The former owner of League One side Leyton Orient has admitted in an interview that he is one of the last English football club owners, and that one day all football league clubs will be foreign owned.
Former Orient chairman Barry Hearn, who made his fortune as an entrepreneur with sports promotion company Matchroom Sport, has sold his local side to Italian billionaire Francesco Becchetti, after owning the League One for almost twenty years.
Hearn, who says he is selling to Becchetti because of the workload and the fact he feels that he may not be able to take the football club further, believes that one day every football club in the English football pyramid will be in overseas hands.
The 66 year old told The Independent “I have always been opposed to foreign players and foreign owners because I’m a Little Englander, but I now realise I have been restricted in my vision.
“Things are changing and business is business. I really can envisage a day in the not-too-distant future when all 92 clubs here, from the Premier League downwards, are under overseas control.
“It is well on the way. Look at how many now have foreign owners. There are plenty of mega-rich moguls and businessmen from all over the world who see Premier League and Football League clubs as trophy assets.
The multi millionaire admits the game he loves is becoming all about the financial side, saying “The good thing and the bad thing about any football club is that it is totally about money.
“You could buy a non-League club, put in a hundred million quid and virtually guarantee that you would be a Premier League side in a certain amount of time. It is just a question of how much, and it is only the foreigners who have that sort of money.
“I have some wonderful memories of Orient but I’m 66 now. I have said consistently over the last five or six years that the day I found someone who could take the club further than I could, I’m out. Now I believe I have found the perfect new owner.”
Hearn sold his shares in Leyton Orient earlier this week. New owner Francesco Becchetti has said he is to invest into the Leyton Orient team who narrowly missed out on promotion through the play offs. Orient start a new and exciting era with the Italian businessman.