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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2008, 14:28 Thread Starter
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The KFC Wadi Degla Kempen SK Thread

Maybe a weird topic title, but I wouldn't be surprised if KFC Wadi Degla Kempen SK would become a Belgian club sooner or later. I made this thread because I think it's a quite interesting subject to discuss about away from the D2 topic.



What's the situation ?

First off all let's tell something more about Wadi Degla Sporting Club:

Quote:
Wadi Degla Sporting Club are an Egyptian association football club based in Cairo.

They are known to have a large youth football academy. It is a similar project to that of ASEC Mimosas. The club has a close relationship with England's Arsenal Football Club.

Source

Read also: Arsenal set up shop in Cairo
Wadi Degla is owned by a very rich person: Samy Maged. In October of this year Belgian football club K Lierse SK has negotiated for two weeks with a bunch of Egyptian investors, to be more specific: the owners of Wadi Degla Sporting Club. The Egyptian club wanted to work togheter with Lierse on financial, sportive and structural level. The deal went trough ...

Just after the beginning of 2008, Samy Maged told exactly what his plans are with Lierse. He wants to make Lierse the biggest club of the country and even in Europe. Therefore he wants to build a new 40k stadium. Further on he wants Lierse to become a multifunctional sports team. He wants to cooperate with the Justine Henin Tennis Academy, a squash academy and a swimming school. For that swimming school he wants someone like Fred Deburghgraeve or Brigitte Becue to cooperate. And last, but not least, also former Beveren messiah Jean Marc Guillou steps into the project.

Also Guillou speaks big language as: "In 10 years Lierse is Belgian top !" He will start with a Lierse academy from September 1 2008. "All my academies succeeded, so why wouldn't it be like that here in Belgium ?"

Only three days after Samy Maged told his plans, he steps into KV Turnhout to save them from bankrupcy. Wadi Degla pays Turnhouts debts. Lawyer Raymond Portocarero clearly states Samy Maged doesn't take over Turnhout, but only wants to cooperate. "A merge between the clubs isn't ruled out, but only if all teams want to step into the project".

Today the Gazet van Antwerpen states that Geel is going to become a feeder club of Lierse. Samy is going to clear the debts of Geel and wants to keep Geel in the D2. Lierse loans out two players to Geel in order to reinforce their squad. The idea of the multisportscomplex Samy told about, is mentioned again. Geel seems to be a perfect place to build one. The Egyptian doesn't want to take Geel officially over as long as Lierse and Geel play in the same division.

What are my questions ?

What exactly wants Samy Maged ? What he tells ? Or is it a way to launder some money ? Are his ambitions realistic ? Why would a rich Egyptian guy invest in some Belgian D2 team ? Etc ...

But maybe the main question is: Is this good for Belgian football in any way ? In several countries billionairs took over football clubs in order to make them the best of the country / of Europe. Then I especially think about the Russian oil billionairs ... Can such investments of someone help a whole country to improve the competitions level ? Should more clubs sell themself to such people ?

A lot of questions to discuss about

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2008, 15:40
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It can be a bliss for the clubs involved if this guy is really serious about it. However, this is where I get sceptic.

Let's compare the two countries. Egyptian top clubs often attracts crowds between 40000 and 80000, which are numbers that Belgian second division clubs will probably never ever reach. Why would a very rich Egyptian that has money enough to invest in a local top team with 80000 fans, rather invest his money in a Belgian second divisionist with high debts?? This seems dodgy to me. When you have money enough to buy a luxurious villa with a pool and 5 bedrooms, you also normally won't consider buying a small apartment that needs big renovations ... I am sceptic about the whole thing. If this Samy guy wanted he could buy a local top team with a target audience 20x bigger than Lierse. So why would he be interested in clubs like Lierse and Turnhout if he has money enough to buy a lot more attractive clubs?

