Glazers, Gill, Some Red Knights and Lots of Lies

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One more phrase I wanted to add to the title [but thought it would make it too long and unwieldy] was ‘some perspective’. The Times reports that Manchester United’s bonds are among the worst performing in a ‘benign’ market.

But more distressing was David Gill’s comments, earlier this week, calling United fans’ protests ‘ridiculous’.

Here’s a sample:

“I would appeal to the fans to be sensible and get behind the team,” he said. “We are a very well-run club and given what’s happening at other clubs, people should be proud of what’s happening at Manchester United. It [a protest] serves no purpose and it won’t change a thing. [Milan] will be a tough game and we can’t afford for the fans not to be there. Let’s not have ridiculous protests of that nature.”

Now for a person who gets paid over a million pounds a year it’s only expected that he would toe the party line. However, to show utter disdain, treating a decision taken by the supporters (with much deliberation) like it never really mattered, shows a complete lack of understanding of ground realities. What makes this shocking is he was opposed to the takeover in 2005.

Gill hasn’t been alone in this. Ferguson expressed similar sentiments a week back.

This, however, brings up a wider concern for United fans (and football fans in general): how does one really succeed in overthrowing a regime bent upon sucking the life blood out of the club, first and foremost, and then worry about on-field success almost as an afterthought? The official line trotted out will obviously point to a period of sustained success since the Glazer takeover. But supporters were opposed to the takeover when it happened back then and now — success or not. Where other fans embraced foreign ownership from day one (refer: Liverpool), United fans — the vast majority — have vehemently opposed the takeover. Once the hostile takeover happened, it gave most of us little choice but to give them the benefit of the doubt — the alternative being to sit grumbling along as United swept all that was before us on the pitch. And for a while the murmurs died down to a whimper.

Success can do that.

Things have changed now, and I wouldn’t want to go into how this happened, because that part has been done to death over the course of this season. The protests — the green and gold campaign — have grown out organically and caught every United fan’s fancy: this is, by the way, a wonderful thing that must be celebrated. The protest planned ahead of the Milan game is obviously a stand against the Glazers, not the team. Even a half-wit, who chances upon back pages of broadsheets in England, would get that much. How hard is it for someone supposedly astute as David Gill to grasp this?

But setting aside David Gill’s comments, where do these protests leave us now? Nowhere really. We as fans can voice our displeasure, scream at the top of our voices, unfurl LUHG banners, at the risk of getting frisked away by stewards, but the status quo will remain for a while at least. Fans under single ownership like the Glazer regime have little leverage until they decide to vote with their feet. But that would go against the grain of being a supporter. The principle is to support the team regardless of the goings on in the board room. Everyone giving up season tickets [hypothetically assuming it would create the first series of semi-populated Old Trafford matches in the league next season] would be counter-productive to the team we so love.

Voting with our feet is a cliched and idealistic solution simply because football is an addiction. The owners know fully well that fans put up with a lot of shit to support their club. No one in their right minds would put up with so much exploitation in any other sphere of life. It’s what make this a unique situation. Indeed, every fan has a tipping point, when he realizes he’s had enough of this. I know a lot of United fans who have already given up their season tickets after being OT regulars for over 20 years. But would a league title at the end of this season, wash over this new-found enthusiasm among fans to protest against the ownership? We’ll need to wait till May for that.

But what of a supporter-backed buyout of the club? This is once again tricky because, regardless of the money supporters raise to buy out the club, [which, by the way, is a tall ask considering its value] how much more does one have to put into the running of the club? How well can one trust the new representatives [presumably elected by supporters] to efficiently run the club? Ok, don’t answer that: supporters love the club, surely they’ll run it well, no? Well, then refer to Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia — all victims of fiscal mismanagement throughout their history; all supporter-run. I don’t mean to pour cold water over this endeavour, mind. My personal opinion: supporter-run football clubs would work if the club is not in debt after a buyout. And I honestly hope this solution somehow works out for us [magically, I would presume].

Finally we come to the idea of the ‘Red Knights’ mooted lately, which is really a mysterious consortium of ‘United fans’ who want to buy out our club from the Glazers. One of them is the owner of Bet Fred, a betting company, and he is supposedly a United fan.

Now I won’t have a problem with this kind of a takeover if I am convinced they will run United as well a business as (or better than) the Glazers, without sucking the amount of money the Glazers did. But these people are investors at the end of the day. I am not prepared to believe they won’t look for a sizeable return on investment.

In our efforts to drive the Glazers away we should be really careful to whom we handover the ownership. Which is why a proper understanding of the plans of future investors need to be calmly heard out. New owners — who are not the Glazers — don’t automatically translate into brilliant owners; refer Portsmouth. Which is why I would ask all supporter associations [if you are all reading this] to investigate the background of any other potential investors to ensure they have the best interests of the club at heart to the extent that:

1. yes, they might have a profit motive, but they won’t saddle the club with unmanageably large debts;
2. they would reinvest a bulk of the profits (if not all) back into the squad.

But despite all this, it’s ridiculously hard to judge intent of ownership. And it’s even more difficult to dislodge an existing ownership.

