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All Things Footie | Monday, May 16 | Jordan

Ups and Downs II

Two things to talk about today. Firstly, I’ll start with the positive—good on you West Brom. I’m chuffed for the baggies for so many reasons: defying the odds, staying up because they were bold enough to play some decent football and win games rather than just ground out draws for the closing months trying not to lose; and last but not least, for showing a true display of footballing support yesterday. Scenes of mass pitch invasions (in joy rather than anger) have been a rare sight in the Premiership, and that just makes them all the more emotional and stirring when they do happen. It tweaked my cynical old heart-strings to see the crowds of jubilant Albion fans boing-boing-ing around the pitch after the final whistle yesterday; even the police couldn’t be arsed trying to control them. For all the big-money glamour of Chelsea, for all the mercurial-swagger of Arsenal, for all the bitterness and anger of United; it was truly wonderful to have a day belonging to a good honest team whose fans couldn’t have been happier had they won the European Cup.

With the joy comes sadness of course, and I really felt for Nigel Worthington and Iain Dowie—two managers who came to the premiership with the right attitude, and who’ve overseen clubs who’ve been a credit to the top league over the last nine months admirably. It’s a cliché, but it’s a shame anyone had to go down this year, and I’d rather have a Palace or a Norwich in the Premiership than a side of useless cloggers like Blackburn.

The rest of the fixtures on the final day were pretty uch immaterial, with the slight exception of the head-to-head battle for the UEFA cup spot between Manchester City and Middlesbrough. I wanted City to win that one, partly because I like Stuart Pearce and partly because the only thing duller than Steve McLaren are Middlesbrough’s away performaces. The game did teach Stuart Pearce one important lesson though; never trust Robbie Fowler. The biggest bottler in football with all his heart having left the game the day he left Liverpool; I’d have given that penalty to Danny Mills over him. Given his impact on the season so far however, I’d have let Shaun-Wright Phillips step up for it.

On to topic number 2: Malcolm Glazier.

I’ve talked about this before, and frankly, I’m sick of whinging United fans and I have a message to them all: Your club IS a PLC (which means that members of the public are able to buy bits of it), this means you can make a lot of money issuing shares (which you have, and used it to become the richest club in the world) but opens you up to the market where anyone (yes, ANYONE) can buy a piece of you, as large or as small as he/she can afford. Malcolm Glazier has gotten together enough money to buy pretty much all of you. Tough shit if you don’t like it, I haven’t seen you complaining about the money it brought in to the club from 1991 onwards.

Maybe Glazier is just going to use United as a useful revenue stream; after all, it’s a very profitable business, and could make him a lot of money. Maybe he’ll use them to shift his debts onto and use essentially as a guarantee on his loans (making United and all assets potentially reposessable if he defaults on any loans), or maybe he’s just having a bit of fun.

This is a lesson to all the clubs that have listed, or are thinking about listing, on public investment markets: do it at your own peril. If bad things happen to United (they end up groundsharing with Altrincham at Moss Lane, or packing up and leaving á la MK Dons) then it will not ‘be the end of football as we know it’ as many United Supporters Groups are trying to ram down our throats; it will merely be the sorry end of a club who saw profits and money before football, and in this author’s opinion it will be no disaster but a fitting end to a club obsessed with branding, marketing and making money.

I have one wholly hypothetical and mildly ridiculous question for united fans that I’d be genuinely interested in hearing the answer to:

(31) Comment(s) | Permanent link to this article

# Posted by Blogger Badger at 3:14 PM
What a last day. I personally won't be missing Norwich as im fed up of Worthing-whats-his-name saying that his team plays football. What absolute twaddle!!! They smack it long and high to Ashton, thats all!! Well done to te boing boing baggies, it's always nice to see a midlands team do well. Bet Adrian Chiles was absolutely loving it.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 8:07 PM
One of the things I really appreciate at Arsenal is the way the baord runs the club. David Dein and co never stretch beyond the clubs needs but are forward thinking and have the club's best interest at heart rather than financial gain. As long as we keep it that way we'll propser as a result and not be open to any old investor to come, especially those buying the club effectivly with it's own money as Glazier is doing by transfering his debts to the club.