If he is sincere and trustworthy than the clubs involved should be eternally thankful to have been lucky enough to find someone who saved them, a luck that clubs like Lommel and RWDM didn't have. However, I am sceptic and wonder if there is no catch. It just doesn't make sense somehow. The Egyptian league is certainly as good as the Belgian and gets a lot more fans into the stadiums, so I find his choice of investments weird and maybe even suspicious.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2008, 17:44
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Very interesting indeed... but, also in my opinion "zit er een luchtje aan".
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2008, 21:20
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Same situation as with Guillou ... a tradition side like Lierse will be destroyed by rich foreigners

#23 François Sterchele || 14/03/1982 - 08/05/2008

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2008, 21:44
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Like Knoert, I cannot help to expect there is something dodgy about this. A very rich Egyptian that could buy a much better supported team in his own football-crazy country, but rather prefers to invest money in a sinking ship in the Belgian lower leagues ... this is just not right. There is something seriously dodgy about this, at most the "doodstrijd" will be taking a bit longer but eventually the plug will be out of the electric supplier. I don't really believe in those rich saviours who, out of nothing, come to save a nearly bankrupt side with little potential (let's be honest, this is the second division in Belgium we're talking about, and Lierse has a sanction to relegate to third division). You can just as well believe the easter bunny is going to bring you a present, but in the end those fairytales usually end up in disillusion to anyone who believed in it.

I cannot blame the fans to believe it though, they must be desperate and holding on to whatever bit of hope that is left. But I really think Lierse is a terminal patient, and for Geel and Turnhout the same can be said really. Westerlo will survive as only healthy club in the region and maybe they can benefit from the death of the others, as sponsors in the area will have no choice left but Westerlo. So maybe this is a chance for them to grow and become a dominant force in the entire area.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2008, 22:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackedpleasures
It can be a bliss for the clubs involved if this guy is really serious about it. However, this is where I get sceptic.

Let's compare the two countries. Egyptian top clubs often attracts crowds between 40000 and 80000, which are numbers that Belgian second division clubs will probably never ever reach. Why would a very rich Egyptian that has money enough to invest in a local top team with 80000 fans, rather invest his money in a Belgian second divisionist with high debts??
Because the Belgian league is still higher rated than the Egyptian one?

But I also don't trust the guy, let there be no misunderstanding about that

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old January 30th, 2008, 23:28
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The Belgian league may be higher better in Europe, but the spectator numbers in Egypt are a lot higher so you could say commercially he is not choosing the best option. Plus, we're talking about the second division. I agree the top of the Belgian league will be better than the top of the Egyptian league, but then we're talking about teams like Standard, Brugge, Anderlecht, ... I don't think any second division team however would have a chance against the average Egyptian opposition (we're talking about one of the strongest leagues in Africa, for what it's worth of course)

Plus, if this guy is this rich, then why doesn't he invest in a club in England or Spain or so, or in a Belgian club that actually plays in the top division and has no bottomless pit of debts to be filled?

It just all seems very weird. Of all clubs to want to invest in, clubs like Lierse and Turnhout would be the very last choice for any sane businessman. There are lots of Belgian clubs that would welcome a rich invester but who don't have debts to be cleared and who are playing in the top division.

I am not saying the guy is untrustworthy, I am saying there is something dodgy about it and they should be very careful who they take on board. Debts make you desperate of course so I can imagine any rich investor would be welcomed if a club is in great needs. But Zheyun Ye also profiled himself as a rich invester with good intentions... Clubs like Lierse who have high debts and are desperate for someone to pay the debts, are always the first victims of people like Ye with nothing but bad intentions. I am not saying this Egyptian man is having bad intentions, but they should be careful... it is very strange that of all clubs in the world, a sane investor would choose 3 clubs with sky-high debts. There is definitely something very weird about all of this.

From the point of view of Turnhout, I guess an Egyptian businessman as chairman is still better than Kabouter Plop of course And for them there is really no choice: either they accept the Egyptian bid, or either they don't even make the end of the season.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2008, 00:08 Thread Starter
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I have to admit I got a Zheyun Ye déjà-vu when I created this thread. Not that I expect the Egyptians having the intentions to bribe Belgian football games, but I got that same weird feeling.

I think he wants to launder some money by investing in a football club, bringing in a lot of Egyptian players and sell them for quite some money later on. The same what Guillou did at Beveren. Once he earned the money back he invested, he leaves the club behind.

On the other side: The academy Guillou wants to build is an idea I support. You can't admit his academies are successful. If his Lierse Academy is only half as succesful as his Ivorian, that would be great for Belgian football.

