Tax Justice Network turns into socialists of the national type

Their latest project is how much foreign money is there in British football?

No, really, from their report:

Our research looked at the annual returns of all 134 teams in the professional football leagues of Scotland and England. We sought to discover how many had a significant ownership from offshore, which we defined as offshore companies owning more than 10% of the shares in the club.
We then sought to find out, by looking of the annual reports of the clubs with offshore ownership how much money was invested in the club from offshore sources in the from of equity and loans. We ranked the teams using an index that took account of how much finance they had coming from offshore and the location of the companies providing the money.
In total our research uncovered £3bn in offshore finance in the UK’s professional leagues. This finance was found in 34 of the teams investigated, or just about one in every four teams. All levels of football were represented, although clubs more heavily reliant on offshore finance tended to be in the English Championship and Premiership.

How dare those filthy wops and dagos come spend their money in our country?

Nothing like putting the national back into socialism, is there?

95 comments on “Tax Justice Network turns into socialists of the national type

  1. This kind of stuff might strike a chord with people disillusioned with the games after 2 decades of Sky lucre fuelled excess… if it weren’t for the fact that the likes of Murphy (who seems to have reconciled at least partly with TJN after his acrimonious departure) also want to impose a maximum salary and team salary caps on football clubs – try telling fans of the top six teams they will never be able to compete in the Champions’ League again. As it is, as you say just exposes the rather parochial nature of the likes of the TJN. Their inability to think through second level consequences is well-known and can be witnessed in practically every comment piece on the Guardian website at any given time.

  2. So incoming investment is now tax evasion?

    A foreigner putting his money where his mouth is and buying a footy club is offshore finance (and we all know that is just this side of rape and murder). Daft investment IMHO but hell, lovely to have somebody else propping the whole thing up.

    Where the bloody hell is a foreigner going to have his bloody money?

    Parochial is certainly the world. Little Englanders of a different type.

  3. All fucking stupid indeed. And yet at least one member of that little gang, Colin Hines, wishes to have the same restrictions on the movement of workers. This blog seems terribly quiet about that. Nationalists and Socialists are Nationalists and Socialists; we shouldn’t spare any of their blushes.

  4. Started to read their report and stopped when I read that selling a business in the uk triggers a tax liability whereas selling a cayman island company dosent

    Clearly they have never heard of the uk substantial shareholding exemption

  5. All true and good.

    But there is no doubt that the likes of Abramovic are buying respectability with stolen cash, and I would be hardly surprised if behind the scenes there is all sorts of nefarious stuff going on which is unlikely to be for the furtherment of the best interests of the man on the clapham proverbial.

    So a mixed blessing at best, but, of course pecuniam non olet…

  6. Who says Abramovich is using stolen cash?

    Yes it might be my view. The Russian President, however, disagrees with me. And that president has given Russia back it’s “pride” and is very popular. So…

  7. He really is on top form today.

    He is no longer the No 1 UK blog, he is now the world’s leading blogger:

    “There isn’t a blogger on earth who manages just one significant post in a day and gets stats like these: If my thoughts help sway the argument in any way that’s good enough for me.”

    He finally realises the Fairytale Tax Mark is rubbish:

    “I am pleased to see the Fair Tax Mark getting the recognition it deserves. ”

    Oops, my mistake; he’s not referring to the ridicule its received, but the in-depth economic analysis by the Greens:

    “Caroline Lucas has been a keen supporter and I and the whole Fair Tax Mark team are grateful for that whilst remaining strictly apolitical”

  8. But there is no doubt that the likes of Abramovic are buying respectability with stolen cash, and I would be hardly surprised if behind the scenes there is all sorts of nefarious stuff going on which is unlikely to be for the furtherment of the best interests of the man on the clapham proverbial.

    Indeed, but the time to investigate, report, and oppose that is at the time he bought the club, not a decade later. But all our wonderful media could do is fall over themselves with excitement as they speculated which superstars he would buy first.

  9. GlenDorran

    As Tim says – it’s Poe’s Law – the post on the Green Party taxation policy is arguably worthy of a fisking (Tim, you may want to check it out) even in of itself. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone, (and I follow or have seen some truly crazed individuals on Twitter) so acutely unaware of their own ridiculousness.

    I think it was one of the various blokes (one of the sensible ones) who compared him with Roderick Spode, the P.G Wodehouse character – it really is apt. He is the Roderick Spode of the internet age.

