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Here on BBC One it's time for the news where you are.
Hello and welcome to South Today, I'm Jo Kent.
as Southampton fans look forward to a trip to Wembley,
a Chinese company seeks to buy a stake in the club.
A devolution deal dead in the water but will taxpayers
And a heart-warming tale of the kindness of strangers.
Southampton football fans continued their celebrations today,
after the club secured its place in the League Cup final at Wembley.
They've also been taking in the news that a chinese company has moved
If the deal goes ahead, Southampton will follow
other big European clubs, who've also had significant stakes
Our reporter Lewis Coombes is at St Mary's tonight.
News emerged through the stock exchange in the Far East
that a Chinese company by the name of Lander Sports Group had reached
an agreement to purchase a stake in Southampton Football Club.
This then triggered the club to release their own statement,
but notably with a more cautious tone.
The clubs owner Katarinha Liebherr spoke of a "potential partnership"
and that any "possible deal" would only be done
if in the best interests of the club.
So early stages and any details of the size of stake
But it is the first time Saints have gone on the record
that they are looking for outside investment.
For investors the Premier League represents the richest
and most-watched football league in the world.
There's been a growing trend of investment from China -
a country keen to boost both its own domestic league,
and its standing as a major world player in the sport.
Southampton is the latest club to be linked -
West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Birmingham City
have all recently been sold to Chinese owners,
while Manchester City sold a minority stake in their club
for $400 million dollars just over a year ago.
A Chinese consortium is also currently in the process of trying
Lander has been shopping around for investments in the UK
There have been intermediaries working actively on
their behalf to build links with football clubs but,
beyond that, there's something about
Southampton's location, as a port city,
the Chinese tend to invest in clubs,
They often tend to look at the broader
industry and broader economic benefits.
And Southampton know who they will face in the AFL cup final at
Wembley. Yes, after the excitement
of last night's win at Anfield - fans now know
it will be Manchester United who stand in their way
of winning a first piece The club's only major
cup victory in it's history. The opposition that day, of course,
Manchester United. Saints have been given just over
31,000 tickets for the final which go on sale to season ticket
holders from next Thursday. While potential Chinese investment
in the club could be lucrative, for fans the sight of seeing
their players lift a trophy, It was the deal
that promised more money, more control and more
joined-up thinking. But, as we reported yesterday -
devolution plans for parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
appear to have been scrapped. It follows months
of planning and discussions. Now, instead of bringing
councils closer together, Our political editor, Peter Henley,
has been gathering reaction. This was the meeting
in a Westminster committee room that finally saw the death
of the Solent devolution dream. Portsmouth City Council
leader Donna Jones telling councillors that time had run out
for approval and they must At the moment, the money's all going
up north to the Northern Powerhouse and to Sheffield and to Leeds,
we are losing out because we haven't got our act together and
I am deeply, deeply disappointed. We've missed the opportunity to be
the Southern powerhouse and to be the first combined authority
in south-east England. The Portsmouth leader,
a Conservative, blames another Southampton, Portsmouth,
and the Isle of Wight all said they wanted to create
the new authority, East league, Eastleigh,
Fareham, Havant and East Hampshire would have all joined
in but Hampshire County Council and under Roy Perry
wouldn't back the plans. The combine authority would have
been given ?900 million in government funding to be spent
over 30 years but Hampshire's leader says that wasn't worth splitting up
the historic county. That the division and disagreement
is what's led to the failure of taking power away from Westminster.
How do you feel, personally? Personally, I feel my responsibility
is for this area to see that we have good services,
efficient services, Hampshire is one of the best,
most respected And these rival plans
for council reorganisation Surveys and expert opinions,
all of which seem to What the public really
wanted our simple delivery of quality services,
particularly when money is tight. And, today, a third
conservative entered the fray. Chancellor Philip Hammond
visiting Microsoft in Reading. He gave his views on why no southern
council was getting an elected mayor It started as a city-based
approach and it's evolved. I think it's just a pipeline issue
and I'm sure we will see some deals coming through in the less urbanised
parts of the country in the future. So, perhaps a minister's door
could still be pushed open, though with Brexit taking up so much
energy, paying for local services may mean the back
of the queue for some time yet. More news today about how our
councils might look in the future. Earlier I asked about plans four
authorities in Dorset to merge. Everybody is racing to get some of
this money before the tap is turned off. Dorset thing that rather than
having a mayor and combined authority they think they can save
money by merging councils together making it simpler. But to councils
don't want to be taken over so it has become a test case for the
government whether they force councils to go along with the merger
arrangement. It's a strange situation where you've got the
government saying we want local people to work out what they want
but it's down to Westminster to approve which ever plan. It in some
ways, are watching for signals but they are very important sums of
money and decisions for lovers in terms of the services we get.
Now - here's a tale to restore your faith in human nature.
It starts with a letter taped to an empty bike rack
The letter was addressed to the thief who'd stolen a brand
new bike, belonging to someone who'd saved-up for a year to buy it.
A passer-by saw the note, and decided to do something
about it, as Allen Sinclair reports.
Flapping from an empty bike rack, this letter caught
Rachel's eye as she was walking along Reading's
"Dear bike thief, have you ever thought that you make
"You might have seen that the bike is new and
"Letting you know that I could only afford that bike after one year
"I was saving and dreaming of having a new bike one day."
Well, it's a pretty forlorn looking note, as you can see.
Everything I read just make me feel sad for the person, really.
It was signed, "From Alex", who added that he or she would wait
by the bike rack at 6pm each evening this week in the hope that
It's not a great welcome that, is it?
I've lived here for coming on 17 years now and, actually,
And that's what motivated me to do something.
Within half an hour, Rachel had set up an online appeal
aiming to collect enough money to buy a replacement bike,
24 hours later, the total had already reached over ?700.
I've got no idea but Alex says that they will be here at 6pm.
I don't know if Alex is male or female, even because it is a name
But I will be here at 6pm, hopefully, to give Alex
Hi. My name's Rachel.
Alex, understandably wary at first, was deeply moved to know
It's given back my faith in humanity.
All the money left over after buying a new bike and a decent lock will go
to a cycling charity helping provide affordable bikes for Reading people,
a charity which Alex says he'd now like to join as a volunteer.
That's all from the South Today news team this evening.
We're back tomorrow with bulletins in BBC Breakfast and there's more
Here is our regional weather forecast.
Temperatures falling below freezing. Already, we are down 2-3 in the
countryside. The winds will be brisk from the south. The chants in West
Sussex and Surrey of patchy ice where we have wintry showers
trysting in during the early hours of the morning. A chilly start. Mist
and fog will lift. Patchy rain will spread in, mainly light in nature.
Temperatures will rise to around nine Celsius, in contrast to today
when we saw a high of just three Celsius. Feeling less cold also into
Saturday. The rain moves eastwards during Saturday morning. Following
eight, sunny spells and the chants of a sunny shower. A fair amount of
cloud and also the risk of a weekend. It's swings and
roundabouts, higher temperatures but some rain as well.
Good evening. It's been dry so far this January but as it draws to a
close it looks like we will see some rain at last. It's been an
interesting today a bitterly