But let's view the situation totally different. What if the guy really has good intentions ? What if his plan to create a big club in de Kempen succeeds. Merges go trough, KFC Wadi Degla Kempen SK is the new name, etc. Is it possible that such a club would grow out above the traditional big 3 in Belgium ? Can they reign the Belgian league in about 10 years ? Not to talk yet about Europe yet ...

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2008, 00:18
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If there is one club in the area that I see surviving long-term in the top division, it is Westerlo. I know it is ironical how a small town's team would survive while the city teams slowly fade away, but Westerlo is a very well lead club both in terms of finances and on-pitch investments. Once the local rivals like Lierse have passed away, Westel may grow to be more of a regional club with a fanbase from the entire Kempen?

By the way, even if a club reaches the top thanks to a rich investor, you still depend on the influx of his money. Look at the old RFC Seraing. Finished in the top-3 halfway the nineties and had an outstanding squad with Wamberto, Edmilson, Lukaku, Stojic, Abeels, ... Less than 3 years later they were bankrupt because Blaton was no longer there to finance the club. So even a place in the top of Belgian football doesn't guarantee long-term survival, you still depend on your one man-with-money. Seraing finished top-3, played UEFA Cup the next year, but the whole club just collapsed once that 1 person was gone. I fear the same could happen to Lierse, Turnhout and Geel if they leave their entire destiny in the hands of the Egyptians.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2008, 00:29 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackedpleasures
By the way, even if a club reaches the top thanks to a rich investor, you still depend on the influx of his money. Look at the old RFC Seraing. Finished in the top-3 halfway the nineties and had an outstanding squad with Wamberto, Edmilson, Lukaku, Stojic, Abeels, ... Less than 3 years later they were bankrupt because Blaton was no longer there to finance the club. So even a place in the top of Belgian football doesn't guarantee long-term survival, you still depend on your one man-with-money. Seraing finished top-3, played UEFA Cup the next year, but the whole club just collapsed once that 1 person was gone. I fear the same could happen to Lierse, Turnhout and Geel if they leave their entire destiny in the hands of the Egyptians.
John Cordier at Mechelen is also a perfect example. He build a squad with no else then some left outs from big clubs and one real star (Ohana). When he left Mechelen couldn't hold on and disappeared from the top spots in Belgium. Luckely that cookie factory boss took over (Van Den Wijngaert, no ?) so they could stay in the first division. But year after year Mechelen had to look more downwards and finally relegated to the 2nd division.

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2008, 00:42
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Van den Wijngaert yes. And in the end Marc Uytterhoeven had to save them or it was all over.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2008, 19:38
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You can't have a merge without fans. Geel and Turnhout have a limited fan base,and Lierse fans are to loyal to their team ... they would never accept a merge. The same reason why a big merge in het waasland wouldn't work. Beveren and Lokeren supporters would kill each other in the stands

I dislike merges as well. You can say what you want, but they are not real football clubs. No history, no fan base, no glory ... one of the reasons why I hate FC Dender so much

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2008, 19:45
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Geel's fanbase is not small by any means. They have an average of 3000 - 4000 at home, which is quite good for a second division team. Also, their stadium is better than the Lierse stadium. Of course Geel doesn't have the tradition that Lierse does. But they have a good amount of fans compared to many second division teams (including Oostende ).

Turnhout is a club with hardly any fans, an ugly stadium and a lot of debts. Bottomless pit, in other words, and not worth investing a single euro in.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2008, 22:55 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackedpleasures
Geel's fanbase is not small by any means. They have an average of 3000 - 4000 at home, which is quite good for a second division team. Also, their stadium is better than the Lierse stadium. Of course Geel doesn't have the tradition that Lierse does. But they have a good amount of fans compared to many second division teams (including Oostende ).

Turnhout is a club with hardly any fans, an ugly stadium and a lot of debts. Bottomless pit, in other words, and not worth investing a single euro in.
The main question is: Will those fans be attending games of a merged club ?

