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David Gill’s “Out of Context” Cop-Out

The audio, where a United fan questioned David Gill for his contrarian remarks, has been heard, I’m sure, by all and sundry. Well done by that fan to go that far in the first place, however, I do have a gripe with said fan for not being, um, a little more prepared.

Let me explain.

Those living under a rock and, hence, haven’t heard the audio yet, here you go.

The fan showed the banner quoting Gill circa 2004 as saying: “Debt is the road to ruin.” Now, whilst it’s apparent for all of us what that implies, it still helps when you pose a question to David Gill that you come a little more backed up so that when he throws the stock question, about ‘being quoted out of context’, you throw the context right back at him. This were his exact quotes that actually helps resolve the context question quite well:

“The key aspect of that proposal was the level of debt they were going to use in order to make their offer… we’ve seen many examples of debt in football over the years and the difficulties it causes. We know what it means and we think it is inappropriate for the business.”

Dear Mr. Gill, when the level of debt concerned you back then, it makes you come across a little, um, two-faced when you seem to throw your weight behind this venture whole-heartedly now, showing pompous arrogance in a lot of your comments to the fans lately. I know you are an employee of the club, and you are expected to toe the party line, but you could drop the derision in your tone towards the paying supporters who are genuinely concerned about the debts.

[Interestingly, Gill’s interview from 2004 is present in full in the club’s official website]



  1. EduardoDaVinci4

    February 14, 2010 at 11:14 pm


  2. Harry Carrick

    February 15, 2010 at 12:52 am

    This is pretty much the same argument I have with my mates.


    “But how many times heave we won the league under the Glazers”

    Very politically answered, Big Gilly style 😉

  3. Red Ranter

    February 15, 2010 at 12:59 am

    @Harry Carrick: I don’t know which one is your argument, but if it’s the second, it’s not arguing. It’s pushing the issue under the carpet. Winning leagues still hasn’t stopped the debt from mounting.

  4. Grognard

    February 15, 2010 at 1:16 am

    This fan should be knighted. In fact, somebody should also guide him towards Carlos Tevez. 😀 😀

  5. Redrich

    February 15, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Frankly, this is all about money and nothing about United as a Football team, or in my case, a life long passion.
    As long as those owning and controlling our club have that one end, we don’t stand a chance.

    To blame Gill is like calling the Tax Authorities, money grabbers – what Gill does, is what his job mandates!!

    We are now victims of capitalism and not the friendly ideals that “teamwork”, “excellence”, and “success” would portray.
    As a fan, I only want the best for the team. However, an alternate side of me wants to make lots and lots of money, so that my family and I can be comfortable!

    Its true in many sports – and especially ours, now. – The profit motive is unrealistic – unless you choose the rape and sell method. But the nurturing process, with all its losses and gains along the way, will make “long term” investment a viable concern for ownership and fandom, alike!!

    The motivation for owning United is the key, and when or if the Glazers sell to another super-rich concern, lets just hope the new ones side more with the success than the bottom line!

  6. Red Ranter

    February 15, 2010 at 1:53 am

    @Grognard: I share a different view. It’s totally neanderthal of him, despite what I think of Bellamy.

  7. Harry Carrick

    February 15, 2010 at 4:33 am

    @Red Ranter: It’s the first, but If I’d been able to talk to David Gill I wouldn’t have repeatedly said ‘yeah but it’s £700 Million!’.

    The guy sounds like a bit of a Daniel Radcliffe type, he could make the debt vanish with his magical wizard powers. DEBTUS EXPELIAMUS!!!

  8. Harry Carrick

    February 15, 2010 at 4:37 am

    @Red Ranter: I know If I saw Craig Bellamy about and I’d had a few drinks it’d definitely cross my mind. He enrages me to look at, what a smelly, little toe rag.

  9. jos

    February 15, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Nice article this one… (dont know the source. Copy Pasted from one of the threads on redcafe)

    Manchester United’s most influential Eric speaks – no, not that one

    The man responsible for the talented boys who became men of glory explains his methods

    The name Eric will forever be synonymous with the onset of Manchester United’s modern glory era but opinions differ as to whether M Cantona or Mr Harrison proved the greater catalyst.

    There is no argument that Eric Harrison has exerted the more enduring influence. As United’s youth coach he was the off-field genius who not only supplied Alex Ferguson with a band of young players capable of sustaining the team’s success post Cantona but moulded some of *English football’s brightest individuals.

