MEHSTG Vol. 2  Issue 28  -  September 2002

With the money shelled out for Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United have stretched the national transfer record even further … and this at a time when other clubs are reining in on their outgoings. But as a public listed company, how will their shareholders see the expenditure ? Some football loving investors might feel that it was an area of the team that needed to be addressed and the money was therefore well spent on a player who had just had a good World Cup. However, there are still some investors who are interested in a return on their money.

It is one of the big drawbacks of being a plc, but Tottenham are in the same boat. At the moment, our shares are growing quicker (in percentage terms) than those of the Gold Trafford crew. And the news that ENIC intend to sell off their interests in Vicenza, AEK Athens, Slavia Prague, Glasgow Rangers and FC Basel means that Tottenham will indeed become the flagship for the investment company who own a large amount of Tottenham shares. Then on top of this comes the news that ENIC intend to make a share issue that will bring in £20 million of extra revenue.

This will have two effects. Firstly, the money will be available to the company to re-invest and could be used to increase merchandising in foreign fields (which would generate more income), to spend some of the money on new players (to take the team forward and into Europe, thus perpetuating the cycle of success) or to fund the new Academy, should it get planning permission at Abridge, Essex.

The second, which was pointed out by the Evening Standard, would be to dilute the share ownership and prevent anyone trying to make a take-over bid. When ENIC bought into Tottenham Hotspur plc, they did so by buying out Alan Sugar, but did not do so completely. Sir Al was left with 13% of the company’s shares and was seen at the Fulham game recently. He has been doing some financial money moving in his other companies (nothing underhand, it should be pointed out), but maybe, should the spare capital become available, the Spurs shares at a low price might seem an enticing proposition. By offering more shares to existing investors, ENIC will ensure that the level of original shareholding will be less of the whole than before the issue.

As Tottenham fans, we must hope that these moves are designed to promote the football club and thus as a knock on effect, raise the share price and also make their investment more buoyant. We, as many others have always said, think that the way to succeed on the pitch is to invest in that aspect of the company. A saleable brand is all well and good, but without the success there in the first instance, the rest will not follow. Being top of the league is all well and good, but Europe is where the money is. That means we need to be there or thereabouts in May, so the transfer dealing when the January window opens will be crucial to the club in how the rest of the season will go. Money made available between now and that time will be most welcome and will help Spurs steal a march on many of the top clubs.

It only needs one good campaign to kick-start the revival.

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