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2008, 23:32
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Especially in the case of Lierse I doubt that, because Lierse fans seem to be very very serious about holding on to the tradition of the club. Even with no merger yet, the Egyptian wants to change the club colours and considers a name change. Bad idea, especially at Lierse.

In Turnhout and Geel, fans may swallow this because it's either that or bankruptcy. But in Lier, I think the fans are too much attached to the club's tradition to want to accept any serious changes to the outlook of the club.



@ Blue @ngel: in general I agree with you that merger clubs have little history and little attraction. Even I as a fan of a merger club (Oostende) happily admit that. But there are a few exceptions IMO. What about RWDM for example? This of course was a merger between some very old clubs that had their own tradition and history, but still: even after the merger you had a club that had, IMO, history and tradition. RWDM was an attractive club that had something glorious about it, even though it was the result of several (!) mergers. Also, while most merger clubs have no true club spirit because all fans still feel attached to the former clubs, at RWDM all fans immediately stood behind the new club and there was a true RWDM feeling immediately.

This proves IMO that there are exceptions, merged clubs that did have their own unique attraction. Maybe you can consider Germinal Beerschot and RC Genk as such clubs as well, although in case of GB it was more like Beerschot swallowed the entire Germinal, and at RC Genk I personally do not feel the glory of clubs like RWDM. But my point is, some merger clubs do have an attraction to outsiders. Although they are exceptions, in the majority of cases I agree with your opinion that merger clubs have something artificial.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old February 1st, 2008, 13:01 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackedpleasures
Especially in the case of Lierse I doubt that, because Lierse fans seem to be very very serious about holding on to the tradition of the club. Even with no merger yet, the Egyptian wants to change the club colours and considers a name change. Bad idea, especially at Lierse.

In Turnhout and Geel, fans may swallow this because it's either that or bankruptcy. But in Lier, I think the fans are too much attached to the club's tradition to want to accept any serious changes to the outlook of the club.
The Lierse fans will swallow it I guess. They can't forget that without Wadi Degla they would go the same way as Turnhout and Geel

I'm not going to say the future "KFC Wadi Degla Kempen SK" would fill a 40k stadium, but a 20k should be possible in my opinion.

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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old February 1st, 2008, 15:03
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Well, as I really like the Middle East and Arab culture, I may start sympathising with a club having that name Which would be odd, because I really don't like Lierse and Turnhout. I got nothing against Geel though.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old February 1st, 2008, 19:10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue @ngel
You can't have a merge without fans. Geel and Turnhout have a limited fan base,and Lierse fans are to loyal to their team ... they would never accept a merge. The same reason why a big merge in het waasland wouldn't work. Beveren and Lokeren supporters would kill each other in the stands

I dislike merges as well. You can say what you want, but they are not real football clubs. No history, no fan base, no glory ... one of the reasons why I hate FC Dender so much
What kind of retarded shit is that? From ancient times several cultures, populations and civilisations that were first hostile towards eachother, later blended to perfection... So you are telling some supporters of retarded godforsaken football teams are unable to do so? This kind of bullcrap makes me sick.
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old February 2nd, 2008, 03:52
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I think he was refering more about the tradition of a club being lost when they merge and how about it takes time before people fully embrace the new club. He has a valid point in that. Which doesn't mean that mergers are sometimes not necessary, sometimes economical factors make it the only option if you want to avoid bankruptcy of both teams involved.

I don't think we should compare mergers in football to integration of different cultures into a society. Personally I am not wild about mergers really, but I strongly defend a multicultural society. Also, comparing a trivial thing like sports to serious society topics doesn't make too much sense as these other topics are soo much more serious/important than a simple football game.
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old February 2nd, 2008, 16:37
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What kind of retarded shit is that? From ancient times several cultures, populations and civilisations that were first hostile towards eachother, later blended to perfection... So you are telling some supporters of retarded godforsaken football teams are unable to do so? This kind of bullcrap makes me sick.
It isn't your club anymore? If the time would come that FCB is in deep financial trouble and the only way out is a merge, I'd prefer us to just simply quit playing football. I can't support an artificial club that is merged, I wouldn't have that typical "kiekevlees" when I enter the stadium, I wouldn't feel the same emotion when I sing our songs

Bruges till I die, but nothing more ... nothing less

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