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Self-Sustaining Investment Model Serving Saints Well In Current Climate Says Semmens
Monday, 7th Sep 2020 10:13

Saints CEO Martin Semmens has been speaking about the situation with the club's owner Gao Jisheng and admits the the fact that the club is run without major investment is meaning the club are not as affected as some by the current situation.

When some Saints supporters have been vocal on social media about the lack of investment by the Saints owner Gao Jisheng, this site has been quick to point out that this is probably less to do with Gao's wish to invest more into the infrastructure, but more about the worsening relationship between China and the rest of the Western World and his own ability to get money out of China due to the Government there changing it's stance on investing in Western sports clubs.

Some still preferred to paint Gao as the villain of the piece, but although he hasn't been the rich owner pumping millions in the club we hoped for when he arrived, the fact is that with his self sustaining investment structure of the club, we have not spent beyond our means and more importantly we are not sidled with a lot of debt that he would be wanting paid back.

We also haven't got big instalment's due to other club's for transfer fee's over the past few years and although we still have too many high earners on the books from before Gao arrived, the situation is manageable.

This means that as a club we can hopefully get through the current crisis if not comfortably, but without too much stress.

But the recent situation with the Premier League being unable to get Chinese Broadcasting company Suning Holdings to honour a £525 million contract for the Premier League rights in China, something that is clearly a political decision rather than the Broadcaster simply feeling the deal is not worth it as well as our Issues with LD Sports has put China into the spotlight with regard to Premier league football again.

Saints CEO Martin Semmens has now confirmed much of what I have been saying for the last year or so talking to BBC Radio Solent.

Southampton chief executive Semmens says the current uncertainty has no bearing on Jisheng's ownership of the club, and that there was no issue with mounting pressure on the owner.

"I don’t think it is making it increasingly hard, from day one it has been tricky with the political situation and most specifically the investment structure,"

"We have a really clear strategy at the club to move forward and Mr Gao buys into that completely and that includes a self-sustainable, non-investment model."

"The recent events in China are not putting any more pressure on us and I can reassure people that we have control of what we are doing every day and we can make the right decisions, and the things around us don’t affect the performance on the pitch really."

Semmens was also asked whether the political situation would affect the owner's long-term future at the club, but admitted it was not something he could answer.

This will further increase speculation that the club is close to being taken over, something that has been seemingly been in the pipeline for a couple of months now, whether that has something to do with the political situation is unclear.

Semmens further commented on that issue.

"That is something which only he knows," I can only answer in that I don’t think it is any different now to what it was two years ago.

"The restrictions in China on investment in sport were put in place very quickly after he took control, so we have been living with that for a long time.

"I think any football club is open to different solutions and investment and plans for the future, but at the moment we have a pretty clear plan and at the moment we think it is working."

So Semmens has confirmed that Gao's failure to invest more heavily in Saints is seemingly not because he did not want to, but because he was being restricted by the Chinese Government, so those who have criticised Gao on social media have done so without knowing the full picture.

The self sustainable model that has had to be put in place was not entirely Gao's intention when he bought his share of the club and although what followed was not ideal, it has actually left Saints in a stronger position than some.

The truth about about Gao as I have maintained on this site, is that he has been restricted by a situation far beyond his control, but although he hasn't been the owner many would have preferred, the truth is he has done us no wrong either.

Photo: Action Images

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SaintBrock added 11:19 - Sep 7
Balance sheet sustainability is not the same thing as PL sustainability

I_would added 12:17 - Sep 7
No point in having an owner if he's not taking part in any club management. Might as well sell the club on the stock exchange and let football fans buy a share.

saintmark1976 added 13:34 - Sep 7
In regard to Mr Semmens recent comments to Radio Solent, I refer you to Mandy Rice Davies famous quote which was “ well he would say that wouldn’t he”.

ExiledSupporter added 14:33 - Sep 7
Can't really see that the club or the owner get much benefit from their relationship and no real evidence of why that should change in the short to medium term. So for the owner there seems to be a good reason to sell and use his wealth more effectively elsewhere; not much the club can do in the meantime other than continue with its currently tailored ie. limited scope policy. On the other hand with all the other financial upsets affecting the PL more widely, I can't see the owner getting all of his money back, so he may be reluctant to sell and potential buyers would seem similarly reluctant to buy until the future becomes clearer (not the same as getting back to normal, please note)!

