‘It’s kind of your national treasure’ - JJ Watt understands British ‘cynicism’ over US investment as former NFL star becomes shareholder at Burnley
- Watt joins ownership group
- Skepticism towards him
- Says he understands concern
WHAT HAPPENED? Watt, most famous for his time with the NFL's Houston Texans, recently invested in Burnley alongside soccer star Kealia Watt, to whom he is married. He said he wouldn't be anything like the American owners who have drawn sharp criticism in the UK, including Todd Boehly at Chelsea and the Glazer family at Manchester United.
The Clarets recently secured promotion back to the Premier League under head coach Vincent Kompany, so Watt arrives at a promising time. He claimed he isn't being opportunistic, though, and has studied the club's history since making his investment.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I don’t blame them for having cynicism,” he told the PA news agency. “I would if I was in their shoes. Think about it. You’ve had the best league in the world, and it’s been around for over 100 years, and it’s kind of your national treasure.
“I absolutely understand why you’d be sceptical of Americans coming in and wanting to be part of it, but having said that our experience has been unbelievable. We haven’t met one single person who hasn’t been incredibly welcoming, so we’re very thankful. But we understand the situation and we want to continue to earn that trust and show that we are going to honor and respect that tradition and history.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Watt has spoken with American celebrity Wrexham co-owner Ryan Reynolds about soccer investment. He recently said to The Athletic: “The number one thing Ryan said was recognizing the tribalism in football. It’s different from American sports. It is a tribal loyalty that is rarely found in other sports or supporter bases. He told me I had to respect and honor that history and tradition and do right by that group otherwise you will lose them before you start."
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Burnley will return to the Premier League next season, and Watt is expected to spend time at Turf Moor enjoying the action.
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