The Spoiler finds out more about Portsmouth’s new owner
When Portsmouth owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim (pictured) realised he didn’t even have enough money to buy a shirt that fits him properly, he sold 90 per cent of his share in the south coast club to Ali Al-Faraj. Keen to discover more about the mystery Saudi Arabian businessman, The Spoiler went in search of some facts. Then, we wrote them down and published them, Because we’re nice like that…
- Al-Faraj is forty years old, he is a Saudi property investor, and he is “a huge supporter of the English Premiership”. Crucially, he is also the figurehead of the super powerful Al-Faraj family. Said power is fuelled by a healthy stake in behemoth petroleum peddler SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation). The billion-dollar company manufactures chemicals, fertilisers, plastic and metals and is a major player in the Saudi region.
- While Sulaiman Al-Fahim desperately tries to raise his profile by posing with Pamela Anderson and fronting the UAE’s crappy version of The Apprentice, Al-Faraj is notoriously private, shunning almost all media attention. Very little is known about his personal life and he has never been photographed for publicity purposes.
- Brits aren’t the only ones who have never heard of Al-Faraj – his fellow Saudis haven’t either. Dr Hafez Almedlej, chairman of the Saudi Professional League, said: “I’ve never heard of him. I’ve even called up all my friends in Saudi Arabian football and no one knows him. It’s very strange. There has not even been a picture of him in the Saudi newspapers.”
- It’s not known how much the 90 per cent share cost Al-Faraj, but Al-Fahim will retain a ten per cent share. He will be joined on the Portsmouth board by his associate Mark Jacob.
- Unlike Al-Fahim, it looks like the new owner has the Benjamins to fund a Premier League club. It is understood that the Al-Faraj family have a vast personal fortune, and Peter Storrie has described them as “billionaires”. Excellent news for Portsmouth WAGs with expensive handbag habits.
- This won’t be Al-Faraj’s first foray into the world of football. He attempted to purchase Portsmouth at the end of August as part of Peter Storrie’s consortium, but Al-Fahim got there first. Subsequently, a hunger for heavily indebted Premier League clubs developed, and he was linked with a takeover bid at West Ham.