The last time Associazione Sportiva Roma changed hands (waaaaay back in 2011), the writing had been on the wall for a couple of years. Following the death of her father Franco in 2008, who was the chairman of the club for the prior 15 years, Rosella Sensi took effective control of the club through one of it's most tumultuous periods. Despite success on the pitch being driven by Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi, Sensi’s control of the club grew more tenuous by the minute.
With her family's oil concern, Compagnia Italpetroli, running massive debts, Sensi was forced to sell Roma as part of a larger debt settlement in the summer of 2010, ushering in an awkward transition year for the club. With club's creditor, Unicredit, seeking new ownership in the background, Rosella remained the ostensible head of Roma for the 2010-2011 season, one that saw Roma run through two managers, Claudio Ranieri and later Vincenzo Montella, on their way to a sixth place finish.
After nearly three years of uncertainty follow Franco Sensi's passing, Roma finally changed hands in April of 2011, with American businessman Thomas DiBenedetto serving as club president for a year before ceding control to James Pallotta.
The Sensi family inspired mixed opinions among Roma fans, but given the debts they were incurring across multiple businesses, rumors of a sale had bubbled underneath the surface for several years, making the eventual transfer of the club almost inevitable.
I'm not sure we can say the same about James Pallotta. Never far from the scorn of Roma fans, Pallotta soldiered on through multiple managerial changes, high profile sales, European glory and the unending parade of stadium delays. It wasn't hard to imagine his level of frustration with the club's progress, but outside of a few vague references to the lack of development on the stadium front, Pallotta never really gave the impression his was ready to cash out.
However, with Qatari groups reportedly putting out feelers for the club in late 2019, a post-Pallotta future suddenly seemed plausible. While many fans were drunk on the possibility of a City or PSG-style, money-is-no-object takeover of Roma, the first credible suitor to appear was a seldom seen Texas-based automobile magnate, Dan Friedkin, who today, after nearly five months of negotiation, took control of our beloved Roma (or at least he will once the closing phase of the transaction concludes in two to three months time).
+++ "The deal is Dan" +++ #Friedkin sarà il nuovo proprietario della #ASRoma: a New York stanno firmando i contratti preliminari per il passaggio di proprietà del club giallorosso. Ora comunicato e poi via alle procedure previste per il closing definitivo con il Gruppo Friedkin pic.twitter.com/3KM20SNTBx— Filippo Biafora (@Fil_Biafora) March 5, 2020
After meeting with James Pallotta’s representatives in New York City, a meeting that included a gaggle of lawyers and financiers, the Friedkin Group has acquired Roma, and it’s apparent dozen component companies, putting an end to Pallotta’s near decade-long run as Roma’s chief owner.
The club has yet to make any sort of official announcement, but what was once an October whisper is now a done deal: Dan Friedkin is the new owner of AS Roma.
Stay tuned for further updates.