Bournemouth takeover: New owner Bill Foley ‘a dictator’ and ‘must be captain of the ship’

New AFC Bournemouth chairman Bill Foley watched the team play at Leicester City in October

Bournemouth’s new owner Bill Foley has led a takeover of the club because he has to be ‘the captain of the ship’ – and has described himself as ‘a dictator’.

Foley became chairman of Cherries after his group Black Knight Football Club bought the Premier League outfit.

The American businessman also owns the Vegas Golden Knights NHL franchise.

“I’ve looked at different Premier League investment situations for a number of years, but I’m not a good minority owner,” he told the BBC.

“I tell my sponsors, and they know it, that there is nothing more limited than being a Bill Foley sponsor.”

Foley is chairman of Cannae Holdings Inc, which owns a 50.1% stake in Bournemouth.

“I looked at several teams over the last two or three years and they all involved minority investments and someone else is already in charge. I do not like it. I am a dictator,” he told BBC Radio Solent.

“When I’m involved, I have to be the captain of the ship. I had to wait for a situation where I could buy the team myself, with my partners of course, and control the fate of the team.

“I’ve always said with the Vegas Golden Knights that if there’s a mistake, it’s on me. I will take responsibility and plan to do the same with the AFCB.”

The deal for Bournemouth would have cost around £120 million,external link and the club’s minority ownership group is led by Hollywood actor Michael B Jordan.

Foley said there was “no borrowing” involved in the deal and “we ended up raising about $250 million.” He described the deal as “a bargain”.

“MLS, unfortunately, requires a stadium to be built, and in the United States it costs $600-700 million,” he said.

“The franchise fee itself, I think, is $300 million, so you’re in for a billion dollars before you have a team.

“I buy a Premier League team that already has a stadium, that already has players and I can improve it. I don’t see us involved in MLS.”

Foley plans to ensure there are “adequate funds” for a new training facility, building a new stadium or upgrading Vitality Stadium and player transfers.

“Then we have a multi-club concept,” he added. “We are in negotiations with a Ligue 1 team exclusively and with a first division team in Belgium who would give us this little triangle that we could move players back and forth.

“We have raised sufficient funds to finance all these transactions. I am delighted with the progress we are making. Everyone in Bournemouth is going to be excited about this.”

He added: “It’s going to take us a few years to do that.

“The big problem is that we need more seats because 11,300 is not enough for what we need to achieve at Bournemouth.”

He is also looking to change the composition of the supporters at matches.

“When I went to the game, I looked around the stadium and everyone looked like me – older white men,” he said.

“I want to broaden our base. We need to get younger, I want a lot more women to come to our games. I want diversity – so we really have something to do.”


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