JAMIE VARDY has become the owner of his own football club.
The Leicester striker purchased shared in US based side Rochester Rhinos and will take a ‘hands on’ role.
Jamie Vardy has become co-owner of US side Rochester RhinosCredit: Instagram @rochesterrhinos
Their stadium is more than 3,400 miles from his home in Lincolnshire and they haven’t played since 2017.
But Vardy has been involved in secret talks with co-owners David and Wendy Dworkin for two years.
And the 34-year-old – who will continue to play for Leicester – can’t wait to get started.
He told the Athletic: “I like to keep myself busy, don’t I? It’s really exciting.
“It’s going to be a lot different to what I’ve been used to for the last 10 years. But I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it.
“I think it kind of resonates with me because of what they’ve achieved in the past — the only lower-league club to win the US Open Cup, the only team to have ever done it who’s outside MLS.
“It’s all about bringing that back and trying to replicate it — but we also want to bring it back even better than it was before.”
The Dworkins bought the franchise in 2016, with the New York State based outfit in a perilous position.
And the pair – who part-own NBA franchise the Sacramento Kings – are delighted to have the goal machine on board.
David said: “Jamie’s story and our story, and our city, they mix together so well.
“Jamie wouldn’t do well at the Beverly Hills Rhinos. That’s not him. Our first meeting, he was drinking Corona beer.
“I said, ‘Why Corona?’ He said, ‘It was on sale’.
“Here’s a guy making £10million-a-year and he’s drinking a $3 beer because it’s on sale.
“That’s what we like about Jamie. There are no airs about him. What you see is what you get.”
The Rhinos were attracting crowds of around 10,000 in the late 1990s but attendances dropped to as low as 2,000 by 2017 – their last full season, which they played in the United Soccer League.
They’ve taken a hiatus from playing while they get the finances in order.
And it is the prospect of reviving a fallen giant that appealed the most to the former England international.
Vardy added: “Do you know what, me and John (Morris, his agent) were talking about this for a while.
‘I’M NOT DOING IT THE NORMAL WAY’
“I think it was just a case of finding a franchise that meant something, and the Rhinos popped up.
“I looked at a few others, but everything just kept coming back to the Rhinos — it felt 100 times better.
“It’ll be a lot harder, don’t get me wrong. But I think that’s the bit that’s exciting about it as well — I’m not doing it the normal way.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done anything the normal way, anyway! So it’ll be good. Really good.”
The Rhinos took to Twitter to announce the news and wrote: “The Rochester Rhinos are delighted to announce that Premier League star @vardy7 has become a co-owner of the club.
“The @LCFC striker has bought a minority stake & is excited by the prospect of being part of a journey that puts the Rhinos and Rochester back on the map after a four- year hiatus.
“This is a huge coup for Rochester, & the Rhinos. Jamie is known throughout the soccer world and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us as a co-owner.
“Hopefully this fantastic news, will give everyone connected with the club the belief that there are good times ahead.”
Leicester’s hierarchy are said to be ‘fully supportive’ of the move.
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