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Club Takeovers and Self Righteous Fans

It’s been a while since the Glazer takeover – around two years now – and so far things haven’t been that bad for the club. Of course, the 05/06 season was termed by many, a disaster and set the doomsayers on overdrive. I would argue that it was a season of rebuilding and hope, where a team with a midfield of Giggs and O’Shea for good part could finish 2nd ahead of a much fancied Pool. Yes, a lot of credit should then be given to the manager in the 06/07 season for winning the title and staying on course for the treble till the very end. The surprise: we sold more than we bought at the beginning of the 06/07 season. Reason enough for pundits to write us off.

I honestly didn’t expect us to win at the start of the season. But that is not what I am here to talk about.

The whole saga of the Glazer takeover has been among the scariest of things, lot of fans had to endure, in recent times. Plenty of fans opposed it. United Rant did it’s math and painted a scary story, something that still scares me when I read those articles. Many fans did drastic things like start FC United, which, by the way, is doing pretty well. This kind of an opposition was one of its kind, of course, fans of Wimbledon/M.K. Dons would disagree.

The opposition was understandable, because these fans felt they had a say as long as the club were listed in the Stock Exchange. But once it was taken over by a foreigner, they became customers paying the owners to settle the huge debt. Now since I have never lived in Manchester, I never had that feeling of a ‘neighbourhood club being stolen from you’. But I have been a fan of the club for as long as I can remember, enough to spend my weekends watching the games on the telly, enough to spend an even longer time reading Man Utd rags and papers alike and rant on it on a daily basis for you gentle readers to read at your leisure. It’s this feeling you get doing something that you don’t too much care about what you get in return – apart from your comments – but you do it anyway for the joy of talking and writing about United. I am that kind of a fan. How much of a fan you think me to be is then up to how you define that word.

Therefore, my feelings about the Glazer takeover is one of ambivalence. Where, one part of me feels scared of the financial consequences of a few bad seasons and an inability of being able to pay the debt, and another part of me feels optimistic on the back of a successful season, a good management and mostly non-interfering owners, as far as the football is concerned. So while I would not totally justify the takeover and say the Glazers are the smartest businessmen, it would not stop me from continuing to support the club I love.

Which brings me to the main point of the story. We took a load of abuse from our dear rivals ever since the takeovers. Most notably the Red scum from Merseyside with their Uncle Sam and Yankee taunts, and some tiring jibes about selling our souls to the Yanks. Of course, even City fans had their own share of ‘At least our fans are from Manchester’ taunts. (Something that popped up again in one of the Soccerlens article comments). In fact, everyone had something bitter to say about our takeover. I guess what a lot of us could do was to stay quiet, keep our fingers crossed and hope that the results on the pitch keep the rest quiet.

But suddenly, many of the Premiership clubs started getting taken over by some foreign businessman or the other. It then got interesting for a person like me to see the respective fan reactions to the takeovers. Aston Villa were thanking their stars after Randy Lerner came over, Pompey fans rejoiced at Gaydamak’s arrival (even as questions were – albeit wrongly – posed to his mental health). Newcastle fans are desperate for Shepherd to get out, as their ‘saviour’ Mike Ashley comes into the fray. And I can rattle off names of some other clubs too.

What interested me most, was the reaction to Liverpool’s takeover. They are similar to us in the sense that their international base is large (although not as much as ours), they are a high value club and their fans are crazily passionate to say the least. So you would expect them to worry about a takeover bid, right? Wrong. It was shocking to see the hypocrisy as every time an owner was linked to the club, the fans jumped higher and higher with joy. Apart from maybe a few isolated incidents, no one opposed the takeover outrightly.

Now some of you scousers – if there are any of you reading this – will start talking economics and how their takeover was ‘different’. So here is a question to you Liverpudlians. When you people pride yourself as being the best fans to the level that you practically own the Kop, how could you so easily accept takeovers from just about anyone? Yes, you guys were ready to even accept someone as dubious as Thaksin Shinawatra to take over your club. When you taunted us during games with references to Yanks and foreign ownership, it was not the economics of the takeover that you were referring to. It was the ‘selling of our souls’ to an outsider. Speaking in your own language, how is the takeover of your club by – not one, but – two Yanks any different from that of ours as far as selling our souls is concerned?

Personally I never really saw too much into the soul selling thing, but when a certain set of fans think that way of another club they should obviously feel concerned if a similar thing happened to their own club. Which I am appalled to say, hasn’t happened in the case of Pool.

I don’t want to pick too much on City – ‘massive’ club that they are – but when they say ‘At least our fans are from Manchester’ they might want to reconsider, now that their new owner is not from England (leave alone Manchester), and has plans of making Man City a huge brand in Asia. (However laughable that claim may be, we wish them the best.)

It is this kind of hypocrisy among fans that riles me to no end. At least most of us make no pretense about our feelings regarding the Glazer takeover. Even Arsenal opposed Kroenke’s takeover, although it remains to be seen how that story pans out. While fans would have to accept takeovers eventually, the least they could do is not to be self-righteous about them and go around justifying when they taunt other clubs about similar takeovers.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Ahmed Bilal

    June 23, 2007 at 5:39 am

    Hey RR, remember that discussion we had on SL the other day about buying a club?

