By Jason McKeown
In our match report of last night’s defeat to Bristol City, we revealed that the club were in talks to sell to a new investor. Gianni Paladini’s name has now been put into the public domain.
WOAP understands that Mark Lawn is looking to sell his stake, but it is not clear if Julian Rhodes is remaining on board. If the deal goes through, Paladini is expected to buy Valley Parade from the Gordon Gibb pension fund.
The 70-year-old Italian is the former chairman of QPR, becoming involved with the club in 2003 and heavily involved with Rangers’ rise to the Premier League. It was a turbulent spell that featured the likes of millionaires Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal; included the club going through 14 managers in six years; and at one point Paladini being forced to resign at gunpoint.
Paladini was first noted in English football as an agent to several Italian star names, in the 1990s, and he was Benito Carbone’s agent when in 2000 the forward secured a four-year, £40,000 per week deal at Valley Parade. The arrangement including City buying Carbone a house worth £750,000 featuring seven bedrooms and five bathrooms. More recently Paladini has been attempting to take over Birmingham City without success.
Paladini was also heavily involved with QPR almost being denied promotion to the Premier League in 2011, when they signed Alejandro Faurlin and played him throughout the 2009/10, despite the player being owned by a third party rather than Rangers.
And as one of the stars of the excellent documentary – the Four-Year Plan – it is worth looking at a little bit of Paladini at work for Rangers. Skip forward to 1 hour and 15 minutes into the below video to see a worried Paladini trying to explain himself to a furious Flavio Briatore. Keep watching until 1 hour 23 minutes to see Paladini’s obvious relief when the FA decides not to deduct points.