Fleetwood Town Owner To Buy Club In SA
The man who pumped over R500 million into English football club Fleetwood Town and gave Jamie Vardy his breakthrough now wants to buy a club in South Africa.
Andy Pilley recently visited Mzansi to finalise talks about investing in a local club and chatted to iDiski Times writer David Kappel.
The 53-year-old has been in charge of Fleetwood Town since 2004 and helped the club climb from non-league football into League One.
He bought Vardy when he was a no-name in English football and just earnign R580 per week before selling him for £1 million (R20 million) to Leicester City.
Pilley, who has a business in South Africa, now wants to invest in SA football in order to create a pathway for young Mzansi starlets into Europe.
“Well, I have strong ties with South Africa and with the city of Cape Town in particular. And as much as I have a business out in Durbanville, the business is flourishing and we’re taking on more and more people. And as I’ve already explained, football is a huge part of my life,” he said.
“So it seems logical to get involved in football out here. So I have been having meetings with various football clubs and different people who are associated with football in the surrounding area.
“I have decided to invest in a lower league football club called Professional Tigers FC in the SAFA Third Division, which will allow me to take stock and say, create at least a footprint in the area. So we’re with Rasthoem Simons (MD of 5Sports (PTY) LTD).
“And I see that as an exciting project, I met the players and I’m really keen to look to create a pathway, or perhaps a roadmap for some of these boys, if they’re good enough to be able to nurture and develop them, and to get them into Europe.
“If we can get them into Europe, then I think that fulfils their dreams. And it’s up to them then to show the world how good they really, really are. So it’s absolutely correct to say that we’re committed to South Africa, there’s an investment which is imminently going to be paid. We shook hands on the deal and it’s in the hands of the lawyers now.
“And our model is about the development of players. It’s not really all about going to win the South African Premier League and to achieve that purely sporting success. We want to create players who can then go on and have professional careers, wherever that will be, we can use our vast array of contacts. And I see that as being an extremely exciting project to be part of.”
To read the full interview with Pilley, where he spills the beans on Jamie Vardy’s time at the club, how much money they earned from his sale, why he appointed Joey Barton as coach as well as South African youngsters Max McMillan and Ariel Raffie, buy this week’s edition of iDiski Times.
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