One Man's View

With an impending double dip recession and world economy in chaos, is it too much to ask for a philanthropic billionaire to buy Coventry City FC?

Let’s be honest. We are probably prepared to compromise. It doesn’t have to be a Billionnaire. A couple of dozen Million might do it, to spring us into the premiership. This view was taken by current owners SISU when they bought the club, managed debt clearance and committed more modest funds to seek a promotion – but it is worth recognising that this strategy did not work.

In any re-attempt, a new owner would need to be prepared for the the fact that success wouldn’t come overnight regardless of investment, there would need to be a patient approach. They would also need to be prepared for significant personal investment in time to oversee progress, they outsource or delegate this at their peril. The “Football Industry” appears to be replete with businessmen purporting industry management skills for chairing or directing such enterprises with virtually no evidence of success. Tread carefully and choose associates wisely.

Investment in the long haul probably means reaching the Premier League which is an exponentially more competitive environment with a wholly greater cost challenge. All of the greater revenues from TV money would go on player wages, deals would have to be very carefully structured to ensure they only lasted whilst the Matching revenues existed.

We rent a 32000 stadium facility for about £1.5m a year, cross revenues from property re-use are therefore not available but it’s still a great deal allowing focus on core activity for the club.

A successful team might expect attendances in the 18-22k range, likely to rise to 26-28k attendances for a handful of games in the Premiership.

Current “solid” home support/attendance sits at around 11k, depressed by poor recent results that see us firmly in the relegation zone of the Championship. There is little evidence to suggest that even a successful premiership run would generate much more than an average 24k gate, well below the demographic potential for the region.

The models for success we would seek to emulate can be seen at Norwich, Blackpool and Southampton, further down the line establishing a sustained run of Premiership occupancy has been delivered by Stoke, Sunderland, West Brom and Wigan. The Latter have enjoyed funding from a philanthropic Chairman who estimates his investment in the club has topped £110m over and above TV/Premiership Revenues.

Current owners are represented fully by a capital hedge fund, they have spent some £30m for no return so far. They have neither the means nor appetite to increase spending from levels that currently endanger the clubs Championship status and barely maintain cashflows to keep the club solvent – the core business of the club remains unprofitable despite significant cost cutting.

So, if anyone does have a similarly philanthropic desire to donate a significant sum for little realistic likelihood of seeing a financial return can they please provide details in writing on Letterheaded paper declaring their interest, means of finance and commitment to due diligence to: -

Sisu Capital
11-12 Hanover Street
London
W1S 1YQ
UNITED KINGDOM