Hotel concierges can rejoice--Russell Crowe has a new outlet for his aggression. But it's still gonna cost him.
The Oscar-winning, Australia-based actor has purchased a majority stake in the National Rugby League's South Sydney Rabbitohs, one of the oldest and most famous clubs in the brutal, injury-inducing sport.
Crowe and business partner Peter Holmes a Court dished out $3 million to secure a 75 percent share in the inner Sydney club, named after a group of Depression-era men who used to sell rabbits door-to-door. Fierce.
Crowe's initial attempt to privatize the financially struggling club was met with resistance. But the powers that be finally caved Sunday night after a 12-week campaign by the actor and his partner, and after Crowe delivered an impassioned--and no doubt award-worthy--speech to members of the club's board.
"My last words to members were 'Let's vote yes, let's get into bed together. I hope you respect me in the morning,' " Crowe recounted to reporters.
" 'I've stated my case and I'm prepared to back my words with cash. I want you to vote yes. Now listen carefully, cause this could be really big. Those of you in favor, repeat that simple optimistic word after me: Yes! Yes!' "
Crowe's offer was ultimately accepted, with nearly three-quarters of the members voting in favor of the Gladiator star's bid.
"This has been a great day, it was a really amazing thing to be involved in and sitting in that room hearing person after person talk about their love for the club and how the club needs to go forward," Crowe said.
But while love for what's long been referred to as "the People's Club" may have been abundant, love for the club's new owners was less so.
George Piggins, a former Rabbitoh player, as well as coach and club president, cut all ties with the team after hearing of its new ownership.
"The South Sydney football club as it stands now doesn't represent what I represent, so I'll move on," Piggins said.
For his part, Crowe has no interest in starting beefs, just in running the team.
"I'll keep, you know, giving the money," Crowe said. "But my attitude is, look, if I'm going to pay for it, I want a say in how it's run."
Crowe's official role in the rugby club has not yet been revealed, but Holmes a Court has already called dibs to become the team's executive chairman.
The pair officially takes over the sports club next month.