The Last Word: Want to buy part of a sports star? Well here’s your chance

Fans could soon trade shares in the earning potential of their heroes. So who to sell or buy?

Brand Beckham has finally missed a trick. Buying a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, and staging electronic signing sessions in Hyderabad, New York and Sao Paulo for 30 million Facebook followers, is positively passé.

The future has arrived in the form of Arian Foster, the Houston Texans running back. In the ultimate synthesis of sport and business, grace and greed, he is selling shares in his earning potential. You, too, could own the virtual toenail of an authentic superstar.

Foster has sold 20 per cent of his future income to Fantex Holdings, a San Francisco investment company headed by legendary quarterback John Elway, for $10million (£6.3m). The deal will be financed by the sale of 1,055,000 $10 shares in “Arian Foster Convertible Tracking Stock”.

The initiative, due to be launched later this month after ratification by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, will be broadened to include other marquee athletes if it is successful.

So who are the human alternatives to speculating on the price of pork bellies or the value of derivatives? Here are 10 sporting figures, of contrasting experience, character and quality to consider.

Remember, the value of investments can go up or down.


Joe Root... Buy

Already a hit in Walkabout bars and God’s Own County, the cherubic Yorkshire batsman is ready to reclaim Australia for the Mother Country. The Ashes will establish him as the Housewife’s Favourite.

Stuart Broad... Sell

Every closet comedian, fuelled by fizzy beer and the conviction they are the reincarnation of Crocodile Dundee, will be on his case this winter. He could just crumble.

Christian Wade... Buy

Yesterday’s omission by England ensures stock can be picked up cheaply. Watch it soar as the Wasps winger answers reservations that he is too small for international Rugby Union. Anyone with his youth, speed, athleticism and agility is a shoo-in for 2015.

Chris Ashton... Sell

The Saracens winger has had the benefit of tough love from England coach Stuart Lancaster, who gave him the summer off to meditate on the lessons of adversity. Though psychologically stronger, someone so prone to self-absorption is always a risk.

Adam Lallana... Buy

Loyalty rarely meets precocity, but Lallana, symbol of Southampton’s breakthrough season, is a singular success. He stayed by the club in League One. His maturation into a goalscoring midfielder will propel him into England’s World Cup squad.

Frank Lampard...Sell

A tough call, but there’s no compassion in business. Lampard is an admirable professional and the epitome of reliability, but he might just reach his sell-by date before next summer’s finals in Brazil.

Joe Kinnear... Buy

At face value, this is the sort of advice guaranteed to sully the reputation of any stockbroker. JFK is universally derided, yet there is a depressing inevitability about his ultimate accession to the manager’s job at Newcastle United.

Sir Alex Ferguson... Sell

Cash in at the top of the market, while he is being treated as a cross between Bill Gates, William Shakespeare and Sir Matt Busby. His eminence is unchallenged, but he remains unsuited to retirement.

Murray Walker... Buy

He’s 90, needs crutches and is beating cancer. He embodies what Formula One has lost: wit, adventure, perspective and, above all, humanity.

Lewis Hamilton... Sell

Spot the difference. Self-serving and superficial, his blithe abandonment of the Mercedes team principal  Ross Brawn, a man he hailed as a mentor only last month, is an unintentionally revealing character reference.


Taking poetry out of football

The ghost of Sir Bobby Robson has been enlisted in the fight against Mike Ashley’s dysfunctional regime at Newcastle United.

His immortal observation on what constitutes a football club has been recycled in an attempt to shame playground bullies who ban supporters’ groups and sportswriters for sharing home truths.

It won’t of course, but it is worth repeating, not least for its final paragraph.

This describes “a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”

We all remember our first time. Mine involved sneaking through an allotment before vaulting a flimsy fence on to a shale terrace, where I watched Watford in the old Third Division. Awe obliterated guilt.

It’s strange to speak of innocence given the duplicity involved in my introduction, but this was the place where bedroom posters came to life. Senses were heightened, and the world expanded.

The possibilities seemed endless, and the pain was strangely soothing. Ashley (below) sees a balance sheet where the rest of us read poetry. What a sad, unfulfilling existence.

Wrong target

The animal-cruelty lobby, usually so strategic and effective in horse racing, have misjudged the public mood. In denigrating Tony McCoy by associating him with the deaths of 25 horses as he approaches his 4,000th winner, they have selected the wrong target, at the wrong time.

John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'