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  • Writer's pictureFred

Jimmy Haslam's Silence is Deafening

"After the 2012 takeover, Nottingham Forest's new owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi announced long term plans to build a new stadium away from the City Ground, but stated that the short term priority was to renovate and refurbish the existing ground."


Now in the Premier League, franchise movement is fairly rare. So it was eyebrow-raising for Kuwaiti Businessman Fawaz Al-Hasawi to even SUGGEST moving the home of Nottingham Forest. Even if it was just 3-5 miles away from its current location.


"In 2019 the club secured a 250-year extension of their lease on the City Ground from Nottingham City Council, enabling them to move forward with redevelopment plans including the rebuilding of the Peter Taylor Stand."


Current owner Evangelos Marinakis haggled with the city of Nottingham when he bought the team, but signed the lease fairly quickly after his purchase.


Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has now owned the team for over a decade. Has a new lease been signed? Nope. When's the lease up? In 2028.


The NFL is not the Premier League. Roger Goodell likes to play the game of Good Cop/Bad Cop with local municipalities. A few years before a stadium lease is up, Bad Cop Goodell puts out press statements that [insert team here] wants to stay in their home city, but they need a new stadium. Then the Good Cop Owner claims that they want to stay, but they are practically being forced out of town by politicians who won't build billion dollar palaces. Eventually scumbags like Stan Kroenke tire of games and do what they want to do anyway. Sometimes the Good Cop/Bad Cop Routine works (Bills), sometimes it doesn't (Rams).


Even though the Cleveland Browns are having a nice season on the field, this off season, 3-5 years before the lease is up, is the typical time frame for stadium threats. Dee Haslam has been talking about a new stadium for years.


And the Haslams are not an unknown quality. They bought MLS's Columbus Crew in 2018 and they've won 2 Championships while talking Columbus into building a soccer-specific stadium.





I keep saying you have to put the pressure on the Haslams before they put the pressure on you. If they won't sign a lease, you make them sell before the team can be moved (again).


Right now, the Cleveland Browns are on a natural high. They are heading for only their third playoff appearance since their re-incarnation. But they are led by 38 year old Joe Flacco and defensive end Miles Garrett. At the beginning of the season, Flacco was sitting on his couch at home. And when exactly was the last time a team won the Super Bowl because of their defense? That would be the Ray Lewis-led Baltimore Ravens over 20 years ago.


Browns mouthpiece Mary Kay Cabot and Hall of Fame Broadcaster Terry Pluto both agree that this is a special season, and I don't disagree, but this team isn't making it past the AFC Championship game. They have too many injuries, including a season-ender for the best running back in the league, Nick Chubb.


What's my point? Next year, Flacco will be gone and the Browns will still be strapped with DeShaun Watson's Quarter of a Billion dollar GUARANTEED contract. Is he the answer for the Browns? Who knows? Next week, the Browns ironically play the Houston Texans.


Pundits agree that the Texans WON last year's DeShaun Watson Trade:


"Worst Trade in NFL History."- ESPN Radio


Many consider the Texans' future brighter than the Browns'. From a PR perspective, it would be disastrous for Houston to win next week's playoff game. It is much easier to strong-arm a city when the football team is winning year in and year out, as opposed to being a doormat.


For one week, the Browns have false hope.


At the end of the season though, the real billion dollar game begins. As soon as the Browns' season ends, you pin down Jimmy Haslam and tell him to sign the lease. Literally. Don't let him hem and haw. That stadium is only 25 years old, you don't need a 250 year lease, that's over the top, but you better get one for another 30 years.


That's not how the modern NFL works? It is absurd to compare the Premier League to the NFL? Just the opposite. It is absurd that an owner, who still lives in Tennessee part time, wants a new stadium just because everyone else has one. As soon as Jimmy Haslam even mentions a new stadium, you run him out of town. Owning an NFL team is a license to print money. As soon as Haslam would put up the for sale sign, buyers would be lined up outside Jimmy's door.


You argue that they won't without a new stadium?


Oh yes they will.


"In this day and age, however, NONE of the NFL's 32 teams lose money.


According to Forbes, the NFL's least valuable franchise is currently the Cincinnati Bengals, who are worth a reported $3 billion. Even the Bengals, the NFL's least valuable team, reported nearly $114 million in operating income in their last fiscal year (according to Forbes' estimates).


Also according to Forbes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the least profitable team last season, and they still made over $62 million in operating income. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Dallas Cowboys reportedly made almost $500 million in operating income in their last fiscal year."


Because the NFL has a salary cap, that means that labor is a fixed expense. Don't let Haslam and Goodell blackmail Cleveland while the league is making record profits.


You know why Nottingham wanted a 250 year lease? To prevent billionaires from Kuwait, Greece, or anywhere else for that matter, from circumventing the public trust. The city wants to make sure that any owner that comes along knows that there's a civic component to their stewardship.


I don't think Carpetbagger Jimmy believes that.


 

Just a throwaway thought. Anyone ever think that Bill Belichick purposely ran the Patriots into the ground to screw Robert Kraft? Why would Ol' Bill do that?


Because Kraft was thinking of firing him over this past summer.


I think that's possible.

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