Outlook: Fantasy football

Outlook: Fantasy football

IT'S A FUNNY OLD GAME, soccer, and no more so than now with the frenzy of speculation about who's going to bid for whom. Two parallels immediately spring to mind. The first is with what's happened to the electricity sector, where distributors and generators have followed each other into a legion of overpriced copycat deals.

The second, that of the City at the time of Big Bang, is probably the more exact one. Once one securities firm had been sold to a bank, then all banks had to have one, and virtually all securities firm just had to find a suitable sugar daddy too. In the process, a generation of mainly undeserving partners got rich beyond the dreams of avarice while the banks lost their shirts.

Here are two versions of the game of fantasy football being played out in the City. The first concerns Tottenham Hotspur. Disillusioned with the game after a disastrous start to the season, Alan Sugar let it be known he'd accept 80p a share for his 40 per cent shareholding. To begin with Joe Lewis's Enic low balled him, but last week it finally came up with the readies.

Mr Sugar then turns round and says he's not selling. Post Rupert Murdoch's bid for Manchester United, it's worth a lot more, he insists. This seems unlikely. Tottenham is unheard of outside the UK and on present form wouldn't qualify for the European super league. It used to be said that even if Spurs was no good on the pitch, at least it was strong off it as one of the most profitable clubs around. Alas even this is no longer true. Tottenham will lose money this year.

Mr Sugar already knows the fans don't like him; they've made that only too plain. Now he's in danger of alienating his shareholders too. This is no way to run a public company. Rather than acting as a conduit for the interests of all shareholders, as he should, Mr Sugar is acting as if the club is wholly his to buy and sell. To redeem his stewardship, Mr Sugar needs to come up with a higher offer in double quick time. If alternatively he's decided he doesn't want out after all, he must announce a compelling strategy to rescue the club from its present predicament. Neither eventuality looks very probable as things stand.

With Manchester United, we now have a real, live fantasy takeover bid. Salomon Smith Barney, the investment bank, has announced through the columns of the Sunday Telegraph that it might counter BSkyB, whether on its own behalf or that of a client is not made clear.

The man heading Salomon's approach is Christian Purslow, an upstart corporate financier who came to prominence last year for an utterly shambolic and ultimately fruitless attempt to float Formula One. So is his client Bernie Ecclestone? Apparently not. Who then? Not saying, comes the riposte, but the bid will be debt financed.

Oh really? Any rival would have to pay a minimum pounds 650m, this for a company with minimal earnings. No one in their right mind would attempt leverage in such circumstances.

Still, there must be someone out there, surely. After painstaking and costly research, we have at last unmasked the mystery bidder. It is Micky Mouse as part of a consortium offer with Ernest Saunders.

Hardy, they could have it for a song.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little