Back in the Day: July 5th - Simon Jordan Buys Crystal Palace Football Club

Back in the Day

Wednesday 5th July 2000

Extracts from Simon Jordan’s book – Be Careful What You Wish For – which can be purchased here. If you haven't read it, you really should.

“People buy football clubs for many reasons but there is always an element of ego involved.”

On July 5th 2000, Simon Jordan rescued Crystal Palace FC from certain extinction when he paid just over £10m to purchase the Club.

“Palace was the team I supported as a child, the team my father played for, and a club that was perceived to have vast if unrealised potential. In fact, at the time I was looking to buy Crystal Palace, I could have bought Leicester City – it was a far better deal for me financially – but Crystal Palace was the club I wanted.”

For months it was believed that the “mysterious” Jerry Lim would be purchasing the Club instead. Weirdly, he would, with Simon Jordan’s money and then sell the Club to Simon Jordan immediately for a token amount:

“A deal was agreed with Lim that I would buy CPFC 2000 Ltd, the company that had been set up by him to buy the club and take them out of administration. This was to be done in complete secrecy. Lim had negotiated all of the deal to date and I wanted him to complete the process on my behalf in the strictest confidence, whilst ensuring all aspects of the deal came as close to my satisfaction as possible.

“One key area concerned me: the stadium. There was no way I was dealing with Noades. I knew he would try and take me like he had taken Goldberg. Ridiculously he demanded £12million for a stadium that was actually valued nearer to £6million.

“I transferred the money for Lim to complete the deal on my behalf and also had legal documentation drawn up between Garrets, my lawyers, and Vincent Brown, who was representing Lim, that would transfer the ownership of CPFC 2000 from Lim to me immediately after he acquired it.

“…The completion meeting was set for 5 July 2000. The newspapers had phoned me to ascertain if I was out of the deal now that Lim had confirmed that he was buying CPFC. I played along, confirming that Lim said that he was buying Crystal Palace Football Club, then he was buying it. I didn’t want the papers running stories that could potentially threaten the deal.

“In those days there was no such thing as the, frankly laughable, fit and proper person test for ownership of a club as there is now. Not that it would have been an issue for me personally. But if those rules and regulations had been in place at the time it would have prevented me from doing the deal this way.

“So with my money Jerry Lim would buy Crystal Palace Football Club and all its assets through his vehicle CPFC 2000 and no sooner was that done than I would buy CPFC 2000 from him.

“What needed to be paid was the administrator’s sale price for the ownership of the club. I also had to put £1million into the fully paid-up share capital, which was a requirement to get the Football League share, and then pay Lim his fee.

“All in all I put £10,175,000 into Vincent Brown’s account held to my order and agreed to meet him on the morning of 5 July at the offices of Denton Wilde Spate, the solicitors handling the legals for the administrator.

“I was no invited to their party, so I crashed it.

“On 5 July I met Charles Simpson and my lawyer Jeff McGeachie and we made our way to Denton’s.

“We rocked up there and somehow or other Andersen’s got us into the floor where the signing was taking place. Just as I was about to enter the room flanked by my team, I walked straight into the irritating Paterson, the administrator. His face said it all but he still had to ask, ‘What are you doing here?’

“’You’ll find out in a minute.’

“It was clear that he knew from the moment I walked through the door why I was there, but he couldn’t help himself.

“Over his shoulder was a room full of people. Lim’s lawyer was there and I made to go past Paterson into the room.

“He blocked my path – as he was quite rotund this was not overly difficult for him. ‘You can’t go in there, the room’s full.’

“’You’re right, full of my bloody money. Now get out of my way’ was my frosty response.

“Pushing past him, I entered the packed room. Very quickly the penny dropped and everyone realised what was going on. Vincent Brown had just signed on behalf of Jerry Lim and he now signed everything across to me.

“A Football League representative was there, a perplexed expression on his face. I would get to see that look on the faces of League officials many times over the years.

“Andersen’s took over the show and within five minutes Crystal Palace had a new owner. Actually, in point of fact, it had two new owners in the space of those five minutes: one lasted for approximately one hundred and twenty seconds, and yours truly.

“Fifteen days after the protracted and difficult sale of the Pocket Phone Shop I was now the youngest owner of a football club in the world.”

What could go wrong?

Tuesday 5th July 2016

Crystal Palace sign James Tomkins from West Ham United, for almost the exact same fee that Simon Jordan paid to purchase the entire Club (minus Selhurst Park) 16 years earlier.

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