Ever since Roman Abramovich spent some loose change and bought Chelsea back in 2003, foreign owners in football has become the norm.
Some have made their clubs infinitely better (Chelsea being the prime example of what an owner who is prepared to bankroll his club can do), but for every Abramovich there’s a Massimo Cellino, a Vincent Tan…or a Francesco Becchetti.
In case you didn’t know already, Becchetti is the man who has taken Leyton Orient from the verge of the Championship to the depths of non-league football in the space of three years.
Orient’s loyal fan base is one that was initially excited about what was to come when Becchetti bought the club for £4m, but three years later they find themselves looking forward to away days at Halifax Town, rather than trips to grounds like Elland Road.
I could go into detail about what Becchetti has done to decimate a famous London club, but to be honest, it wouldn’t do the club the justice the following video has.
The guys at Copa90 went to investigate what was going on at Brisbane Road, following the club’s devoted fans home and away to experience the clubs’ final days in the Football League, and it’s a stunning, eye-opening glimpse into what life is like supporting a club you’ve loved as it is systematically pulled apart from the top down.
This could easily be your team…
I hope you weren’t expecting a fairytale ending…
Don’t get me wrong, foreign ownership in football can take a club to the next level almost overnight, but it can also take a club back two levels in the space of two seasons, like Becchetti has at Orient.
To him, Orient is a plaything. Something which can be ignored and forgotten about when it doesn’t bring the kind of return he was expecting when he sat and worked out his projected figures during the takeover.
There are many ways of running a football club. Abramovich opted for the free spending approach, while Mike Ashley at Newcastle prefers the Sports Direct method of business, buying low and selling high and making the most of the Premier League TV money.
But Becchetti’s way of running things is to ignore the fans that are lining his pockets and hope his problems go away soon, and it’s that type of ownership that needs to get out of football as soon as possible.
Here’s hoping Orient can bounce back from this mistreatment and re-establish themselves in the Football League.