  10. ‘If my thoughts help sway the argument in any way that’s good enough for me’

    He’s comedy gold.

  11. As someone who refuses.to forget the miserable experience thay was pre-Sky football, I for one am not at all disillusioned. I share my sentiment with the millions of Sky and BT customers, their revealed preferences speak eloquently to their sentiment. I love watching those foreign players and I am delighted to welcome the foreign money that, at least in part, makes it possible.

    P.S. Russians are lunatics and I am not the guardian of their souls.

  12. I seem to recall that a few years ago the big sin was foreigners taking money out of british football.

    Now it seems that foreigners putting money into British football is the great evil.

    Make your bloody minds up.

  13. Ironman

    Amen to that – and I speak as someone who greatly enjoyed myself at the time in the 1980s with the pre-Sky era. However, if anyone seriously wants to put that genie back in the bottle – good luck attempting that. Might as well ask Murphy to write a reasoned blogpost or Arnald to come in with a comment here which isn’t offensive – no chance.

  14. I wonder what the LHTD and the TJN make of Sheik Mansour’s bankrolling of Manchester City? Maybe the Sheik is the “wrong sort” of Muslim.

  15. It’s the standard middle-class hatred of football which is the rage these days. Ten years ago at least they pretended to be into it, but the strain must have been unbearable. Think of all the pressures against liking it:

    1. Shown on Sky
    2. Played by working class men, most of whom haven’t been to university
    3. Watched mostly by working class men, most of whom haven’t been to university
    4. Footballers don’t appear to be obsessed with diversity, climate change and sexism.

  16. Rob

    I’ve always hated football (actually, the game itself isn’t bad – it’s the cretins who play and watch it – talking en masse, of course – and particularly those who commentate on it).

    I always hated those who pretended to like it more, though. Tony Blair and Jackie Milburn was the high point, I think.

    By the way, can someone explain why the blanket statement about 150 million people ‘Russians are lunatics’ isn’t somehow ‘racist’?

  17. “He is the Roderick Spode of the internet age”

    Not quite, though he may be a wannabe.

    A mix of Spode and Pooter maybe.

  18. “Football could certainly do with a sense of humour, and a sense of perspective.”

    Possibly, but compared to the SJWs football is a visionary Oscar Wilde.

  19. Jack C

    Indeed – whilst the intellectual content and mannerisms (over-weening self regard, inability to take criticism and utter humourlessness) reminiscent of Spode – he hasn’t taken to wearing a distinctive uniform yet. I have to say the Pooter reference is spot on – Indeed in a more robust intellectual culture, most people would consider Murphy’s utterances at ‘Tax Research UK’ more befitting of the title ‘Musings of a nobody’ – what a ghastly little man he is.

  20. Abramovich and Mourinho should have received lifetime bans for what they did to Anders Frisk.

    That having been said, I seem to recall a few years ago it was really only the Glazers who were pilloried while the rest of the foreign owners were more or less ignored, which I always figured was down to the Glazers’ being American.

    (Not that I’m a fan of the Glazers: I root for Bayern München, and here in the US, they’ve been pretty dire in the way they’ve run Tampa Bay in the NFL.)

  21. @Ted

    I don’t think it was down to the Glazers being septics – others have been involved at other clubs and received less of the opprobrium (eg Aston Villa) – but because they involved themselves with Manchester United.

    Manchester United is for some a kind of cipher for the ‘beautiful game’ in England – romanticised largely because it’s northern (and therefore gritty and ‘real’), because a few of the players were once killed in a plane crash, because the selfish alcoholic jackass George Best played for them, and because their recent manager, the stupid alcoholic socialist ‘Sir’ Alex Ferguson, is regarded as some sort of latter day god by masochistic media simpletons who revelled in the fact that he hated them.

    Still, as I understand it, they’re better than Liverpool, a team of poseurs, rapists and imbeciles representing a city of layabouts, burglars and drug addicts and followed mostly by thugs, plastic Scousers, South African racists and people from places such as Thailand.

    I would drop soccer altogether and get into rugby – a game for men*. If you’re looking for a new team and can get UK sport on TV, I recommend Bath or, much as I hate to say it, Northampton – both playing the game beautifully at the moment. Internationally, the All Blacks are always good to watch.

    * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiIUeVsdeiw

  22. get into rugby – a game for men

    True (and that was a fantastic tackle from Lawes), but the red card for Nathan Hughes for accidentally knocking out George North was an indication of the recent nancifying of the game.

    And if we’re going for recommendations, I would say the best place of all to watch rugby is the Shed, at Kingsholm.

  23. Mr Interested-Ecks-SMFS

    You just stick to dreaming about underage girls with IanB mate.

    BTW: I don’t think ALL 150 million Russians are lunatics; it was for effect. By contrast you do believe what you have said in the past fortnight about muslims, Jews, non-whites.

    So I’m just a better person than you aren’t I.

  24. As I recall it, the Glazers were unpopular because they loaded the club with debt in order to pay for it. The fans wanted the money spent on players, blah blah.

  25. Glazers – more to do with the fact that they mostly “borrowed” (loads) to buy the club and the fans didn’t understand financial structures.

    They then proceeded to take out bucket loads of consultancy fees (and interest on the debt) from the profits. Again a lack of understanding of the concept of taking your (probable future) capital gain early; in that the reality was taking money out had zero impact on the capability of United’s day to day operations.

    The Glazers have actually not been anything like as bad as made out, in that – unlike a lot of owners – operationally they mostly just left it alone (day to day) and let it carry on being very successful (for both the fans and them).

    Interested: “I’ve always hated football”. Looks that way!

  26. Yep, “men” drop into the nearest joke shop to buy fake blood capsules so they can con a referee. Ooh so manly.

    Right: There isn’t a top class sportsman in any physical sport I would regard as less than manly – have you ever stood up close to Bradley Wiggins or Tiger Woods? – the very idea that the shape of a ball somehow affects your manliness is… well, worthy of my friend Mr Interest-Ecks-SMFS.

    And how about “a city of layabouts, burglars and drug addicts and followed mostly by thugs, plastic Scousers, South African racists and people from places such as Thailand” I would be embarrassed; he has no embarrassment.

  27. @BiW

    ‘the red card for Nathan Hughes for accidentally knocking out George North was an indication of the recent nancifying of the game.’

    Very true – also the citing of Billy Vunipola. Both ended with the right verdict though obviously the Wasps red card was a disgrace. (I watched the game – I *think* the ref was in his third match, and looked about twelve so maybe that’s part of the explanation.)

    The whole concussion thing is worrying and actually apposite for this blog, being as it’s about a bunch of people who don’t play rugby trying to take away the freedom from grown men to decide for themselves whether they want to carry on playing. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there.

  28. @Witchsmeller

    ‘*because eye-gouging is such a desirable masculine trait.’

    Well, if we’re going to talk about people doing illegal things in sports we could be here all day. It’s a bit gay to bite someone’s ear off because you’re losing a boxing match, but I don’t see any of you girls telling Mike Tyson that.

    Let’s first accept that cheating happens in all sports – some dickhead above mentioned Bradley Wiggins ha ha ha – and then go on to make it a bit clearer: ‘Rugby is a game for men because the laws allow for and even require extreme violence, and even in this pussified world men remain better at violence than girls, boys and women and little Scouse African accountants called Neil’.

    Football is a game for girls – literally, it’s becoming the sport for women worldwide.

  29. Ironically a removal of foreign money (and as a result foreign stars/money grabbers) might actually improve the England football team. Because while England were never world beaters when they just had English/Welsh/Scots and Irish players in the top division, they did far better than they do today, where the top division is dominated by foreign players, each one putting a young native player out of a chance to shine. In the old days the top English teams went hunting for players at the lower levels and gave them a shot at the top. Now there’s zero chance for a decent young prospect to get picked up by a team in the top two thirds of the Premier League. Ian Rush went straight from Third Division Chester to Liverpool and was a first team regular in his second season aged 20/21.

    Thats never going to happen now. A similar prospect might get bought by a low level premier team, or a promotion hunting Championship team, and would spend a lot of time on the bench watching foreigners playing ahead of him. Look at Charlie Austin’s career. A prolific goal scorer from the day he first played league football for league 1 Swindon, scored goals for Burnley at the next level up, and now scores goals for struggling QPR in the Premier League. Not a chance of getting a move to a big club, no one is going to bring him in for £5-10m when they can spend £30m on a foreign ‘superstar’. And England lose out on the career of a potential international, because he’s spent his best years in the lower levels of football, kept off the top level by foreigners.

