Simon Read: Investments driven by sentiment are doomed to fail


Rumours persist that Premier League new boys Cardiff City are set to float in the Far East. With the club reaching football's top flight for the first time in 51 years, the timing seems right. But anyone tempted to pile into the club's shares if it floats will almost certainly lose out, judging by previous football clubs' appearances on the stock market.

As Graham Shear, head of sport at Berwin Leighton Paisner, told me this week: "Football is like no other business, and investors are certainly taking a gamble if they buy shares in a football club."

Yet champions Manchester United's recent successful season has seen its shares climb 20 per cent since being floated last year on the New York stock exchange. More success this season may help the club's shares but if manager David Moyes fails to lift another trophy after last weekend's Community Shield, pictured, then the value could swiftly decline.

The problem with football clubs as an investment is that there's no real long-term growth. Sure, the likes of Manchester United and Cardiff City are growing fan bases and consequently sales in the Far East but will the returns justify investors backing them?

"A change in personnel or loss of key players can drastically affect a club's success, and an unexpected relegation has the potential to dramatically affect a club's share price," pointed out Mr Shear.

Cardiff City fans I've spoken to said they would buy a share for "sentimental" reasons. But investing sentimentally is a sure way to lose money. Twitter: @simonnread

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