First Man U, then Villa, then Liverpool and now… Spurs? Another Premiership club looks set to fall under American ownership. US private investment company Cain Hoy has confirmed it is assessing an initial bid to purchase the London club.
The company has until October 10 to formalise or withdraw this offer.
Putting the fans’ point of view, Martin Cloake of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said: ‘There’s a lot of rumour and speculation circulating at the moment. Much of it doesn’t seem to add up when looked at from a business perspective. However, we have consistently called for greater transparency from club owners about matters affecting the future of our club and, while we understand there are commercial sensitivities involved, we believe that fans have a right to know much more than we are often told’.
The proposed bid comes just as Spurs have had to revise their plans to move into a new, 56,250 capacity stadium by August 2017. It is planned to be built next to their long-established home of White Hart Lane, whose relatively modest 36,280 capacity cannot be increased. The new arena seemed to have been given the green light in July 2014 when approval was given for compulsory purchase of the land. However this decision has been challenged in the High Court, and the possible subsequent legal entanglements forced the club to announce that it may have to play its home games for 2017-18 away from White Hart Lane.
This announcement also drags up the thorny issue of the Olympic Stadium, only six miles away, which both Spurs and West Ham coveted as a potential home ground. A bitter, long-running saga was concluded in 2013 when it was confirmed that West Ham had been granted a 99-year tenancy. The East London club will move in for the 2016-17 season.
The Olympic Stadium is now the closest, if, apparently, not the most probable candidate for Tottenham’s temporary home in 2017-18.
Meanwhile, current Spurs owner Joe Lewis is said to have set the value of his club, and its new stadium development, at almost £1 billion. Bow-born Lewis, 77, earned much of his reported $4 billion-plus fortune in currency trading, most notably after the sterling collapse of Black Wednesday in 1992.
Leading the Cain Hoy bid is its head of European investments, London-born Jonathan Goldstein. Only launched this year, Cain Hoy has its focus on entertainment, real estate, retail and media.
As Cloake concluded: ‘Owners are temporary, supporters are permanent, and it is on supporters that the value of a club is ultimately based’.