The rumour mill has been in overdrive for the past 24 hours, and it has now been confirmed that former QPR chairman Giovanni Paladini is in early stage talks about a ‘possible takeover’ of Bradford City.
It is important to note that Paladini is not in control of anything right now, nor is it definite that he ever will be. These are just talks at the moment, but the fact they’re happening is hugely significant.
The detail is sparse. What we know is that he is registered as a director of a new company, Bradford City (Holdings) Ltd, which was set up in February. This is nothing to do with Bradford City at the moment it seems. Simon Parker of the T&A has tweeted that Paladini tried a similar tactic when trying to takeover Birmingham City, an attempt that ultimately proved fruitless. Paladini has also been linked with Port Vale, Millwall and Nottingham Forest so he has form in courting English football clubs and walking away.
Early reports suggest that Paladini is looking to take a large stake in the club and could buy Valley Parade from Gordon Gibb’s pension fund – which would save the club an enormous amount of money in rent. If it happens, it could represent a monumental change for the club.
Signor Paladini is an interesting character. A former football agent with Benito Carbone amongst his charges, he joined the QPR board in 2003. His time at Loftus Road was anything but quiet. He is reported to have played a part in a boardroom coup, faced allegations of lining agents’ pockets, and he fell out with managers. He also claimed he was held up at gunpoint at Loftus Road and forced to sign a resignation letter. Nobody was charged.
Despite that, during his time, QPR also became a more powerful footballing force and his investment played a part in that.
These back stories are worrying though. For the first time in years, Bradford City feels like it has a sense of stability. There is no doubt that the club needs investment in order to achieve progress, but be careful of the hand that feeds you. We have a young manager achieving good things and progress is happening in incremental steps. If any club should be wary of someone coming in to throw wads of money around like Gordon Gekko, it is Bradford City. I’d hate for us to jump into bed with the first person that flashes their knickers at us and get left with a nasty dose of the clap.
The fact we don’t have a rich foreign sugar daddy is something I’ve prided ourselves on when I speak to friends about Bradford City. Yes, times are changing in football, but are they changing for the best or is it all just a short-termist approach that could leave the club in the brown stuff? There are horror stories out there and I’ve revelled in feeling a million miles away from them.
You only have to look down the road at Leeds United. A revolving door of managers, back room interference, bizarre sackings and not much sign of progress. Personally I have found it all a bit sad.
Yes, there are lots of potential positives and the much-needed investment is obviously the biggest. But there are lots of questions too. I hope we get answers before any paper is signed, because once the ink is dried, there’s no undoing it.