    How much do you think United will cost in…say, 10 years?

  2. julio

    June 23, 2007 at 11:42 am

    I think when the glazers took over united it opened a flurry of clubs to takeovers because at the time united was virtually impossible to take over unless you were a multi-bilionaire.It(the take over) made other clubs open to take overs because if the mighty manchester united can so can they.Because if you haven’t forgotten united’s value was alarge chunk of the Epl

  3. indian punkz

    June 23, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Agreed tottally bro
    Even i hated when glazers cam and the painfull thing was that they borrowed money to buy the clum if a man like abrahmovich or even Lakshmi mittal (He’s eyeing birmingham or some other club ) buys its good for financial health but flazers and scrweiung us but the point of not supporting the club is silly i’ll be a red devil till i die and there no denying that and i still fancy to c fc united of manchester in premeirship b4 i die they’ve got gr8 support and club polieces of thiers is awesome

    And regarding liverpool just let them F%$# themselves bloody scousers they are like loose characters who dont know what to do
    They call themselves the best englsh club ask the new breed thjeir how does the preimeirship trophy look like stupid cuntzzz

    And by the way i just got hold of official history of MAnchester.United.Official.History.1878.to.2002 here
    http://www.mininova.org/tor/280825
    must for the new generation fans of manutd do do watch it plz

  4. MoYa

    June 23, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Don’t see any Chelsea fans complaining… HaHa says a lot about that them hey!!

  5. knownothingcunt

    June 23, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    i’m quite sure it was and is “that bad” for the people who are now priced out after the recent increases, but hey if the fact that bloodline of this club is being driven out doesn’t float your boat…sure for us out of towners watching it on the internet or tv doesn’t cost a fortune, but while you’re sitting there in your couch enjoying a match don’t forget who’s funding this whole shit, yep, the ones who pay through their noses to enter the ground and create an atmosphere(somtimes) which helps to lift the players. when they’re gone, you’re left with tarquins who won’t turn their heads when all of it eventually goes tits up.

  6. Taron

    June 23, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    Great post I agree with you 100%. I was against takeover too and I was abused all the time by other supporters (specificly the Liverpool scum) and now they see their only sulvation in American takeover…that’s pathetic. And as to Man City man don’t even pay any attetion to them, they don’t worth it and they might even think that they are good enough to compite with us.

  7. Liam O'Kelly

    June 23, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Even if the worst happens and Glazer does leave Man U with his debts does anyone really think that no-one else will see it as a good opportunity to buy one of the biggest clubs in the world at a cut-price? I mean this is one of the richest clubs in the world and makes a 40 or 50 million in profits a year and I think the Glazers are good owners, I mean they don’t interfere with buying players like Abramovic, they aren’t press junkies like Gillett and Hicks so I don’t see the problem

  8. indian punkz

    June 24, 2007 at 7:49 am

    well liam ur quite right there glazers are not media hungry but the way club was taken over and the idea of manu being a peoples/supporters club being vanished was the most painful thing

  9. Red Ranter

    June 24, 2007 at 8:28 am

    [Liam O’Kelly]
    Spot on.

    [knownothingcunt]
    Yes I agree it is bad. But is there anything we can do. I can’t turn my back on the club I love, nor do I have enough money to buy it off (like Berlusconi did with AC Milan). So deal with it. Love the club or leave it!

  10. Casper

    June 24, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Love United Hate Glazer.

    I will never accept the Glazers.
    He cannot buy my love and i won’t change my oppinion about him nor David Gill just because of some transfers and a championship.

    The only one who will pay for all this, is the fans who again will face price hikes at the stadium.

    3 strokes and you’re OUT!

    FUCK OFF GLAZER!.

    visit http://www.fight-for-united.com to join the fight against Glazer

  11. kayos

    June 24, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    well…the Villa response is understandable, when you consider the circumstances…”Deadly” Doug Ellis with his tight purse strings had been holding us back for years.
    Similar thing with the others too…

    Pompey are a small club, rising…they NEEDED a big takeover.
    Newcastle are similar. Used to be a big club (kinda) and now they’re mid-table. A new owner, lots of funds and ambition is just what they needed,

    With Man Utd and Liverpool its different. Both are massive clubs already, and have plenty success and funds and overseas support WITHOUT the need for a massive takeover deal. So really…us fans of smaller clubs are perfectly justified in our bitter reactions to Man Utd’s purchase (because nobody cared about our comparatively tiny clubs) as well as our rejoicing when our own clubs are bought out (because we bloody needed it, lol)

    Liverpool and Arsenal fans on the other hand…I’d assume they just needed something to rag on Man Utd fans about…kinda like how Birmingham City fans like to point out that “Aston wasnt even originally in Birmingham” and so on…because its the only thing they can really criticise. Its a case of trying to escape the shadow of inferiority…lol

  12. Red Ranter

    June 24, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    [kayos]
    Fair point. We didn’t need the investment but again, Pool’s behaviour during their takeover was the most hypocritical I’ve seen of so called ‘true’ fans.

  13. karl

    June 25, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Just wonder if there will be any ‘born in the USA’ chants during United/Pool matches this season?

  14. indian punkz

    June 25, 2007 at 11:54 am

    u never know bro there might be some of that “born in the USA”

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