Supporters of most Premier League clubs these days, sadly, are stuck between a ditch and a dirty puddle where owners continue to spray muck on their faces [in the form of annually increased ticket prices] without a semblance of accountability. And despite media and public sentiment more sympathetic to these paying supporters, there’s very little one can ultimately do in the face of privately owned establishments other than hope they get sold to someone more understanding. Small mercies…

Some good reads:

United Rant: 10 Point Plan to Oust Glazers and Lies, Damn Lies, and David Gill

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130 Comments

  1. @Red Ranter: Oh and late me thank you for that also RR. Unlike some of the guys who have been nasty on here, this guy was just irritating like Nile Virus mosquito. πŸ˜†

  2. @Johnsom33: Really has to go down as one of the dumbest idiots to have ever appeared on the blog. It’s like he felt like the Teflon Don John Gotti. Nothing he does will get him in trouble and no punishment would ever stick. Now he is forever in Purgatory wondering in his pea sized brain just what the Heck happened here and why? What a berk! πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

  3. @Redrich: I think 4-5-1 is working for us and Rooney seems to be playing well in it. With Owen out of form and Berbatov favoring his leg, I think Fergie will choose to send Scholes, Fletcher, Carrick, Park and Nani out there again. Maybe he will try Nani on the left side for a change and bring on Valencia to see how the two of them do at the same time. Can Nani continue his impressive form on the left side?

  4. @Redrich: Good for him but I honestly have doubts whether he will be healthy enough to be a part of the England contingent. I suffer from a chronic bad back and his condition will probably only go away with surgery, and there are no guarantees either. Can he complete the rest of the season and early England training without going down? I still think Rooney or Gerrard would have been smarter choices.

  5. @Grognard: I don’t take pleasure terminating people. It just annoys me when people don’t get simple instructions. I don’t have a problem with people who genuinely make an effort to write even if they write poorly. People like Scot know fully well how to write and choose to intentionally write like that and actually get a kick out of it.

    It’s a strange world. πŸ˜•

    Also, to everyone, he’s gone. So, let there be no name-calling here. Let’s move on to better things, eh?

  6. @Johnsom33: I think many people just move on to other things. Life and stuff, I guess. Who knows? The internet is usually full of people who are always on the lookout for content. So there’s always a chance people jump from one place to another.

  7. I am not the most articulate just Jimscot whatever his name made me look like Wordsworth, thank God he has gone.

  8. Also it is the anniversary of the Munich air disaster we lost 23 people on that flight, lets hope the boys do the business today.

  9. @Stephen: What do you mean ‘he has gone’? Surely he has not been banned for being a bit lippy and Scot’s crazy???

  10. @Red Ranter: I don’t agree with his gone-ness! Just because he doesn’t write the Queens English – jeez! πŸ™„ Whatever became of just ignoring folk who take the piss eh? Too much over-sensitivity in the world today.

  11. @Grognard: You mean Gerrard the physical harmer, who rough’s up a DJ for not playing a disc he wanted played – that GBH fucker – no thanks! Hargo would have been perfect for that job IF he had been fit Groggy!

  12. @Johnsom33: Mmmmmm nobody should get banned for the way they express themselves mate. If he is a rah-rah boy – so what?, most of the United party liners are the same. Scot doesn’t express it so eloquently as them, but I think he was probably seeking just to PISS off all the bloggers here who gave him a hard time, and became all sanctimonious on him. It worked as well, you finally got him banned.

  13. @CraigMc: Sounds like it bro, I hope Nani starts again on the right I do feel for Valencia but Nani is the guy in possession of the shirt and he should keep it. People say Nani should start on the right to let Valencia play why? Nani has been played out of position there so why should Valencia if he has to play.

  14. I am chuffed for Rio he does deserve it, but I do question his fitness making a player captain he has real injury worries is a risk but I am pleased that Terry has been stripped. He is a scumbag and a bad ambassador foe English football, we have a bad rep around the World enough as it is and this is the best for the good of the game in our country.

  15. I gotta say, this Merseyside derby has been firery so far, to say the least! 😈 The sparks are flying, loving the temper.

    Some very dangerous tackles though…

  16. @CraigMc: Its not over sensitivity, it was his refusal to write coherent post. Start from his post on this page, then look at his post when he us defending himself. He is more than capable of writing in a clear manner. I wasn’t the only one to mention it, hell I wasn’t even the first, but he didn’t care. RedRanter warned him, and he basically laughed in his face. How you are defending this guy is beyond me.

    Grognard put it best “good riddance to bad rubbish”

  17. @CraigMc: Fair point Craig but you have always been a bit too tolerant a person from my point of view, where I am probably too much of a whiner from yours. Seriously though mate, he was irritating as Hell for a number of reasons. First, you could barely make out what he was saying. Secondly, he had a “fuck you” attitude towards people who politely asked him to write better and be clearer with his thoughts. Thirdly, he offered sweet fuck all to the proceedings.

