Want to buy a football club? Do you have £1 to spare?

Reading FC up for sale for just £1


Britain Soccer Premier League

If you've ever fancied owning your own football club - and what fan hasn't? - then now's your chance.

Reading Football Club chairman Anton Zingarevich has put his 51 percent share up for sale for just £1, after the team failed to gain promotion to the Premier League. The club narrowly missed out on the Championship playoff, finishing seventh, just one point below Brighton Hove & Albion.

There is, of course, a catch to the bargain price. Whoever buys the club will need to take on its £38 million debt. And they'll need to move quickly, with the club believed to have a £1.6 million tax payment outstanding, and another due in two weeks' time.

Former chairman Sir John Madejski is helping with the search for a new owner, and will today hold a board meeting to discuss two potential buyers: Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi and Indian businessman Mohit Burman.

Sagi is believed to have big plans for the club's stadium area, including a shopping centre and a hotel. He has promised to invest heavily in the club and is believed to be the preferred bidder.

Meanwhile, Burman has a track record of running sports teams, with a share in the Kings XI Punjab cricket team and interests in badminton, hockey and kabaddi.

Football can be an expensive business: Zingarevich is believed to have invested £25m in the club since taking over from Madejski in January. Even the top clubs can struggle to turn a profit, with Deloitte reckoning that only half the clubs in the Premier League made an operating profit in 2012-13.

In his recent autobiography, businessman Simon Jordan recounts the story of how he bought Crystal Palace for £10 million in 2000. Ten years on, the club was in administration and Jordan himself substantially poorer.

Meanwhile, Roman Abramovich, the Russian owner of Chelsea, has written off more than £1 billion since acquiring it in 2003; and Sheikh Mansour from Abu Dhabi has invested almost as much in Manchester City since taking over in 2008.

But these stories don't appear to put foreign investors off, with 11 of the 20 Premier League teams and 13 of the 24 teams in the Championship currently owned by foreigners, says Deloitte.

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