In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast Editor James Beavis, former Premier League midfielder Rob Lee has dropped his verdict over West Bromwich Albion’s potential takeover.
The Baggies find themselves sitting second from bottom having won just once in their opening 11 matches, that coming against basement boys, Sheffield United.
At the weekend, they capitulated against Crystal Palace, losing 5-1 to put Slaven Bilic’s job under the spotlight once again.
And in the background of it all, reports have emerged linking the Midlands outfit with a possible change of ownership.
According to the ever-reliable John Percy at the Telegraph, West Brom have held talks with an American consortium over a £150m takeover, which is thought to have been turned down by current owner Guochuan Lai, though discussions are still ongoing over either a full takeover or claiming a 15 percent stake in the club.
Lee, who played for Newcastle United and England, has raised question marks over the intentions of the unnamed prospective owners.
He told FFC:
“You just wonder how these people think, some would think, well, let’s get the club, and invest loads of money and then pick them up. And at the other end, you might think, well, let’s let them go down, and they’ll be less pricey for us, and then we can plough some money in and get back up. I don’t know. I just know what football is like.
“The [prospective owners] try and get the club as cheap as they possibly can. What you realise now is that people who buy football clubs are not usually the supporters of the club. I mean, they’re doing it for certain reasons – whether they want the publicity of owning a club, whether they want to do it for guests, you know, advertising for their own companies.
“It’s not because they’re fans of that club. That’s the big difference.”
Lai took over Albion back in 2016, purchasing the club from Jeremy Pearce for £200m but his reign has been riddled by a lack of further investment, which is thought to be one of the main reasons behind the tensions between the board and Bilic.
A lack of funds in January could well leave the writing on the wall, but as Lee rightly questions, the fans need to know what the prospective owners’ intentions are before getting behind any potential takeover.
AND in other news, £85k-per-week outcast once dubbed “unique” could be perfect for West Brom