    Get rid of the foreign money and foreign players, bring English football back to its roots, it’ll be more fun to watch and you never know, possibly more successful internationally too.

  30. I wonder if the Tax Justice Network objects to the foreign ownership of the Independent or the offshore connections of the Guardian.

  31. @ Interested – Even the laws of rugby don’t allow the practice of eye-gouging. It’s a spiteful, dangerous thing to do, not at all manly. But quite prevalent in the sport.

    Footballers might be overpaid drama queens but precious few of them set out to blind their fellow professionals.

  32. Jim

    Get rid of the foreign money and foreign players, bring English football back to its roots…

    never know, possibly more successful internationally

    quite possibly

    it’ll be more fun to watch

    doubt it!

  33. @Jim

    Because while England were never world beaters when they just had English/Welsh/Scots and Irish players in the top division, they did far better than they do today

    England failed in 1974 and 1978 to even qualify for the World Cup, let alone win it. Don’t remember too many foreigners in the game at that time.

  34. @Witchsmeller

    ‘@ Interested – Even the laws of rugby don’t allow the practice of eye-gouging. It’s a spiteful, dangerous thing to do, not at all manly. But quite prevalent in the sport.’

    Fucking hell. I know the laws don’t allow it, which is why I began my response as follows:

    ‘Well, if we’re going to talk about people doing illegal things in sports we could be here all day… Let’s first accept that cheating happens in all sports…’

    Eye-gouging happens – but then so does biting and spitting and pulling hair and kicking people in association football – but it’s not ‘quite prevalent’.

    I started playing rugby 30 years ago, and it’s never happened to me (and I’ve certainly never done it). I can remember one incident (there may be others I’ve forgotten) and the guy responsible was sent off and then kicked out of his club.

  35. here in the US, they’ve been pretty dire in the way they’ve run Tampa Bay in the NFL

    They won the Superbowl though, didn’t they? Most premiership fans would forgive a foreign owner slaughtering their firstborn if it wins them a trophy. Unless they’re used to winning, that is.

  36. I would drop soccer altogether and get into rugby – a game for men*. If you’re looking for a new team and can get UK sport on TV, I recommend Bath or, much as I hate to say it, Northampton – both playing the game beautifully at the moment.

    The problem with that is someone new to the game and with no connection to English towns would watch SuperXVs before any of the Northern Hemisphere stuff. The way the Kiwis and some of the Saffer teams play in that is incredible.

  37. Because while England were never world beaters when they just had English/Welsh/Scots and Irish players in the top division, they did far better than they do today, where the top division is dominated by foreign players, each one putting a young native player out of a chance to shine.

    Nah, sorry. There are still plenty of Englishmen playing top-flight football and any which is any good – Gareth Bale, for example – gets noticed, picked, and sold to a massive club. The reason foreign players do very well in England, and why England doesn’t do well internationally, is because English players are simply not very good. Some do well in the unique circumstances of the Premier League, occasionally a few do well elsewhere, but the idea that talented English footballers are being denied a chance is laughable. I seem to remember this being studied once, and the conclusion was that English coaching techniques at youngster level are shite and don’t emphasise ball control.

  38. Now there’s zero chance for a decent young prospect to get picked up by a team in the top two thirds of the Premier League.

    Harry Kane? Raheem Stirling?

  39. There are still plenty of Englishmen playing top-flight football and any which is any good – Gareth Bale, for example – gets noticed, picked, and sold to a massive club.

    He’s Welsh.

  40. “…the conclusion was that English coaching techniques at youngster level are shite and don’t emphasise ball control.”

    Make that “British”and extend it to nearly all sports and you are on the money.

    When I was at school the football team* played on a full sized red blaes pitch with full sized goals. The young kids were just knackered by the time they’d run the full length of the pitch a couple of times and any shot roughly on target would beat a 4ft 8 goalkeeper.

    Add to that slightly psychotic parents screaming abuse at the kids to “hoof it up the park” and it’s no wonder that Scottish football has been so bad for so long.

    The idea that 8 year old kids should learn to play on a small pitch with small goals appropriate to their size was fiercely resisted by Scottish amateur coaches for years.

    The most enlightened coach ever to emerge from Scotland was Andy Roxburghe and he had to escape to Europe with his foreign-influenced ideas of ball control, practice and passing. His spell at the national team should be celebrated, given what he achieved with who he had available.

    *I was never any good at football, preferring woosy racket sports.

