Bidders hire Hansen to pick club

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The Independent Online
A City-backed investment vehicle which is seeking a stock market flotation later this month has recruited Alan Hansen, former Liverpool and Scotland international, to scout for a Premiership football club to buy.

Hansen has been appointed as a non-executive director of Soccer Investments, a shell company backed by City institutions. It is seeking an listing on the Alternative Investment Market.

It hopes to use a pounds 10m cash "carrot" and the promise of a flotation to lure a Premiership club into a reverse takeover.

Soccer Investments is in talks with two Premiership clubs. As the company has appointed a Newcastle-based broker and a Leeds-based public relations company, it is possible one target could be Middlesbrough. The Teeside club is third from bottom in the Premiership but is in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the final of the Coca- Cola Cup.

Vinay Bedi, of the company's broker, Wise Speke, said: "Soccer Investments has given itself two years to find an attractive football club willing to enter into a reverse takeover. If such an opportunity does not appear, the group will liquidate and the backers' cash will be returned."

The backers are believed to be blue chip City firms as well as prominent footballing individuals. The directors of the acquired club would receive shares in Soccer Investments for their stake. The pounds 10m would be injected into the club.

There has been a flurry of football club flotations and opportunities for deals in the Premiership are diminishing rapidly. In recent weeks Mosaic Investments has taken over Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United has taken a listing while Sheffield Wednesday is raising funds via a placing.

Soccer Investments said Alan Hansen's selection of prospective clubs would centre on player capabilities, strength of squad and the management.