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Old 2nd September 2006, 12:29   #1
Paul Brooks

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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Wheelieville, REPUBLIK OF MANCUNIA.
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Default I'm forever blowing Roubles

I'm forever blowing Roubles

Business Editor
September 02, 2006

WEST Ham could be sold to a consortium with Russian links in an astonishing £100million deal.

Billionaire Boris Berezovsky was last night believed to be advising investors led by Iranian-born Kia Joorabchian.

The Hammers, famed for their club song I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, admitted having “exploratory” talks. Any deal would make West Ham the third Russian-owned club in the Premiership, joining Chelsea and Portsmouth.

Mr Berezovsky is a former business associate of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Mr Joorabchian, 35, owns Media Sport Investment (MSI) and is also closely linked to Badri Patarkatsishvili, the owner of Georgian football club Dinamo Tbilisi.

Mr Berezovsky, who lives in Britain, is wanted by the Russian authorities over fraud allegations but has refugee status here.

A City source said he was not part of the consortium but had made MSI loans.

The source added: “It is possible Boris might like to invest in a football club.

“But he is not interested in sitting in the directors’ box like Roman Abramovich does.”

The consortium is said to be offering around £70MILLION to take full control of West Ham — and assume its estimated £30MILLION debt.

City sources told The Sun that a deal could be tied up in under six weeks.

The Hammers are effectively controlled by three men.

Chairman Terry Brown owns 38 per cent of the shares, 28 per cent are owned by Martin Cearns and Charles Warner owns 19 per cent.

With Aston Villa about to be bought by US tycoon Randy Lerner and Manchester United owned by the Glazer family, five of the top six clubs in the Premiership could soon be foreign controlled.

Vinay Bedi, of stockbroker Wise Speke, said overseas buyers were targeting English clubs because they love our game — and see opportunities of a cash bonanza through TV deals.

Mr Joorabchian’s father built up a Kent car dealership. His firm MSI bought Brazilian club Corinthians for £18million last September.

And it sold Argentinian World Cup superstars Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez to the Hammers on Thursday under the noses of several top clubs.

West Ham fans have been singing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles since the 1920s. One line goes: “Fortune’s always hiding, I’ve looked everywhere.”

Maybe West Ham have found theirs at last.,,2-2006400674,00.html
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