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Philadelphia Eagles Have a New Owner

Dec. 5, 1963 - Jerry Wolman, who used to “hitch” rides from his native Shenandoah, Pa., to watch the Philadelphia Eagles play, realized a boyhood dream today when he bought the team for $5,505,500.  Approval of at least 11 of the remaining 13 owners is necessary to complete the sale. The 36-year-old Wolman, who has acquired real estate holdings he values at around $36 million in the last eight years as a builder in Washington D.C., made the deal with his attorney, 38-year-old Earl Foreman, as his only partner. Wolman, who would become the youngest club owner in the NFL, said he would take 51% of the stock; Foreman, 49%. That would meet the top requirement of NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle — that one man hold more than half the stock. Today, Wolman said he would have to rely on the Eagles’ present personnel, especially team president Frank McNamee, as he doesn’t know “the first thing” about the football business. He didn’t want to speculate about general managers and coaches until he gets official league approval of his purchase. “I imagine most of the present people will be retained,” he said. “People don’t care who owns the team or who works for it,” added McNamee. “They just want to know who’s playing quarterback.” Wolman becomes the fourth owner in the 33-year-old history of the Philadelphia franchise. The late Bert Bell, the former league commissioner, headed a group that bought the team for $2,500 in 1933. Bell became sole owner in 1936 on a $4,000 investment. In 1941, Bell sold the club to Alexis Thompson, the late New York millionaire. In 1949, the present syndicate took over for $300,000. The 65 present owners, who bought the club’s stock 14 years ago for $3,000 a share, thus sold their interests for $60,500 per share. In recent years, as the club attracted capacity crowds to Franklin Field and earned approximately $250,000 a season, the stockholders received in dividends much more than their original investment. Wolman has agreed to keep the team in Philadelphia in line with a requirement of the Eagles’ stockholders.


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