“You don’t make money with football. If you really want to make money, then invest in real estate“. So he spoke Robert Platek, owner of AC Spezia, during an interview with the Portuguese weekly Expresso and published at the end of August. The only interview granted to a Lusitanian newspaper despite the dozens of requests, as he wanted to point out. A rarity, an act of availability. But above all the umpteenth circumstance in which he has tried his hand at using the rhetorical motif that is dear to him. Which is not about the impossible profitability of football as an investment field, but rather the rhetoric of the underdog, the underdog. This rhetoric was placed in the passage of the interview in which he explains why, among the many companies in which he could have invested, he chose the Casa Pia, a club from Lisbon which takes its name from a well-known Portuguese educational institution and plays in the tiny Pina Manique stadium. Mister Platek replied that in the Casa Pia he revisited that underdog spirit that he believes he feels inside himself, a US citizen of Polish origin who grew up in the Bronx and capable of a prodigious social climb. And in fact the Casa Pia is an underdog like few others in Portuguese football. Under the ownership of the Plateks he returned to the Primeira Liga at the end of last season, after an absence of over eighty years. And only two seasons ago he was even relegated to the third division, being rescued for the lack of registration of Vitória Setúbal and Desportivo Aves in Segunda. In two years an unexpected performance has come, worthy of mention. The reference to the profile of “underdog who makes it” has its anecdotal charm, but from our point of view it would not have deserved mention, were it not that it is regularly found in the speeches given by Mr. Platek when it comes to explaining the reason so he chose that club rather than the other one.
THE BROKEN DISK – It happens later the acquisition of SønderjyskE Elitesport, a Danish club from the city of Haderslev that Platek acquires in September 2020 for 40 million Danish crowns (7.4 million euros), after a year earlier he had tried in vain to invest in Sunderland (England) together with a group of partners. At that moment the Danish club is in the best phase of its history, being continuously from 2008-09 in the top division and having won the Danish Cup a few months earlier. And as happened in Portugal, Platek maintains an initial silence and then gives an exclusive interview to the newspaper JysdkeVestkysten. And there, for the first time, she unleashes the discourse that she will propose again elsewhere: he could invest in the capital Copenhagen, but also in Madrid or Barcelona (sic!), but he preferred to do it in the small club Haderslev because “I like the underdog spirit”. Shortly thereafter, December 2020, Platek invests in Casa Pia and will wait for August 2022 to deliver the underdog’s speech. Instead, he will do much earlier a La Spezia, where the club is taken over in February 2021 and the standard speech is proposed three months later, during a public announcement dated May 18. In that circumstance, in addition to the underdog approach, the working class approach is also mentioned. And the effect of all of this is really vintage. Because in the age of digital music we rediscover the thrill of the broken record.
SAID AND CONTRAADICT – So a mister Platek, the man who made his fortune in MSD Capital (the investment fund that manages the wealth of telecommunications tycoon Michael Dell) like the underdogs, in football as in life. But limiting the range of observation to football things, what is the fate of the underdogs that end up under his control? We would say swinging. In La Spezia the discontent of the fans took a year and a half to build, as Calciomercato.com told two days ago. Instead, they are happy days in Portugal, where the Casa Pia faces up to now with good results the second leg of the championship in the top division under the guidance oftrusted man of American property, Tiago Lopes.
And the SønderjyskE? Bad story. At the end of last season the Danish club finished last and returned to Serie B. But what makes the Danish experience of Mister Underdog negative is not only the sporting disaster of relegation after just two seasons, but also and above all the progressive lack of interest that generates alarm among the fans and local public opinion. With the addition of embarrassing episodes on the g sideossip, like the one involving Amanda Platek, daughter of Robert. Graduated in philosophy with a masters in theology, Amanda Platek is placed on the club’s board of directors as a representative of the family but she is based in Copenhagen, where since 2021 she has worked in the investment fund Polaris. And in the capital, as is normal, he indulges in the nightlife. With some excess, one of which ends up in a social story that sees it in a nightclub engaged in brandishing a glass of wine and expressing very confidential attitudes with two footballers of FC Copenhagen, the Portuguese Carlos Zeca and the striker Pep Biel (now at Olimpiacos Piraeus). Obviously, how Amanda Platek behaves in private life is made of her. But in Haderslev, a Danish province that experiences the relationship with the capital with some suffering, they do not appreciate it at all. It turns out that the relationship between the Platek family and the Danish club deteriorates without remedy. But when they leave at the end of May 2022 from Italy the rumors about the sale of the club, Mister Underdog reacts in an angry way and instructs the CEO of the club, Søren Davidsen, to deny. A little over two months later, early August 2022, the club will be sold to a group of local investors, of which Søren Davidsen himself belongs.
MULTIPROPRIETARY FRENCH – So for the moment i Robert Platek’s club and his family are two, but the frenzy to increase the football timeshare system does not stop. In recent months there has been talk of the Dutch club of Vitesse Arnhem, of the Czech club of Viktoria Plzen, of the Brazilian club of America Minas Gerais. In particular, this latest negotiation does not seem to have faded. But the question remains: what are the Plateks of all these clubs doing with it? In principle, a timeshare system should serve to circulate players among the companies of the group, but above all to import them from non-EU countries into EU countries with more permissive immigration regulations. Like Portugal, in fact. But no, as the well-informed voice tells us: “Casa Pia has a rose set up with loans, the average age is high, the exploitable value is very low“. So why on earth all this timeshare frenzy? We do not believe that Mr. Platek would answer such a direct question. After all, he has already said that if he wanted to make money he would have invested in real estate. While in football you have to be underdog. For life. .CopyAMP code.