Old saying live by the sword...
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3:49 PM
'99 was the greatest football season of my life, I along with many other united fans in the aftermath of Barcelona proclaimed never to care if we win anything again. Sadly, this looks likely to come to pass. However, I wouldn't swap the sheer eletion of that season for anything.

Yes Glazer is a tosser but as you say those 3 letters plc, meant this day was always going to come. Manchester united have been an extremely successful business for a long time now and the man's a Billionaire, I'm sure he doesn't want to lose money. If he can keep the business side ticking over nicely then the football side, hopefully, will be unaffected. Hey we've been the 3rd best team in the league for the past two years, things can only can't better can't they?!?
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 2:23 AM
Just curious, but how do people in England really feel about some Yank buying up what may be the most beloved (bandwagon fans included, unfortunately) footy team in England. Some media places such as the Guardian seem to right pissed about it and even some of the papers here in the States have noted the seemingly foul mood. How much of that is legit and how much is just media crap?
# Posted by Blogger Jordan at 8:56 AM
Put it like this, I've heard a scurrilous rumour that there'll be a giant star spangled banner at cardiff this saturday.

There's no 'anti-america' feeling as far as I can tell. It's much more personal, Glazier effigies were burnt outside old trafford last week. There's a definite feeling of hatred towards him from many united fans as they fear he'll run the club into the ground.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12:18 AM
Well, I know us Yanks don’t have the best world image at the moment. Still, I have to say that I don’t think most fans will really see that much of a change, at least on the pitch. Glazer does suck as a person, but he did spend when it mattered to win his American Football team a Super Bowl Championship. That has to say something.

Fans will spend more at the gate, however. But, I think most teams are going to start that up, as sport become more and more of a business the world over. Let’s face it; if teams are going to throw millions of dollars (pounds) at 21 year olds, someone has to pay for it. The sums these days are just too large.

Great site, by the way.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9:45 AM
The only thing that Man Utd fans can complain about is the debt that the take over wil bring. Many fans have forgotten or simply do not understand what a PLC actually is. I was watching Sky sports news the other day and this tosser was shouting "Manc not yank" reperatedly to the camera.....i felt sorry for him as the the previous largest shareholders were in fact Irish!!! Alas schooling must not be a string point up there, ha ha.
# Posted by Blogger Jordan at 9:51 AM
No just Irish, but Irish and half Arsenal fans.

That said, they are consistent, the United fans didn't approve of them owning half the club either.

It's odd that many fans are protesting against being taken over (and taken to Private Ownership by Glazier), and yet in a sense they're protesting against PLC-dom too. Can't please these united fans can you?

Maybe the frustration is inevitable when you finish 3rd, 1st, 3rd, 3rd in the league; glazier just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wonder if the protestations would be as loud if United had won the league this year?
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9:46 AM

Well MAn Utd have spent an exceedinglylarge amount of money over the last few years and have nothing to show for it. If they do not win the league next year , can they really say that they are the No: 1 team in the premiership? Are those glory days behind them?

Who knows, but the premiership is getting more interesting since their domination stopped. Other questions posed are:
Will Arsenal ever win back to back titles?

Is the bottom of the league more exciting than the top?

Should we limit the number of foreign players in the first team?

Will Roy Keane ever cheer up?
# Posted by Anonymous Brooklyn Yank at 8:28 PM
I don't think Keane is too happy today!
# Posted by Blogger Football Commentator at 3:04 PM
this is going to affect the play of the team. Nobody will say it, but it will.

Its such a shame to see this happening. Football is a game, Glazer bring too much reality into it. And its your money he wants.
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