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May 21 2022 9.41am

US Takeover of the Premier League Continues as Textor Seeks to Increase Palace Stake

March 15 2022

John Textor

John Textor

Crystal Palace look set to join some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs under American ownership after recent reports that major shareholder John Textor plans to increase his stake in the club, writes Marc Blake.

Should he succeed in his quest, Crystal Palace will join the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa as clubs with owners from the other side of the pond.

Textor is believed to already have a 40% stake in the club after investing an undisclosed sum, £87.5 million according to unconfirmed reports, in August 2021.

This investment is said to have helped with the costs of summer signings Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi and Michael Olise, who have all contributed to the Eagles’ fine form this season.

With his initial investment, Textor joined fellow Americans Joshua Harris and David Blitzer, who each own an 18% stake in the club along with Chairman Steve Parish.

In the past, the idea of American owners in the Premier League was one that struck fear into fans, these days the reaction is more mixed with current US owners responsible for both successes and failures in equal measure. So, let’s look at some of the current American owners in the Premier League.

Arsenal

Arsenal’s biggest shareholder is Stan Kroenke, who became the owner of the club after buying out the remaining shareholders in August 2018. Kroenke is married to one of the Walmart heiresses, Ann Walton, and made his fortune through his real estate company that developed shopping centers and apartment buildings.

He founded Kroenke Sports and Entertainment in 1999 through which he became the owner of the NBA's Denver Nuggets the following year. He is also the owner of the Los Angeles Rams, favorites in the Super Bowl odds provided by OddsChecker, so he has had plenty of previous experience in the sport industry before taking over the Gunners.

However, his ownership received a lot of criticism from fans, who were against foreign ownership and were unconvinced that he was going to provide the investment required for a successful Premier League side. Those fans are now considerably quieter, with Arsenal now performing well and displaying a clear strategy, although many remain unconvinced.

Manchester United

Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family, led by the six children of Malcolm Glazer, who passed away in 2014. The Glazers took over the club in 2005 amidst mass protests from fans concerned about the impact their ownership would have on the club, both on and off the pitch. Like Arsenal’s owner, Stan Kroenke, the Glazers are also involved in the NFL, having owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1995.

Despite fan concerns, Manchester United managed to win five Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League under their stewardship. However, many have put this down to the genius of Sir Alex Ferguson, who was still their manager at the time. Since the retirement of the Scottish legend, United have not come close to winning the Premier League or Champions League, which has resulted in further discontent from supporters. In this time the Glazers have received huge criticism over the lack of direction in the club’s transfer policy and their refinancing of the club’s debts.

Liverpool

Liverpool has also been under American ownership since 2007, when the club was purchased by George Gillet and Tom Hicks.

Their tenure was short-lived due to fan unrest and disputes between the pair resulting in a sale to Fenway Sports Group in 2010. FSG is led by John W Henry and Tom Werner, and also controls the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball and the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. Since taking over Liverpool, FSG has been criticized for several questionable decisions that have alienated fans.

One such example is the attempt to trademark the word “Liverpool”, which fans felt was entitled and lacked consideration of the city’s residents. They were also criticized for their involvement in the failed European Super League plans of 2021. Despite the negatives, FSG has been praised for the self-sustaining model they have put in place, which has helped the club win its 6th Champions League/European Cup, as well as their first-ever Premier League title.

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