  41. So we have a clear cretin, who will not ever have been a high – level sportsman who thinks he’s adding to the discussion by disparaging the achievement of the winner of the Tour de France. A cretin who genuinely believes that footballers are nancified girls.

    But then this is the same cretin who has a problem with Jews, Muslims, non-whites of all sorts, women, Scouser, South Africans.

  42. Fortunately professionalism, and thus the risk of damaging someone else’s livelihood, has driven out much of the more disgusting “manliness” that used to spoil rugby.

    Let’s face it, all these sports are seriously tough, and the players can’t be held responsible for external factors (hooliganism, etc).

    Rugby does beat Football hands down in one way: no whining to or about the ref. In the former, you have to take setbacks “like a man”.

  43. You do genuinely believe that Neil and I are one and the same don’t you?
    I mean not as a joke, the way being linked with Mr Ecks and SMFS makes you very angry; you genuinely believe it.

  44. “Rugby does beat Football hands down in one way: no whining to or about the ref. In the former, you have to take setbacks “like a man”

    My friend is a PE teacher and referees both rugby and football. He says the same kids have completely different attitudes when playing different sports. In rugby it’s all “Am I back my yards sir? Am I offside sir?” He doesn’t get questioned for anything – his word is law. In football it’s all appeals for fouls, penalties and petty niggles – and it’s the exact same kids.

    I’m still surprised at how much authority and respect a good referee gets in rugby, even at the pro level.

  45. Oh, and on the subject of “manliness”:

    I stood a few back from Jonah Lomu in a queue at Heathrow years ago. He is an awe-inspiring specimen of a man. It’s mind boggling that so much bulk and muscle could sprint so fast and move so easily. And even more mind boggling that people half his weight would try to tackle him when he was in full stride.

  46. If you want a man’s game, play cricket. I played rugby and hated every minute of it – somehow I didn’t fancy the idea of men 50% heavier than me jumping on me at rucks or running straight through me when I failed to get out of the way.

  47. I’m still surprised at how much authority and respect a good referee gets in rugby, even at the pro level.

    A lot of that has to do with ground being hard won in rugby, whereas in football winning territory is irrelevant. So when the referee can award the opposition another 10m of territory for the slightest dissent, there tends to be none.

  48. Cricket
    Yes, that’s my point. The psychological pressures on a batsman…well, we’ve seen it haven’t we. And the physical stoicism of a long distance runner or a cyclist…

    Which is why references to “a man’s game” are so ridiculous.

  49. Glendorran,
    It’s allowed in football, but not rugby. Complaining to the ref gets an instant 10 yard penalty (or metres, or whatever).

    Further, there aren’t many goals in football, so you can usually plausibly maintain that you would have won had it not been for the ref, the other side cheating, etc. Like many things in life, offer an easy way out and us weak humans will take it.

  50. @TimN: good point and one I hadn’t even thought of. That’s why I should only comment on sports I know much about (tennis and golf)

  51. Football should do what Union does, and unashamedly pinch good ideas from League and elsewhere.

    Wanting to be appear The Best the whole time does nothing for Football’s development.

  52. @Tim Newman

    I disagree. It’s because they put up with dissent in football that they get it. Wouldn’t matter about territory if dissent in football got a yellow or red card and if lengthy bans followed repeat offences.

    Instead you get players surrounding referees and screaming in their faces ignored by the authorities.

  53. Dissent – agreed.

    10 minute (or more) instant sin bin would be a good punishment for the yellow in football. It’s more immediate. I’d get rid of penalties too – there’s far more playmanship simply because it’s “inside” the box. And have microphone on the officials like rugby, then it’s far easier for the ref to point the finger (to the sin bin) at the first hint of any dissent.

    You’re right, the 10 yards thing is less relevant, football has never been a territorial game. Will inlfluence the occasional free kick within range of goal, but nothing more.

    It won’t happen. It would need – don’t laugh – FIFA to act…

  54. Dissent in football is a disgrace. Yet it should only take a few weekends to deal with. Of course many matches over that time would degenerate into 7 v 8 a side lotteries, but that ought to enforce the lesson.

    Kids behave badly in football because they see the guys on screen behaving badly.

  55. @Witchsmeller

    ‘What about penis-biting? Is that manly? :)’

    Not really, but I think you’re missing the point, and it’s not even a very difficult point.

