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Sheikh your booty

There's only one Liverpool keepsake for the man who has everything. Is it this?

Published on January 19th 2007.

Sheikh your booty

WHAT did the world’s fifth richest man get for Christmas?Well, if it’s Sheikh Mohammed we’re talking about, it might have been one of those lovely little models of Superlambanana because we bet he hasn’t got one of those.

But if you wanted to really please the ruler of Dubai (and who wouldn’t want to please a man with £7 billion?) you could have bought him Liverpool Football Club.Except you probably wouldn't have needed to because it just so happens he’s decided to make that his late Christmas present to himself this year.

Well, all right, he doesn’t really do Christmas. So why does His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Mo to pals – want to own a football club? Liverpool FC officials insist they are not about to become a rich man’s plaything. “We’ve got enough of those around here already,” said an Anfield insider, “when they’re not hanging around in Cricket.”

Derby Day suddenly takes on a whole new meaning

Sheikh Mohammed has probably never kicked a ball in his life, but while he doesn’t know how to sell a dummy, he’s bought a few; the famous Tussauds waxworks empire was snapped up for £750m by the Sheikh’s Dubai International Capital.

Indeed, it’s not the beautiful game that interests him – it’s the booty-ful game. A Premiership football club with a worldwide fanbase equals lots of £35 shirts.Sheikh Mohammed’s own sporting obsessions are mostly of the four-legged variety. Camel racing is a national sport giving many people the hump these days, while, in horse racing, Mo owns the famous Godolphin racing stables whose jockeys are known as – ahem – the boys in blue (Evertonians are preparing ammunition as we speak).

They enjoy a life of luxury with air-conditioned homes and a heated, 100-metre pool. That’s the horses, not the jockeys. Some killjoys suggest the sheikh cares more about the gee-gees than he does about people. Funnily enough, Michael Owen's missus says something similar about him.

When it comes to personal favourites on two legs, the sheikh actually prefers an each-way bet. His two spouses, known as Senior Wife and Junior Wife, presumably provide inspiration for much of the poetry that is one of the Sheikh’s less well-known passions, but it was his equine friends who moved him to pen the following:

Happily, it works better if you sing it to the tune of You’ll Never Walk Alone. But any man who has poetry in his soul can’t be all bad. After all, he is de facto leader of the country’s muslims and evidently a pretty holy guy – someone on the radio the other day said that he made a great prophet.

Mind you, it was The Business Programme, so perhaps we got that wrong.

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