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Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010

Billionaire invests in amateur club

LONDON (AP) It's hardly on the same level as the takeovers of Liverpool or Manchester United.

But American tycoon Robert Rich Jr.'s investment in an amateur soccer team in northeast England has fans of Bedlington Terriers dreaming of the big time.

"Mr. Rich said he wants to help the underdogs and he wants to help Bedlington achieve what they are capable of," Terriers club secretary David Collop said Thursday. "This is like a fairy-tale come true with him getting involved."

Bedlington is nowhere near the stature of Liverpool, which was bought by the owners of the Boston Red Sox last month for $476 million. And it's hardly on a par with Manchester United, which was bought in 2005 by the Glazer family, the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in a leveraged buyout worth $1.4 billion.

Instead, the tiny club way up north is in the ninth tier of English soccer and only five years ago nearly went out of business.

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