    The most famous, David Beckham, faces Ferguson at San Siro on Tuesday when he hopes to help Milan dash his former club’s Champions League ambitions. Still close to Beckham, Harrison will watch on television.
    “It’s a bit cold in Milan but I’m going over in the spring,” said the 72-year-old who was also responsible for producing Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers.

    Together that group reached successive FA Youth Cup finals in 1992 and 1993 before collecting full sets of senior medals after bursting into Ferguson’s first team. Small wonder they banded together to give Harrison a wonderfully generous gift – details of which he wants to keep private – when he retired as United’s full-time youth coach 12 years ago.
    “But they were all frightened of me, they had to be,” says a man who learnt much about psychology playing for Brian Clough at Hartlepool. “I had to make them scared. In the first team they were going to have to cope with Sir Alex Ferguson – and Roy Keane. Anyway, I’m ashamed to say I’ve always been a very, very bad loser and I did sometimes give them the hairdryer treatment. Occasionally I had to apologise.

    “One Saturday morning my wife came and watched us train before going shopping. ‘You’re a disgrace,’ she said. ‘The way you treat those kids.’ I had to explain there was method in the madness and, if I wasn’t like that, it was going to be very, very difficult when they began playing for Sir Alex and found themselves on the wrong side of him. They needed mental courage.”

    It was tough love but Harrison’s man management was far from one-dimensional. In an important departure from convention he devoted several hours a week to talking to each boy individually. Moreover, at a time when some increasingly regimented coaches frowned on self-expression, he actively encouraged on-pitch improvisation.
    “Youth coaching is 10% about kicks up the backsides and 90% about arms round the shoulders,” he said. “You have to let boys use their imaginations and relax. You can’t play good football if you’re tense – but you can be relaxed and hard-working.

    “We worked hard on team play. Some youth coaches don’t do it but I was preparing them for Manchester United’s first team and they needed to learn football wasn’t all about glory on the ball.

    “The group became so close and had such strong telepathy Sir Alex and I decided to keep them together playing Under-18 football for an extra year. We wanted to really bond them – and eventually they went virtually straight into the first team having played very few reserve games.

    “They had unbelievable desire, fed off each other’s energy and were all totally dedicated. Not one of them ever got into trouble with drink, drugs or anything. To get such magnificent players together at the same time was incredible. Coaching them was fantastically exciting.”
    Yet when the first team beckoned, Harrison counselled modesty. “I told them to just give the ball to Eric Cantona because he would always take it in the tightest spots,” he said. “I think they really blossomed when Eric left.”

    No one bloomed quite like Beckham. “I still don’t look on David as a global superstar I just see a very, very nice man who has been very good to me,” reflects Harrison, a regular visitor to Madrid during Beckham’s Real days. “But it’s not a fluke David has played for three of the world’s biggest clubs.

    “It’s about 100% talent – David has really got the X factor – plus respect. David has always respected, and commanded the respect of, his team-mates and the fans.”

    Harrison regards respect as a two-way street. “I was a big believer in talking to young players one to one, telling them how incredibly talented they were and letting them know if they were going to play for the first team,” he said. “It was a massive motivation.

    “I’ll always remember asking Paul Scholes how he was doing and, typical Paul, he gave me a one-word reply: ‘Alright.’ I said, ‘You’re doing more than alright, you’re going to play for the first team.’ The look on his face was amazing. Just seeing it light up was like winning the lottery.”

    I wonder what they clubbed together to get him. Bet it was more than a gold watch!

  10. CraigMc

    February 15, 2010 at 9:30 am

    @Red Ranter: Are we saying Mr Gill that accumulating 700 million quids worth of debt is ok, as long as we are winning the league? So what happens when we STOP winning said PL, because some club who has no debts, eg – Shitty and Chelsea jump in for all the top players because they have money to burn? Also keep on the way we are, selling off our best players, because money talks – and worse still not being able to afford to replenish our team with the players Fergie really wants – because of said debt – well says it all really doesn’t it. I would settle for it, IF Gill and Fergie would just come out and tell the fucking truth for a change, instead of keep fudging the issue – all the “I don’t see any value in the market” Fergie quotes are total bullshit, and we all know it. Well we do IF we have got a brain cell left in our heads 🙄 .

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