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14 Sep, 2022 13:28

American investors are ‘clear & present danger,’ warns football icon

Gary Neville made his feelings clear on American ownership in the English Premier League
American investors are ‘clear & present danger,’ warns football icon

Manchester United icon Gary Neville has fired a fresh warning shot over US ownership of English football clubs, asserting that American investors do not understand the way the sport operates in the country and describing them as threat to the game.

Neville, 47, has long been a vocal critic of Manchester United’s American owners the Glazer family, who have reportedly drained more than £1 billion ($1.16 billion) from the English giants since taking over in 2005 – all while returns on the pitch have deteriorated drastically.  

Elsewhere, American businessman Todd Boehly and his partners at the Clearlake Capital consortium are the latest US presence in the Premier League after they took control of Chelsea from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich back in May.

Boehly, who is also co-owner of baseball team the LA Dodgers, raised eyebrows this week with his suggestions that the Premier League could “take a little bit of a lesson from American sports” as he proposed ideas such as a US-style ‘All-Star’ game between players from teams based in the north and south of the country.

Boehly claimed the plan could help fund football teams lower down the pyramid, but the suggestion has already been kicked into touch by the likes of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. 

Player-turned-pundit Neville weighed in with a message to his 5.3 million followers on Wednesday, not naming Boehly but writing: “I keep saying it but the quicker we get the Regulator in the better. US investment into English football is a clear and present danger to the pyramid and fabric of the game.

“They just don’t get it and think differently. They also don’t stop till they get what they want!”

The former England international previously accused Boehly of thinking he was playing a football video game when the new Chelsea chairman went on a record spending spree on players during the summer which was described as scattergun in its logic.

Boehly was also derided for his claims this week that Chelsea had nurtured talent from their academy such as Mo Salah and Kevin de Bruyne, when in reality the stars spent their youth days in their respective homelands before making their way to Stamford Bridge.

Last week, Boehly and the Chelsea hierarchy faced questions after the ruthless sacking of manager Thomas Tuchel, who was replaced by Englishman Graham Potter in a deal which is said to have involved record compensation paid to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Embarrassing reports also emerged claiming that during an early meeting, Boehly and fellow bosses had urged Tuchel to play in a 4-4-3 formation – meaning 12 players would be on the pitch when the goalkeeper was included. Chelsea denied the claims.

German Tuchel and his American paymasters are also said to have clashed over the idea of signing Cristiano Ronaldo, with Boehly said to have been keen on the possibility before Tuchel shot it down emphatically.