people's money that they manage?

Yeah it's £12 billion of other people's money, in a separate company entirely. One of the fellas involved in Trivela is involved with Armitage.

Their only committed investment so far seems to be do re-do the 'Saddlers Club' (their version of Tommy's) and a desire in 2 years to purchase the freehold. It's all asset-driven. No talk of investment in the playing budget, youth facilities.

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I found it very strange that Pomlett is staying on for 4 years to ensure a smooth handover… that’s longer than he has been in charge of the place, why so long other than money?

Also their old mega hated chairman is lurking i. The background here somewhere, a few of them claiming he was the one who (through a 3rd party) introduced those involved.

A few red flags for me.

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1 minute ago, Iron Curtain said:

I found it very strange that Pomlett is staying on for 4 years to ensure a smooth handover… that’s longer than he has been in charge of the place, why so long other than money?

Also their old mega hated chairman is lurking i. The background here somewhere, a few of them claiming he was the one who (through a 3rd party) introduced those involved.

A few red flags for me.

Bonser is the one who owns the stadium at present, with rent going into his pension pot.

Trivela's only firm commitment is to buy the freehold in 2 years.

A coincidence, I am sure.

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