In an article published by the Birmingham Mail (a paper, for the record, that I think does a great job in their Villa coverage), a "football finance expert" has said that Aston Villa are unlikely to be purchased by American, but rather oil-rich Middle Easterners. While in the end the prediction may end up being correct, the reasoning used to get there makes no sense whatsoever and perhaps verges on being racial stereotypical.
Here's the big takeaway, from the subject of the article Peter Knowles:
“I heard that there was a potential American bid but it is far more likely to be from the Far East or the Arabs. The Arabs would be able to pay for it because they have got so much oil money. Or it could be the Far East, Singapore or Malaysia, somewhere like that. If you look at the Glazers at Manchester United they leveraged the deal and landed the club with debt. But in the current financial circumstances, there are more than enough people out there with the dosh to buy Villa.’’
The thinking here seems to have a few parts to it:
- Villa will cost a fair amount of money
- No American will be able to front that sum
- Arabs will be able to buy the club because they're all rich!
- Or maybe someone from the Far East because they, too, are rich
Okay, the first part is definitely true. Most estimates have Villa in the £200 million price range, which is a large chunk of change. But why would that rule Americans out? Americans Ray Davis, Larry Ellison, and Bob Kraft have all been tied with rumours of buying the club and they could all certainly afford it.
To the last two points, they smack of racial stereotyping of the type that is a little disturbing, honestly. "The Arabs would be able to pay for it because they have got so much oil money," is a gross blanket statement that does nothing more than play on the fact that Manchester City were purchased by an oil-financed collective from Abu Dhabi. The Far East connection strikes me as being related to Vincent Tan's purchase of Cardiff City. If it happened once, surely it will happen again, this guy seems to argue.
The problem is that there is no compelling reason to believe that Americans will not buy Aston Villa. In fact, from everything we've heard, there is plenty of reason to believe that exactly that will happen! It's absolutely possible that the rumours could be wrong and the club could be bought by a non-American, but not for the reasons presented in the Mail article. Those are just warmed-over stereotypes that haven't taken into account the actual context of Aston Villa's sale.