Getting the PR right can make or break club owners

Many new foreign owners of English football clubs have struggled to win the PR battle.

The Abu Dhabi United Group's investment in English football is the latest in a number of takeovers that have relied heavily on PR support.

Eight Premier League clubs now have foreign owners, a trend started in 2003 by Roman Abramovich. The Russian used Citigate Dewe Rogerson for his purchase of Chelsea.

While most takeovers have been announced with fanfare, some have found the PR battle hard to win.

The perception that the manager was being undermined was a PR disaster for Liverpool's American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Similarly, Manchester City's Thaksin Shinawatra found that sacking Sven-Goran Eriksson undid most of his previous PR work.

Famously, the Glazer family's takeover of Manchester United caused the biggest PR headache, with furious fans even ordering pizzas and skips for then adviser Brunswick. But few visible dissenters now remain, largely thanks to the many trophies the club has won since the takeover.

Others have seemingly got the comms right from day one. Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner, advised by Buchanan Comms, kept a low media profile. But he regularly attended matches, while crucially backing his manager, and he has kept out of football affairs.

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