Uri Geller wants to buy Athletic
30th September 1997
Oldham Evening Chronicle
by TONY BUGBY
URI GELLER, one of the world’s top psychics, has expressed serious interest in buying Oldham Athletic Football Club.
The Israeli-born Geller, whose spoon-bending powers shot him to fame, wants to own a second or third division football club.
And he admitted that the Boundary Park club, which graced the Premiership until 1994, is firmly under the Geller gaze.
Athletic chairman Ian Stott said he welcomed any move which would strengthen the financial position of the club.
There was also a positive response from major shareholder J W Lees, with the brewery pointing out that any offer for their holding will be looked at seriously.
Geller, who used to follow Reading until a recent fall-out with their chairman John Madejski, has contacts currently putting out feelers to discover which, if any clubs, are on the market.
It is difficult to put a figure on the asking price for Athletic. The value of the 14-acre site is reported to be worth over £2 million, while the club has debts of £1.8 million.
The current balance sheet, shows the club’s total assets, less current liabilities, are £2.7 million.
When informed of the Boundary Park club’s position, Geller declared: “I am keen to delve further into the Oldham proposition and would like them to send me details about the club.”
“I have been thinking of buying a football club for some time. I looked at first division clubs, but they are probably out of my reach because I am not that seriously wealthy.”
Lower-division clubs like Fulham, Hull, Preston, Watford and Wigan already have wealthy benefactors, which restricts the number of clubs Geller can target.
The financial muscle of these clubs is threatening to make it even harder for hard pressed Athletic to recapture the glories of recent years.
Mr Stott said he would like to have a preliminary talk with Geller to discuss his possible involvement in the Boundary Park club.
He explained: “Rather than sending off a meaningless piece of paper, I think it would be best if we had a chat to start the ball rolling.”
“We would listen to anybody thinking seriously of becoming involved. But when it comes to buying the club lock, stock and barrel, there is the complication of the brewery which has to be recognized.”
“We would look favourably on any proposal, providing it is in the best interests of the club.”
“We have recently seen clubs, Hull being the most unlikely, getting considerable funds injected into them.”
“If we can get ourselves in a strong financial position alongside these other clubs then we should explore ways of doing so.”
Richard Lees-Jones, chairman of the J W Lees brewery, said: “Any offer made in writing would be discussed by the board.”
“There has been speculation in the past, but we have never had any offer in writing.”
Motivational Inspirational Speaker
Motivational, inspirational, empowering compelling 'infotainment' which leaves the audience amazed, mesmerized, motivated, enthusiastic, revitalised and with a much improved positive mental attitude, state of mind & self-belief.