    I admit to being an elitist and although this is not my blog, I take pride in this blog for it’s content, it’s administration and mostly the attempt by most on here to offer intelligent and stimulating banter and debate. When one cannot form two sentences properly and when all he does is a really poor imitation of a high school female cheerleader, well lets just say, this blog deserves better. I like to think I am fair but that doesn’t mean that when an annoying fly is buzzing around my vicinity and won’t go away, that I won’t get the fly swatter or my can of Raid and end my misery. He was just a teenager and unfortunately, not all teens who come on to this blog are as fun, interesting, intelligent and as likable as Eddy. Like I said yesterday, good riddance to bad rubbish. I will miss the Gaelic though………NOT. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  18. @CraigMc: Another fair point. I totally forgot about that Gerrard incident. You got me. Scrap him too. Hargo would have been a no brainer except for two things. He is always injured and secondly, I don’t care what England thinks, that boy is Canadian and a Canadian born player should never be captain of England much like a foreign born American can never be President of the USA. It just aint cricket mate. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Now as for captain, the two other choices would be Rooney or Lampard. Both great players and staples in the first squad, and both leaders. I honestly cannot think of a better leader or flag carrying Englishman than Wayne Rooney. Rooney should have been named captain for United and England well over a year ago as far as I am concerned.

  19. @CraigMc: You often have a similar attitude to him Craig. The difference is that you are also capable of some humility, a great sense of humor and your thoughts and beliefs on the game you share and in the process allows us to notice your passion and enthusiasm is coupled with intelligence as well. Call us sanctimonious but not all of us like to be surrounded by drunken stupid bastards at a game who belch and spill beer down our backs in the middle of a deluge of swearing and screaming. Personally I think there are more than enough cheerleader blogs on the Internet to attract and appreciate the likes of Scotjimland. Again, I’d like to think that this blog which is a top ten blog for United supporters has attempted to be something more. Many who come on here for the first time comment on how they enjoy the intelligence and well informed debating on this blog compared to others. Many who rarely comment also claim to continually read this blog even if they are too shy to comment themselves on a regular basis. Why? Because we are not a trash rag blog like “Shoot” that offers nothing of intelligence to readers but pictures and cheerleading. We are like “Four Four Two. The scholars choice for the football purist and for the intelligent football enthusiast. There is no shame in being elitist even if that is not RR’s aim with this blog. I love this place because of the members we have who have something concrete and interesting to say. Otherwise, why waste time reading the juvenile rantings of drunk cheerleader?

  20. @Johnsom33: I support everyone’s right to express themselves in the way they want – even if the way they express themselves does get up some peoples NOSES! ScotJim used to write his posts ok, until some folk started giving him aggravation, then he hit back by playing silly devils with you all. I think that folk should just ignore him if he gets to you – I do πŸ™‚ .

  21. @Grognard: As far as I remember, he was pissed off with the naysayers, and yes he is a rah-rah party liner, who doesn’t like his team being criticised I suspect. So when he took some flak on the blog, he decided to hit back with silly inuendo’s and Celtic idioms and expressions. I don’t think any United blog should be ELITIST, because United fans come from all walks of life and educational levels. If we don’t like some folks ways of blogging, just ignore them and chat with someone else – only exception to this rule should be if the person gets personally abusive – which ScotJim wasn’t. The one time people thought he was, he quickly apologised!

  22. just my opinion, but the banning of ScotJimland was harsh, i totally agree with Craig on this. I’m sorry, but Orwells Thought Police comes to mind

  23. @phoenix red: πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† – hate to reveal my ignorance Phoenix, but who are Orwell’s thought police mate? Please enlighten me, because it’s the 1st time I heard of them πŸ™‚ .

  24. @CraigMc: If you don’t know what the Orwell thought Police is, try reading 1984. An excellent book that in many ways predicted our modern day surveillance society. Though it’s not as bad as the book predicted just yet πŸ™‚

    It’s about a society where free thought and speech is not allowed and the thought police monitor everything everyone does thorugh two way TV Screens.

    Regarding the banning of scotjimland I agree with you that it was maybe a little harsh, but then again he broke the blogs comments policy several times and made it quite clear that he didn’t intend to ever follow it either.

    Heres a quote from the comments policy:

    Text messaging (sms) lingo: Similarly never β€” and by this I mean, never β€” use text messaging (sms) lingo. So, for example, a comment that’s entirely written like, β€œmkl carrick iz da cool plyr, mez thinkz” or too much β€œroflmao or lols” would be outrightly deleted. No second thoughts. Use smileys. They convey emotions much better. We don’t mind the occasional β€œlol’s” or β€œrofl’s” but too much of that and we’ll start getting annoyed.

    Based on this RR first warned him that such language is not allowed on this blog. A warning that he made quite clear that he didn’t give a flying f**k about, and by his actions he really gave RR no choice but to ban him.

  25. @NorwegianDevil: Thanks for understanding. I don’t enjoy banning people, and over the past few years I can count on my fingers the number of regular commenters who’ve been banned.

    And secondly, freedom of speech extends to the public domain where you as a taxpaying citizen is allowed to express yourself freely. When it comes to a site which is privately owned, you have to play by the house rules. And I’ve never actually constrained people from expressing themselves freely (even allowed most of you to veer freely off topic) as long as you are coherent and not make it difficult for people to understand intentionally.

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