I had a most interesting chat with someone I regard as a superior investor yesterday, who is also omniscient as regards football investment.
He described 2009 as his annus horibilis, with every one of his major ( non-stock market) investments showing a loss ( and in some cases needing propped up with cash)
He made a bit on the bounce, but overall he estimates he is about 35% down in total asset value over the year - and he regards that as not bad going.
But his major preoccupation has been with football teams. The sport is a busted flush in this country, with the top Scottish Premier League teams collectively owing well over £100 million, all making losses, and no real prospect of salvation. Even Rangers and Celtic are now looking as if they will become also-rans as the recession bites, what with Setanta going bust and so on.
He tells the story of the very rich American family who thought they would like to buy Rangers - a mere pound or two would do it and HBOS would be delighted to get their money back. There would be almost automatic access to Europe, something that would not be guaranteed with any of the of the English teams ( pace Chelsea and Man U, and they ain't for sale even at £1billion.)
So a conference call was arranged.
Now it so happens that there has been a book written about the rescue of Celtic by Fergus McCann, and the Americans had read it, to get the feel of Scottish football.
McCann, of course, is a very canny Scot who made pots of dosh out of the deal - and found a wife, too.
So the call started with the Americans saying that a new Chief Executive and Chairman would be needed, and they knew of just the chap.
There was a pause.
" Who?" asked the Scottish side.
" Waall we think this here guy Fergus McCann is a real sharp cookie, and we would want him for Chairman."
There was a deadly hush.
It was pointed out that he was a Roman Catholic, and Rangers were Blue Noses i.e. Protestants.
" Waal we figure if a black man can be President of these here United States, then a Catholic can be Chairman of Rangers."
As Jesus once said, it is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle...