Seems like the cross over of US based owners into buying out English soccer clubs continues even as their experience of the game remains limited.
The interesting thing about General Sports and Entertainment (GSE), the Michigan based company, the new owners of Derby is the NBA affiliations of its top executives. Andrew Appleby, the CEO is a former VP of the Detroit Pistons and its sports and entertainment division. The management team put into place at Pride Park includes Tom Glick, a former marketing chief for the New Jersey Nets, who is leaving for Derby as the CEO and president. His exec- VP is Tom Hinchey a former VP of the Charlotte Bobcats, another NBA franchise.
The point man who orchestrated the deal is Roger Faulkner, the VP of soccer operations, a new recruit for GSE, and a lifelong Derby supporter before he moved to the USA. He has been instrumental in popularizing soccer in the Detroit area. His activities have included founding and serving as a general partner in the Detroit Express of the North American Soccer League in 1977, serving as president of the 1994 World Cup Detroit Host Committee, and serving as a council member of the United States Soccer Federation and president of the Michigan Soccer Association. Faulkner will assist GSE with the Derby County operation.
This should be welcome news for Steve Nash, the Phoenix Suns point guard and former MVP, in his future plan to buy out Spurs. He has to first find a consortium to foot the £300m bill but given his love for the game and as a lifelong Spurs supporter, he should be a refreshing change from the Abramovichs, Glazers, and Hicks and Co. presently taking over the EPL, saddling their clubs with debt and furthering their images as soulless investors, more interested in making a buck than any genuine passion for the game.
The welcome part of the Derby takeover is that the new owners have followed Randy Lerner as their role model and bought out the club through their own cash. No speculative loan and putting the debt onto the clubs books a la Hicks and Gillett, the source of much heartache for LFC fans.
The future looks a bit grim though. Derby is relegation bound unless the Red Sea parts waters again. Their advent to the EPL and its mammoth pool of TV money enriches its coffers by at least £20m or more even if they finish at the bottom. The parachute money will give them some cash to buy new players but the following seasons sees its share of TV money plummeting south. Derby's advance to the EPL came after many years in Division 2 and the Championship. So their immediate return to top flight is not guaranteed unlike the Addicks or Mackems, who seem to make as many entries as exits.
The future of Benny Feilhaber and Eddy Lewis is uncertain and its a bit difficult at this point, seeing them stay on. Feilhaber has been a bit out of depth in Paul Jewell's team and Eddie Lewis is used sparingly.