LoisDeem added 16:23 - Sep 7
We seem to be doing quite well with the 'sustainability' model, so, at what point do we get that midfielder that we need to 'offset' our recent cull of Reed, Lemina and Oi Berg?
I see quite a lot of flexibility throughout the rest of the team, but this area still looks wafer thin, and we look to have kept our promise with the early business in defence, but anyone else concerned that this looks like it, or are we depending on recouping the outrageous Wesley (Belgians might not notice this*)and Carillos outlays?

SanMarco added 19:16 - Sep 7
"Self-sustaining investment model" sounds a lot better than "no investment model" and the experts will, I am sure, be able to explain the difference to me.

Saints seem to be in a reasonable place just at this moment but in the medium term, especially given all the geopolitics, I would prefer non-Chinese owners if that were possible.

Crispinmumbles added 20:26 - Sep 7
'The Prem board barred Gao in February after obtaining evidence he had twice been involved in corruption cases in China, one of which ended with a senior city politician being executed by lethal injection.

SunSport has confirmed that Gao was indeed named in Chinese state media as one of a number of businessmen who gave bribes to Xu Maiyong, the vice-mayor of the city of Hangzhou known as “Xu three more” because of his lust for money, women - and more women.'
The Sun 27/4/2017. We don't want to launder his dirty money.

A1079 added 22:14 - Sep 7
CEO of an organisation gives a positive spin on the organisation that employs and pays him - not exactly unique. On the rare occasion a CEO has spoken out they are not usually employed by that organisation for very much longer.

DorsetIan added 23:43 - Sep 7
This is the funniest bit:

"We have a really clear strategy at the club to move forward and Mr Gao buys into that completely and that includes a self-sustainable, non-investment model."

Mr Gao 'buys into' a self-sustainable, non-investment model, does he? I bet he does!! ('You don't want any money from me...let me think it...OK go on then, I can buy into that')

The thing is, even if Gao has been stymied by the Chinese govt in his wish to invest millions in Saints (and see many previous comments by Dirk D about how little money he actually has) it doesn't make him any less of disaster in terms of a new owner for Saints and what was promised at the time about him taking the club forward. It just explains why.

And I don't really care whether it was his fault personally that things went tits up very quickly for him.

And neither do I buy into this guff that we are somehow so much better for having cash flow issues. Let's remind ourselves of the high spot of a transfer window when all we had to celebrate was the arrival (at past the eleventh hour) of a young unknown defender on loan, and who we subsequently let go.


underweststand added 09:11 - Sep 8
Mr.Gao had enough interest / enthusiasm to buy into Saints in the first place, and regardless of whether his investment was his own / borrowed money, he committed himself to the deal AND made it clear to the Board that he wasn't going to " just be another Abrahamovic " and throw in bucket-loads of money whenever we wanted to buy new players, a lesson we forgot when Messers Reed and Wilson held the purse strings.

At this point, we should remind ourselves that "Chinese democracy" is not the same as the model we are used to in the West, and like many other Chinese investors around the Planet, Mr.Gao will want to keep his head down and stay clear of any political problems.

I have no problem with calling them a " B team " and we still have the Academy for promising youngsters to mature in. The idea of a " second XI " is ideal for up and coming lads to learn a First team mindset, yet still allow the " regular bench players " and those coming back from injury to get game time without the age restriction (U23).

Growing up as a Saints fan in the 1960's ...I recall the consternation of fans who worried about us "blooding " some youngsters who were ..only just 21 (!).
Nowadays most Prem.sides can regularly play teenagers in their start sides, and any 21 y.o. who hasn't had a first team outing may soon be on his way out of the door.
The success of the many Academy graduates in the last decade is that they were already " Saints players " at the age of 8, and those who are still in the system will train and learn tactics like the Prem.players and thoroughly know their roles before they even get to make their first team debut.


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