    Still, I’ll explain it again. Cheating happens in all sports – I can google soccer gayboys if you like, I’ll probably find all sorts? – so it’s really only sensible to discuss lawful play.

    In lawful play, when it comes to physicality, rugby has it and association football doesn’t.

  56. @Tim Newman

    ‘Nah, sorry. There are still plenty of Englishmen playing top-flight football and any which is any good – Gareth Bale, for example – gets noticed, picked, and sold to a massive club.’

    Isn’t Bale Welsh? In fact, aren’t YOU Welsh?

  57. “Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    England failed in 1974 and 1978 to even qualify for the World Cup”

    What’s really amazing to remember (given today’s seemingly never ending qualifying tournaments) is who the other teams were in England’s world cup qualifying group in 1974.

    Wales, Poland and……er…….that was it.

  58. @Jack C

    ‘Fortunately professionalism, and thus the risk of damaging someone else’s livelihood, has driven out much of the more disgusting “manliness” that used to spoil rugby.’

    That’s a very fair point, and actually the one I’ve been trying to make to the Witchsmeller.

    If you want to hurt someone in a game of rugby – and it is a game of physical confrontation and domination at heart – you can do it any number of ways legally.

  59. @Glen

    ‘I’m still surprised at how much authority and respect a good referee gets in rugby, even at the pro level.’

    They only get it because of the culture. Tim Newman mentions about ground being hard won but that’s really not it, at all. If referees didn’t march you back ten and yellow card you for dissent, there’d be a lot more backchat in rugby. Not as much as in football, because the people who play *tend* to be brighter and nicer people, but you;d get more than you do.

    @Rob
    ‘If you want a man’s game, play cricket. I played rugby and hated every minute of it – somehow I didn’t fancy the idea of men 50% heavier than me jumping on me at rucks or running straight through me when I failed to get out of the way.’

    It’s not for everyone, but look at people (just in the last decade or so) like Shane Williams, Austin Healey, Christian Wade, Kyle Eastmond – lots of little guys playing rugby at the highest level.

    You’re right about cricket – my hero was Malcom Marshall, with Lillee and Holding numbers two and three. I have faced county 2s-standard quicks, and that’s scary enough. The idea of coming up against Patrick Patterson at Sabina Park when he was slipping himself…

  60. It won’t happen. It would need – don’t laugh – FIFA to act…

    It would need FIFA to act in conjunction with IFAB, wouldn’t it?

  61. “Wales, Poland and……er…….that was it.”

    One of the dragging factors on English sport is the failure to give forrins the respect due. Hungary probably thought they’d taught us that in the 50″s, but sadly not.

    I mean, imagine losing to Poland? Okay, they went on to come 3rd in the World Cup, but, come on. It’s Poland.

    (In 1978 it was England or Italy to qualify, and we only lost on goal difference. Italy had been heard of, so not quite so embarrassing).

    And, of course, only 16 teams qualified then.

  62. It’s because they put up with dissent in football that they get it. Wouldn’t matter about territory if dissent in football got a yellow or red card and if lengthy bans followed repeat offences.

    Yes, but then it’s a case of the ref against 11 men. In rugby, once somebody gobbing off loses his own team 10m of hard-won territory, his own teammates are punching him! 🙂

  63. Isn’t Bale Welsh? In fact, aren’t YOU Welsh?

    Yeah, kind of. Living abroad you tend to fall into the habit of using “Englishmen” and “English” interchangeably with “British”.

  64. “One of the dragging factors on English sport is the failure to give forrins the respect due. ”

    Yeah, my dad still talks about the stunned amazement of the 130,000 Hampden crowd watching Real Madrid beat Eintrachrt Frankfurt 7-3 (he was there) courtesy of di Stefano and Puskas. The locals, used to Old Firm scraps, couldn’t believe the quality of football on display.

  65. “Yeah, kind of. Living abroad you tend to fall into the habit of using “Englishmen” and “English” interchangeably with “British”.”

    Careful, you’re about to get some weirdo CyberNats stalking you after that little revelation. Bleedin’ Englishman stealing OorOil.

  66. Lucky him, Glendorran.

    I often heard the argument, less so recently, that the European Championship was harder than the World Cup because there was no prospect of a gimme against some non-European nation you’d never heard of (say Uruguay, or Peru or whatever).

    Dim.

  67. “Lucky him, Glendorran”

    Well,he says he was there. I’ve no proof of that. I’ll have to believe him, just like his attendance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall to see the Sex Pistols and his spectating spot on the grassy knoll in Dallas.

