Friday 22 January 2010

Manchester United and the death of football

First up, I'll put my cards on the table. I'm a Manchester City FC fan. I don't like Man United. Having said that, what I'm going to say next is in no way influenced by this prejudice. I love football. I've said many times that I'd watch two three legged dogs kick a ball around Mill Hill park. The team I most enjoy watching play right now are Watling FC under 10's who my son plays for. This is real football for the purist. Standing in the freezing rain, kicking every kick, for the love of the game. Sadly the biggest football club in the world is run for completely different reasons. When the Glazers were children, did they want to pull on a Red shirt and score the winner in the FA cup final at Wembley? I doubt it. I doubt they even knew what Wembley was until a few years ago.

The last trophy Manchester City won was the League cup in 1976. The winning goal was a bicycle kick by Dennis Tueart. I wanted to be Dennis Tueart. I wanted to win a cup with a bicycle kick. I'm sure that Man U fans have their moments too. The point is that the Glazers don't. To them it is just business. The players are a commodity. Old Trafford is an assett. Old rednose (Sir Alex Ferguson to you impartial fans) says nice things about them, but only because he has to. The club generates more money than any other club on the planet, yet they cannot compete in the transfer market. The excuse is that they won't pay inflated transfer fees, but whilst owners of clubs such as City plough money in, the owners of United take money out. I'm sure the sheiks at City never even thought of owning the club until recently and probably weren't aware of it either. That's not the point. They want to live the dream. They live in a place where there really aren't any great sports clubs. My guess is that they love football. Do the Glazers? I doubt it. Do you really think they'd rather watch Man U than the Tampa Bay Bronco's or whatever they are called? To them, the club is just a cash cow. When players are signed (or let go) the effects on shirt sales is a big consideration. Fergie is no fool. He knows he needs a couple of decent defenders, but these are not glamour players. I suspect that the beancounters won't sanction it. A super sexy striker, who will improve the brand - no problem, but a Japp Stam lookalike who could win the League - forget it.

It was suggested to me that a reason for Tevez being sold was because he was ugly and this damaged the brand. I've no idea whether it's true, but Uniteds loss is most certainly City's gain. Fergie felt £30 Million was good value for Berbatov, but £25 Million bad value for Tevez? Given that he'd taken Tevez on in the first place, is he saying Tevez got worse at United?

What really upsets me is the fact that Football is THE sport in this country. Much as I don't like them, United are THE club. They are being run purely to line the pockets of a few overseas chancers, who don't love the game and have no respect for the supporters. By the day, they diminsh the achievements of  old Rednose. I doubt that United will completely fall apart any time soon. That isn't what worries me. What worries me is the fact that greedy B******Ds like the Glazers are taking money out of the game. This money comes from the pockets (mainly) of ordinary mums and dads who are struggling to make ends meet in a recession. Many have been priced out of actually watching games. I guess that people could possibly stomach these inflated costs if it is to pay for a Ronaldo, but they cashed him in. It seems to me that it's just going to line the pockets of wealthy men who care nothing for our national game. In truth I despise the system of the Premiership, the Champions League, the big four. It's not because City are not currently big players, it's just that in the 60's/ 70's/ 80's a team could emerge, with good management and win the European Cup (Villa and Forest). That won't happen again any time soon. What does this do? It kills the dream. The only hope for supporters of outsider teams, such as myself, is that a very rich benefactor comes along and burns money to fuel success. Is that what the dream has come to? I used to read "Roy of The Rovers". There would be stories about non league teams winning the FA Cup. Boys suddenly playing for the champions, after  scoring great goals at the park. All nonsense I know. The thing is, that was the dream. That dream is dead and I personally think that The Glazers killed it.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Fair enough but you speak as if City isn;t the richest club now owned by the legendary footy fans the Abu Dhabi United Group and you used to be owned by a corrupt criminal called Thaksin Shinawatra.

Football has changed, not just United and City now, unfortunately, have joined that league of dealing with the devil to garner success.

Rog T said...


The point about the Glazers is the way they are pulling cash out of the club. There are issues around Sinawata & Abu Dhabi United, but neither of them simply used the club as a cash cow.

I think the Glazers are uniquely bad for football because they don't care. It's not a bias thing. In the 1970'w when I breathed football, I didn't give a shit about the owners. If I was truly partisan in my comments, I'd welcome the Glazers as I think they may destroy United. The point I was making is that would be a bad thing.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I think they no doubt are a bad thing but I share that view about the Abu Dhabi group and most definitely the previous owner.

Rog T said...

There's a good article in the Observer today about the Glazers. It quotes the Man Utd supporters association.

The thing about City and it's owners is that, sadly, City aren't the club with the biggest sales, the best recent track record of success or the world wide fan base.

In the transfer market, United are punching below their weight because the Glazers are using the cash for other purposes. As I said in the blog, I'd rather have the system we had in the 1970's where clubs such as Forest could compete with the bigger boys if they were well run.

I don't like the way the Premiership strengthens the strong. I hate the Champions League format. Went to an Arsenal vs Sparta Prague CL game at Highbury a few seasons ago on Compo tickets from Mastercard (did a little job for them). I couldn't believe the attitude of the corporate "fans". I went to watch a game of football.

What really pains me is that owners such as the Glazers take millions out of Football, whilst there are kids from poor families who can't even afford to pay the subs to train at under 10 level. Who subsidises these kids if they are talented? Other parents. If they make it to the big time, ultimately they stick even more millions in the pockets of these people.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I'd much prefer how things used to be but the chances of that happening are so very slim, things don't go backwards, you'd have to have a wage cap, a salary scheme, rather like American sports to try and keep it even, keep it exciting and unexpected.

It would take an event to occur for something like that to happen.

As for Champions League, don't start me, it should be for champions only , of all the EU nations, not the rich nations giving 4 or 5 teams each, it is bollocks but that is the way football is and will be for the foreseeable future.