John Lynch revels in Leeds United ownership stake, Ted Lasso

49ers’ Lynch enjoying Leeds United ownership stake, Ted Lasso originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch certainly has made his mark on the game of football. 

Recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last week, Lynch has now been enshrined alongside some of the best players the game has ever seen. 

In his free time outside of football, he’s still focused on … football?

No, the other kind of football. Better known as soccer here in the United States. 

Lynch isn’t the only American football figure to get involved in the most popular sport from across the pond. He shares an interest in both football and soccer — much like the main character from one of his favorite TV shows.

“Right now I’m [watching] Ted Lasso,» Lynch revealed on Tim Kawakami’s «The TK Show» podcast. «I’m having fun with that, and one of the hard parts about this job is that our third child just went off to college at TCU and I couldn’t go because it was after Canton and we’re working here. So I stayed home with our youngest daughter and I watched a lot of Ted Lasso with her late at night.»

«Ted Lasso» is a very popular comedy about an American football coach who is hired to be the next coach on a Premier League soccer team, a sport he has zero knowledge of. The main character, Ted Lasso, is an upbeat, goofy, individual whose style of coaching is anything but ordinary in a sport where he already sticks out like a sore thumb.

«There’s this split personality where Ted Lasso is such a positive influence, he’s a good person,» Lynch explained. «But the language is terrible. So [my wife walks in] and comes back from TCU dropping our daughter off and she’s hearing F-bombs left and right and says, ‘What are you watching with my daughter?” I said, ‘No, there’s a great message to it, Linda.’

«That’s where we’re at, and we’ve had some fun around here.”

Lynch’s connection to Premier League soccer doesn’t end there. In fact, the 49ers organization through their investment team, 49ers Enterprises, has a stake in one prominent Football Club overseas. 

Back in 2018, 49ers Enterprises bought a 15 percent stake in Premier League club Leeds United. Fast forward to 2021, and they doubled down on their investment, now owning 37 percent.

President of 49ers Enterprises and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Paraag Marathe, who had previously sat on the Leeds United board, became the vice-chairman of the team in January of this year. 

According to The Sunday Times, 49ers Enterprises investment in Leeds United is estimated to be worth £50 million ($68.5 million). 

The investment is reportedly going to help fund much-needed modernization for the club, some of which might go towards renovations around the team’s home stadium, Elland Road, which 49ers owner Jed York has paid visits to. 

With 49ers Enterprises heavily invested in Leeds United, a very small percentage of the organization’s stake in the team has found its way into the hands of John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. 

“Jed [York] is invested in this Leeds club, and he allowed us to have some fun,» Lynch said. «Kyle [Shanahan] and I joke around that we’re owners of a Premier League football team. We have a very, very small percentage.

Lynch’s interest in soccer began before he was hired by the 49ers. 

«It’s fun to watch that and see what’s going on over there because you hear so much about it. I’ve had the opportunity over the years doing some broadcasting to go see a Manchester United game. Man, it’s fun, and that show is really good right now.”

Lynch and the 49ers are focused on a very important season that lies ahead. Across the pond though, it’s clear where their allegiances lie. 

Let’s just hope that San Francisco doesn’t need to bring in a Ted Lasso of their own to right the ship. 

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