New Roma owners Dan and Ryan Friedkin gave their first joint interview to ASRoma.com, nearly three weeks after they acquired the club from former president James Pallotta. Here’s what the father and son duo had to say:
It’s been a few weeks since The Friedkin Group became the club’s new owners. Can you describe how you felt when the last piece of paperwork was signed and the takeover became official?
Dan Friedkin: “It was a wonderful, humbling moment, and we were delighted to join the AS Roma family. It was also a moment of great seriousness, as we have a tremendous responsibility; a moment that we couldn’t linger on, as there is so much work to do.”
Ryan Friedkin: “Exactly what Dan said – tremendous joy, humility, and responsibility. But mostly, excitement about what we can build, excitement to get to Rome and get to work.”
You were first linked with buying AS Roma late last year. Were there any moments between then and now when you thought it may not happen?
Ryan: “Of course. It was a long and difficult process, complicated further by the Covid crisis. Obviously, with Covid, there are more important things at play than football. But through it all, our passion for the team and the city never dwindled, and we are delighted that we were able to complete the process.”
Many fans were impressed with your determination to get to this point – particularly after everything that happened with Covid-19. Is it fair to say that this is not just another business deal for you?
Dan: “Absolutely not. While we will run the club with the professionalism, discipline and dedication of any of our businesses, this is first and foremost a passion – a passion for the city, for the team, for the people, and for football.”
You set your heart on AS Roma. What was it about the club that captured your imagination?
Dan: “The fans. The passion of the local fans, the Curva Sud, and Roma fans all around the world. And the city is one of my very favourite places on earth.”
Ryan: “In addition to all of that, we feel that Roma is somewhat of a ‘sleeping giant’ – there is no reason that, in time, this club can’t seriously compete for trophies at all levels. With the fans, and the city behind us, anything is possible at Roma. The club is very special.”
Serie A is seeing something of a renaissance of late and this takeover is another positive sign for the league. Do you believe there’s a lot of growth potential in Italian football?
Dan: “Absolutely. Italian football has such an incredible legacy. We look forward to working with other clubs and the league to broaden Serie A’s visibility worldwide. We have work to do to catch up to the Premier League in terms of international exposure and revenues, but there is absolutely no reason that we shouldn’t be among the best, if not the best, league in the world.
“A big part of this of course is infrastructure, and we are fully committed to working with the city to build a beautiful new stadium as soon as possible.”
For fans who have been desperate to find out more about you, what can you tell us about The Friedkin Group and how you like to work?
Dan: “We are big believers in stability and culture. This is important in our existing businesses, and it’s critically important in football. We try to identify, and more importantly support, strong management. We prefer to be seen rather than heard, and for this reason we have empowered our leadership – particularly Guido Fienga – to handle most communication on behalf of the club. We believe that a winning culture must start at the top, and we intend to lead by example.”
The Roma fans are desperate to see their team win. What can you promise them?
Dan: “Make no mistake – we share this ambition with the fans, and we intend to win. But, we need patience – champions aren’t built overnight. We promise to work hard, smart and strategically, and to be 100% committed to AS Roma.
“We intend to listen a lot – and we have already been listening – and what we have heard so far is that the fans want three things – a team to be proud of, a club that appreciates, understands and shares their passion, and an ownership that is both present and honest.”
The transfer market window is now open, and fans want to know what’s happening with the search for a sporting director, and who will stay, who will go and who will arrive. What can you tell us?
Dan: “We totally understand that the fans and the media are desperate to hear news about what is happening – this is natural in football – but our style is to work in a different way. It’s more important that we work than talk – and then when the club has something concrete to say, whether it’s about a new signing, about a new appointment or whatever – then the club will speak on it.”
Do you see a lot of potential to grow the AS Roma brand around the world?
Dan: “Absolutely – the potential is incredible. This is already one of the biggest football clubs in the world – playing in possibly the most iconic city in the world. We have the fans, the passion, the history and the ambition – if we win on the pitch and act in the right way off it, we can showcase AS Roma to millions of people in Rome and all over the world.”
How much are you looking forward to coming to Rome to meet Paulo Fonseca and the players?
Dan: “We can’t wait. We had a very positive video call with Paulo recently and we’re looking forward to coming to Trigoria soon to continue our conversation in person about how preparations are coming along for the new season. We are eager to meet the players as well, and to start getting to know them properly, as a squad and as individuals.”
Finally, do you have a message for the Roma fans?
Dan: “We vow to work tirelessly to build a team that the fans can be proud of for many years to come.”
Ryan: “Forza Roma.”