Methods, motives, youth development & finance – Everything Joe DaGrosa has said about a possible Newcastle United takeover
Takeover talk has again gripped Tyneside with potential new owners GACP Sports making moves across the world to keep the ball rolling on a possible Newcastle United bid.
Yesterday brought confirmation that the Florida-based investment firm, headed up by billionaire Bordeaux chairman Joe DaGrosa, had opened up a new company in the USA – GACP NEWCASTLE INVESTORS (U.S.), LLC – as well as one in the Cayman Islands – Newcastle Investors Ltd – to facilitate potential investment from America, and also reserved the same name in Jersey. The latter company would provide the vehicle for investment from outside the USA, according to GACP Sports & Peter Kenyon’s glossy 46-page brochure circulated to the press last month.
This follows on from the setting up of GACP NEWCASTLE MANAGEMENT (U.S) LLC and GACP NEWCASTLE PARTNERS (U.S), LLC. The former launched on September 27, 2019 with the latter set-up on October 1, 2019.
This news has piqued interest but quite understandably come with a healthy dose of scepticism.
At the very least, though, this shows the group’s interest is real, if they are yet to come to a firm agreement with owner Mike Ashley.
There is no suggestion DaGrosa or GACP Sports do not have the cash to complete a deal, although their £300million model is thought to be short of what Sports Direct tycoon Ashley wants for United.
Earlier in the summer the Bin Zayed Group were quoted £350million for the club – although the Gazette understands Ashley was happy to take payment in instalments, as Kenyon, DaGrosa & Co wish to progress with now.
So, are we heading down another blind alley, or could this be the real deal?
Only time will tell on that – but New Yorker DaGrosa has certainly given some interesting insight into the way a ‘new’ Newcastle United could be run.
Here’s a summary of everything DaGrosa has said on his motives, methods, running of a football club and potential investment in another ‘European project’, courtesy of Get French Football News.
DaGrosa on investing in sport & targeting ‘storied’ clubs like Newcastle & Bordeaux
"Sports have always been on our company’s radar and this is a league that has enormous potential. You can buy a Major League Baseball team which costs $1bn and is in a death spiral or, for a fraction of the price, own a storied club in Europe that’s going to continue to grow and ultimately realize its value down the road.”
On providing entertainment for the fanbase
"We’re here (Bordeaux) to win. It may take us a while, but we’re here to win. You have to adapt to the warrior within. It’s a war. The fans are working all week. They have to pay the bills. Sports is entertainment and our job is to deliver an entertaining product.”
DaGrosa reveals the REAL reason why he wants to invest in European football
“At the end of the day I run a private equity company and we are always looking for good sound investments. Right now we are focused on European football. I think the MLS is going to continue to grow over the next few years and if the right opportunity comes along, who knows. With Girondins de Bordeaux’s 138 year history, we wanted to buy into that history and be apart of that. It has a proud tradition and we wanted to be apart of that.”
The billionaire’s thoughts on marketing European football in China & the US
“I think there's even a bigger opportunity in China relative to the US. I just got back from China we are spending time and energy and money to develop that market and we think it's a market that's going to grow exponentially over the next 10 years and we plan to be a big part of it. Football, soccer is growing in the US I think it's going to continue to grow.”
On the challenges of business, working philosophy and his love of British history
“You learn most from challenges. Failure is when you hit a challenge and give up. In the immortal words of Winston Churchill: ‘Never, never, never give up’ – and that has been a theme of mine. It’s worked for me. I like to take calculated risks. The common theme of most successful people is that they’ve had to deal with challenges, whether that be generals or politicians or anyone. History has taught me, people who have had success, they’ve not had a cake walk.”
DaGrosa reveals his obsession with a former Prime Minister & time spent in London
“I was a student in London at 20 in 1985. I happened to walk into a book store and picked a book off the shelf randomly. It happened to to be the life of Benjamin Disraeli.
“I read it once, then again and again. It really resonated with me.
“He rose from people doubting whether he’d get into politics to Prime Minister.”
DaGrosa discusses his football inspiration & introduction to the sport in the 1970s
“Soccer, when I was growing up, I did not know who played it. It wasn’t until I went to high school at maybe 14 that I saw anyone playing the game. Pele put it on the map. I am from Yonkers outside New York. Pele came to the Cosmos and then it took off. It didn’t have an impact on the big four sports but it was then on the map. I looked at football through the prism of a business opportunity rather than a love for the game.”
The quote that proves DaGrosa ‘gets it’
"There is an emotion in this business that does not exist in any other. I've been in insurance which is all about the numbers, the burger business (Burger King) and believe it or not, that's also all about the numbers. Then you get into sport and it's emotional. Everyone has a view and everyone likes to share their views. It's a real balancing act."
On appointing the right people to the right roles – a mistake of Ashley’s in his tenure
“Getting the coaching position and head of football right has been important and also the person running the academy - our secret weapon,” he said of his running of Bordeaux. They are three key positions.”
DaGrosa on football as a ‘loss maker’ & building from the bottom up
“We are trying to create value. We will accept losses over the first few years. We want to create franchise value - the way to do that is by having a good team, and a good academy system. Not wanting to pick on PSG, but they have a lot of money and throw it around. They have different values, different aims. In our case we want to build the club from the ground up, produce home-grown players and eventually keep a lot of that talent in Bordeaux. We have got to develop young talent, like a fine wine and wait for the right vintage. This is with a view to having a very strong squad in two, three, four years time. We are caretakers of the club - it has been around a lot longer than us and will outlast us. We want to deliver it to the next caretaker better than we took over. Our salaries have gone up considerably (at Bordeaux). It's a trade off. You can get someone free and pay them double or triple what you'd pay a £10million transfer. We have young talent, they will have a prominent role. We did not want to spend a lot of money and then have that role filled by a young player in the near future. We have to be mindful of our medium to long-term future. We plan to be at the club at least four years, ideally five to 10 years.”