    I’m not sure if he’s seen Zelig or not.

  68. Witchsmeller, the penis-biting incident you refer to was committed during a league game, but league players. The difference between union and league is a vast and mighty chasm* with the skilful clean cut union lads on one side, and the cheating conniving batty boys on the other

    *Probably because much of the world confuses the two games.

  69. Ironman – “BTW: I don’t think ALL 150 million Russians are lunatics; it was for effect. By contrast you do believe what you have said in the past fortnight about muslims, Jews, non-whites. So I’m just a better person than you aren’t I.”

    Poe’s law at work? An Onion-like parody? The problem with Guardianistas is that I can no longer tell.

  70. GlenDorran – “In football it’s all appeals for fouls, penalties and petty niggles – and it’s the exact same kids. I’m still surprised at how much authority and respect a good referee gets in rugby, even at the pro level.”

    Italians don’t play rugby. Nor do Argentinians. Well, they don’t play it well. Brazil does not play it at all. No young rugby player wants to play rugby like an Italian.

    But the Latin nations have had a huge impact on football. Everyone wants to play like a Latin player. And they dive. It is part of the Latin football culture and so it has become part of the British footballing culture. Whereas rugby has remained Old School.

    GlenDorran – “I stood a few back from Jonah Lomu in a queue at Heathrow years ago. …. And even more mind boggling that people half his weight would try to tackle him when he was in full stride.”

    My definition of courage would involve anyone who stands up to Jonah Lomu. Anyone who took to the paddock on the other side, yep, that’s courage.

    What, and let me say this is a strictly heterosexual way, a man. What a player. What a tragedy.

  71. Jack C – “As I recall it, the Glazers were unpopular because they loaded the club with debt in order to pay for it. The fans wanted the money spent on players, blah blah.”

    There is a real complaint here. Sort of. Football clubs used to be collectively owned. They used to be associations by and for their fans. Well, their management first I guess. But they were not commercial organisations.

    At some point, and I don’t know how, they ceased to be owned by the fans and they became owned by a small number of very rich people. It is a second Enclosure of the Commons. Thatcher turned a lot of collectively owned institutions into private ones – which was a good thing by and large.

    However, fans don’t like the idea they are just crassly exploited for their cash. Although they are. Look at the rip off that is the new stripe and what they charge for them. The system still relies on the concept of loyalty. Fans are worth so much money because they are loyal – they still remember the days when the club was not a business. When the cynical money-making aspect of it becomes too obvious, people get a little upset.

    The Glazers were just too obvious they were not fans. They were investors. They looked a lot like they wanted to load the club up with debt, strip it of anything of value and then move on to a better tax jurisdiction. Fans should be concerned about this. Abramovitch is a thug and a nasty piece of work, but he spends his own money on his club.

    So, OK, these clubs are not privately owned. In which case fans should have no more loyalty to them than they do to the latest Fast and Furious film. But they don’t. They have embraced part of the new world but not given up all of the old.

  72. It is odd that UEFA concerns itself with the non-problem of fantastically rich people giving money to football clubs, rather than the very real problem of debt.

    I think instead they should have restrictions on debt-revenue ratios, with any club exceeding the limit excluded from European competition. That would stop leveraged buy-outs, and clubs driving themselves to bankruptcy in pursuit of the (not) Champions (not) League.

  73. Peter S – “What the fuck???”

    Next. Sentence.

    I don’t have high expectations that people will read much on a blog. Especially not when we have people like Ironman here. But, seriously dude, what is wrong with you?

  74. SMFS>

    The campaign against the Glazers was just antisemitism rearing its ugly head – helped by the fact that Malcolm Glazer looked like a Der Sturmer caricature. MUST was briefly taken over by BNPites and their ilk.

  75. Dave – “The campaign against the Glazers was just antisemitism rearing its ugly head – helped by the fact that Malcolm Glazer looked like a Der Sturmer caricature. MUST was briefly taken over by BNPites and their ilk.”

    And yet Roman Abramovich is fine. I don’t think it is anti-semitism. It is something else. Anti-Americanism perhaps.

  76. The campaign against the Glazers was just antisemitism rearing its ugly head
    That hadn’t occurred to me. I thought the campaign against the Glazers was because they were taking money out of the club, unlike Abramovich who put money into his.

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