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Volume 10 No. 24


Arsenal has "announced the appointment" of Chips Keswick as the successor to Peter Hill-Wood as the club's chairman, according to the PA. Keswick, 73, "has been on the Arsenal board" since '05. He "is the former chairman of Hambros Bank and a director of the Bank of England." In his role as chairman, Keswick will work directly with Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis "on the club's football and business ambitions." The appointment "breaks an Arsenal dynasty going back to 1927" as Hill-Wood's father Denis and grandfather Sir Samuel were Arsenal chairmen before him. Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke said, "Peter has been a wonderful custodian of this club. He has been a member of the Arsenal board for 51 years, and his vision and steadfastness have been central to the successes of this great club over that time" (PA, 6/14). The BBC reported Hill-Wood is "standing down for health reasons." Hill-Wood, 77, "had a heart attack last December and leaves after 51 years on the board." Hill-Wood: "Although I am feeling better, I feel this is the right time for me to stand down." Keswick said, "I am honored. This is one of the great clubs in the game, recognized and loved by millions" (BBC, 6/14).

League One side Coventry City administrator Paul Appleton "has announced that four bids have been made" for the club, according to Gregg Scott of the BBC. Following Thursday's 12pm BST deadline for final and best offers for Coventry City FC Ltd. Appleton said, "I can confirm I have received four bids. I will obviously now take time to consider these bids before contacting the bidders with my final decision on a preferred purchaser. As part of this process, there will be discussions with Football League." The only known bids "are from a consortium, headed by U.S. tycoon Preston Haskell IV and another involving the club's current owners, Sisu" (BBC, 6/13).

Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian "could plunge into administration" within the next 10 days, according to Moira Gordon of the SCOTSMAN. With money still due to British tax authority HMRC and none of the players receiving their June wages, employees believe the tipping point will be June 24, "when non-playing staff are due to be paid." According to a club source, the money is just not there, and unless a wealthy benefactor materializes soon, "administration appears inevitable." A source said, "So unless someone comes in with £500,000 ($785,200) then I don't see any way we can pay the staff, and if we can't then I don't see any way we can avoid going into administration" (SCOTSMAN, 6/16). The BBC's Brian McLauchlin wrote "at least six interested parties are considering a potential takeover of Hearts." Three potential bidders are based in North America, another in Scandinavia and there are two U.K.-based groups, "including the Foundation of Hearts." However, as things stand, "no buyer is able to buy the controlling stake in the club as the majority of club shares are split between two companies" (BBC, 6/15).

HEARTS 'WORTHLESS': The BBC reported MP Ian Murray, who is leading a fan-backed bid to buy Hearts, claims the cash-strapped club is virtually "worthless." Murray said that "insolvency facing the club's owners" could work in his group's favor in trying to buy Hearts. Murray: "From a hard-nosed business outlook, the club only has value in terms of its history, its share in the SPL and the assets that it holds. Given Thursday's statement and the club accounts, it's quite clear there is an on-going annual funding gap at the club that is quite substantial. That obviously has an effect on what the club is worth and I would go as far to ask whether the club is worth anything?" (BBC, 6/15).

Manuel Pellegrini "has signed a three-year contract" to succeed Roberto Mancini as manager of Man City and will immediately be tasked with the challenge of winning back the EPL title, according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. The 59-year-old Chilean will take up the role next Monday "and will work alongside" club CEO Ferran Soriano and Sporting Dir Txiki Begiristain on taking the '11-12 champion in a new direction after it failed to negotiate its way past the group stage of the Champions League under Mancini and finished runners-up to ManU and Wigan Athletic in the EPL and FA Cup, respectively. Pellegrini's appointment "has been long expected" (LONDON TIMES, 6/14). Pellegrini said, "Everyone knows if you arrive at a club like Manchester City you need to win titles. I think Manchester City have invested a lot of money to improve the squad every year and try, every year, to win titles. They were not successful in winning some titles but I am sure we are going to win -- maybe the Premier League, the Champions League. We will try to win a lot" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 6/14).

'HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT': In London, Louise Taylor wrote Pellegrini "quite possibly needed to mug up on the precise meaning of 'holistic management' before finally arriving at the Etihad Stadium." Much fun was poked at Man City when its club statement announcing Mancini's dismissal last month declared that his successor must satisfy a newly identified requirement to "develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club." It sounds like the sort of thing Man City's "corporate jargon loving" former CEO Garry Cook would have said and, sure enough, Cook recently endorsed the stance adopted by Begiristain and Soriano. Cook said, "The holistic element is understanding the way a football club runs, not just the way a team wins games. When companies sign [sponsorship] agreements with a club they want access to the core proposition, which is the talent. They want the manager, they want the players, so the player and the manager have to give up their time for that" (GUARDIAN, 6/14).

Australian Football League side Melbourne Demons coach Mark Neeld's days as coach are numbered after the Demons Friday "took their first significant steps in a complete rebuild" when President Don McLardy and another board member quit their roles, according to Smith & Walsh of THE AUSTRALIAN. The AFL Commission granted Melbourne CEO Peter Jackson its full backing to overhaul all aspects of the financially stricken club, "with the restructure off-field expected to be completed" by Oct. 31. Jackson, who addressed a meeting of the AFL Commission alongside McLardy before he stepped down Friday, "has been assured Melbourne will receive the financial backing to allow him to deliver his plan for the club's revival." AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou, who said that "the league would work closely with Jackson in coming months in order to ensure the rebuild is successful, stressed the support was conditional." Demetriou: "Mr. Jackson was very forthright in his assessment of the current status of the club and the overall impact on the AFL competition as a whole" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/15). In Sydney, Warner & McFarlane wrote the AFL said that "it was considering Melbourne's request" for up to A$3M ($2.8M) in emergency funding. Demetriou insisted it would be "highly conditional." Demetriou: "The majority of the conversation was about their financial situation ... at the end he (Jackson) talked about draft assistance" (HERALD SUN, 6/14).