I'm not a businessman,
I'm a Business, Man
Let me handle my business, damn
- Jay-Z, a potential investor in Arsenal FC
What does it say about me that I get excited about the idea of Jay-Z becoming an investor in Arsenal FC and having a seat on the board? Am I so besotted by celebrity culture? Are my thoughts so superficial that I think Jay-Z’s genius as a rapper and his talent as a successful Business will automatically translate to the Byzantine world of football politics?
I hope not, but I’m not sure.
I don’t get excited about the prospect of having a fat Uzbek oligarch with alleged criminal links on the board. I don’t get excited about having a skinny American with pretensions of a global sporting empire on the board. I don’t get excited about Danny Fsizman, Peter-Hill Wood, Sir Chips Cheswick or anyone else on the board. I did get excited about foxy Nina Bracewell-Smith on the board, but she’s been kicked off. However, I am genuinely excited by the idea of Jay-Z at the Arsenal.
Here’s what Jay-Z said about it:
"(Wife Beyonce and I) would have to spend much more time in London. Bey knows how much I love sports and has known about my interest in Arsenal for a while. I never want to be a back-seat investor. I want to be on the board, involved in the decision-making... I'm at the stage of my career where I am ready for another investment like this. I have really got into soccer over the last 10 years and I've been saying for some time I want a percentage of Arsenal.”
Actually, I think Jay-Z would fit well with the Arsenal board, if he ever got on it. It’s a bit cynical of me, but I think that at his heart, Jay-Z’s a businessman. He buys and sells. He likes to make a profit. And in the Arsenal, he’s come across probably the only football club in the world which makes money and which has the ability to expand. It’s a good business opportunity.
And the moment, the Arsenal board are only interested in coasting along and making a profit. It’s been paralysed for the past five years with in-fighting. The old members are just marking time and waiting for the market to pick up again before they can dump their shares. Usmanov and Kroenke don’t have the funds to buy the Arsenal outright, but don’t want to give up their 30%. So we’ve got a board that’s content with the status quo, paying down the loan and earning a tidy profit every year.
It’s a good match-up.