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Fan-led Tony Adams bid: New Sunderland takeover talk - it's not first time he's tried to buy a club

Reports this afternoon have suggested a supporter-led consortium featuring TV executives from production company Fulwell73 are preparing a bid to buy Sunderland. Arsenal legend Tony Adams and a former Chelsea director are also said to be involved with the group.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

According to a report in the Independent, a trio of executives behind Wearside production company Fulwell73 are preparing to bid for Sunderland AFC and rival a German-led consortium for the relegated club.

The claims suggest that Sunderland-supporting brothers Gabe and Ben Turner who are behind the TV company, plus co-owner Leo Pearlman, have acquired support from former Arsenal defender Tony Adams and ex-Chelsea director Paul Smith.

AEG, Chelsea FC and Los Angeles Galaxy Press Conference
Paul Smith during his time at Chelsea in 2007
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The report claims Adams - who is currently sporting director at relegated Spanish side Granada - has been offered a role in the new set-up. And it's perhaps his involvement which has brought the most initial scepticism from Sunderland supporters upon the news breaking this afternoon.

The ex-England captain and his associate Smith have been seeking to buy a football club for some time and appear to have teamed up with the Fulwell73 team in spearheading an attempt to launch a bid for Sunderland.

Adams and Smith got close to buying Aston Villa in 2015 and led a proposed £150m takeover of the midlands club making an offer to then-owner Randy Lerner.

Reports at the time suggested the pair had been working on the bid for over a year, seeking investors to back their plans. Adams was said to be involved in the project with the brief of 'working on football matters'.

In the end, Chinese businessman Tony Xia was successful in buying Villa in a £76m deal after the club were relegated in 2016.

Adams and Smith are also said to have been actively seeking to buy shares in clubs in Belgium, Italy and Portugal in recent times.

The career of Tony Adams needs little introduction, making over 500 appearances for Arsenal and with over 60 England caps to his name. Since retiring from playing, the 50-year-old has had uninspiring stints as manager at Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth and Azerbaijan side Gabala before signing up with Granada in April.

Tony Adams
Tony Adams during his days as an Arsenal player - pictured here at the Stadium of Light

Smith has a long background in the sports media business and was appointed by Roman Abramovich when he bought Chelsea in 2003 before being appointed as chief executive at Stamford Bridge later that year. Departing Chelsea in 2007, Smith won a case of unfair dismissal against his former employers before losing a follow-up claim.

But it's the involvement of the Fulwell73 Sunderland supporting trio which will attract the headlines and intrigue fans on Wearside this afternoon.

Whether the group have the necessary funds to compete with the other rumoured bidders remains to be seen and they may have acted swiftly after seeing reports that rival groups have opened the bidding for Sunderland at a cut-price £50m.

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