Saturday, 18 April 2009

A High Profile Return

Today’s action at Molineux gives me a rare opportunity to mix Soccer and Housebuilding.

Wolves’ home win against QPR confirmed their promotion back to the Premier League after 5 seasons, and eighteen months after the club was purchased by Steve Morgan OBE from Sir Jack Hayward for the sum of £10.00. The nominal sum came with a condition that £30 million would be invested in the club.

The Liverpool born Morgan is the founder of one of Britain’s largest housebuilders, Redrow, which he started at the age of 21 with a £5,000 loan from his father. He spent 26 years building the company into a FTSE 250 company, before stepping down in 2000.

He was again in the media spotlight shortly after he left Redrow, when his divorce settlement with his first wife, Pamela, put her on the UK ‘Rich List’ with a sum changing hands of circa £100 million.

During 2004, he made a highly public bid to purchase Liverpool F.C. for £73 million. However, the ongoing bad blood between himself and the then Chairman of Liverpool, David Moores, ensured that Moores preferred to sell to the Tom Hicks / George Gillett partnership. Presumably, many fans of the club would now wish that Morgan had succeeded in his bid.

He re-appeared to purchase Wolves in 2007, and in recent times has controlled his development company, Bridgemere Group, plus holding ownership of the upmarket Cheshire hotel, Carden Park.

2009 has brought a return to the spotlight for Morgan. In addition to Wolves success, he has taken the opportunities brought about by falling share prices in the housebuilding sector to take back control of Redrow in a boardroom coup, becoming Executive Chairman as of 1st July. From a football perspective, the only ‘fly in the ointment’ may be rumours that Morgan would like to return the PLC Redrow to private ownership, and that the newly increased value of Wolves could be used to raise finance for a full takeover of Redrow.

Whatever the outcome, Mr Morgan is back in the big-time.

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