Tom Glick, the executive tasked with helping Chelsea’s co-owner Todd Boehly to establish a network of clubs around the world, spent several months working on similar plans with the Crystal Palace investor John Textor, the Guardian can reveal.
Glick, formerly the chief commercial officer for Manchester City’s owner, City Football Group (CFG), has been instructed by Boehly to take charge of Chelsea’s attempts to set up a multi-club network which could lead to investment in Brazil, Belgium and Portugal, where Textor has held talks with Benfica and Porto over potentially buying large stakes.
It is understood that Textor – who bought 40% of Palace for £90m last year and is expected to add the French side Lyon to his Eagle Football stable that also includes Botafogo in Brazil and the Belgian club RWD Molenbeek in the coming weeks – has been surprised by Chelsea’s attempts to find clubs in the same leagues given his close association with Glick.
Glick was appointed as Chelsea’s president of business in July. Less than two months earlier he was pictured alongside Textor at a meeting in São Paulo that confirmed Botafogo’s entry into the new Brazilian league, Libra. Glick was described then by a Brazilian journalist as “a senior adviser” to Eagle Holdings.
“I brought Tom Glick with me,” Textor said in an interview at the time. “The two of us together brought a lot of perspectives on opportunities to grow. Technologies for television, technologies for consumer-oriented applications, digital distribution of content, to make it more profitable and profitable, with international expansion, and we brought examples of how to make money in ways Brazilian clubs have never tried before. We brought lessons from the Premier League.”
Chelsea have been turned down by the Brazilian club Santos, where Pelé spent most of his career, and are understood to have made a late bid to buy Lyon this month despite Textor having agreed a deal in June. Textor, who made his fortune in digital technology companies before investing in football, is believed to have secured funding from the American investment company Ares Management Corp, which bought a 34% stake in Atlético Madrid last year.
Glick spent four years as chief executive of Derby County before joining Manchester City in 2012 as chief commercial and operating officer. He took up a similar role at CFG before becoming the president of Tepper Sports & Entertainment – the parent company of the NFL side Carolina Panthers and the MLS club Charlotte FC – in 2018.
In a statement announcing Glick’s departure at the start of February, Tepper Sports –established by David Tepper, a hedge fund manager worth an estimated $16bn (£14.7bn) who is the NFL’s richest owner – said he was “stepping aside to pursue other opportunities”. Glick is believed to have then worked closely with Textor on his plans to purchase Lyon from the long-time owner and president, Jean-Michel Aulas, and had been expected to be confirmed as the chief executive of Eagle Football Holdings until Chelsea stepped in.
“Tom is a terrific addition to Chelsea FC and will advance our long-term plans for the club,” said Chelsea’s co-owners Behdad Eghbali and José E Feliciano when Glick was appointed. “He has the experience and credentials to elevate our significant global standing and help lead our commitment to strengthen the club through investments in squad additions, infrastructure, technology, the youth academy, and the women’s team.”
Glick and Textor are expected to be at Selhurst Park on Saturday when Palace entertain Chelsea in the Premier League.