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EPL fans lament flood of U.S. owners as Boehly's Chelsea purchase looms

Some U.S. EPL club owners have become the targets of fan protests in, around, and even above (in the form of plane banners) stadiumsGetty Images

If Todd Boehly's acquisition of Chelsea FC goes through, when the EPL season begins in August, U.S. money "will be backing more than half of the 20 competing teams," according to Hellier & Sahloul of BLOOMBERG. While U.S. owners have "largely seen their investments grow in the world's richest football division," they have "frustrated hardcore supporters by failing to match the on-field successes of rivals backed by petrodollar billionaires from the East." The U.S. influx into English football "began in the early mid-2000s," when the Glazer family, which also owns the Buccaneers, "took charge at Manchester United." Since then, Americans have "landed in the boardrooms" of Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa, and "other famous clubs." Fans are "more interested in trophies and bragging rights than top and bottom lines," and neither ManU nor Arsenal "has been delivering enough of either lately." Both the Glazers and Arsenal Owner the Kroenkes "have found themselves the targets of fan protests in, around, and even above (in the form of plane banners) stadiums." In recent seasons, supports have "decided to vote with their feet, leading to low attendance at some non-EPL games." But there have been "successes." Liverpool, backed by Red Sox Owner Fenway Sports Group and RedBird Capital Partners, "won the EPL for the first time in almost three decades" in '20. But Liverpool's fanbase "maintains a tense relationship with the owners." The fans' "outrage forced U-turns on both the Super League and the club's plans to furlough staff during the pandemic" (BLOOMBERG, 5/18).

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