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Err, yes?

Strip out the bit about “our fans”, whose wishes have been ignored for the best part of 18 years, and the essence of the strategic review was laid bare: a money grab, designed not to “enhance the club’s future growth” but to swell the bank balance of six siblings in Florida. Bottom line over scoreline, as some staff at United describe the Glazer era. It was ever thus.

The Glazers are due to pocket over £500 million from the sale of a 25 per cent stake in United to the Ineos billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, with the other half of the £1.03 billion purchase price going to other shareholders.

Put another way, that is a similar figure to the debt burden that was loaded on to the club when the Americans completed their hostile takeover in 2005, and which has remained largely unchanged ever since.

It’s a business. And?

22 thoughts on “Err, yes?”

  1. As with Spurs, where Daniel Levy has been running a business with a football club attached for the past 22 years. One big difference though – Man Utd. have 20 trophies to show since the Glazers took over yet still the fans moan…..

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant the average football fan is of how share sales etc work. My local club has had various owners over the years, various sales and deals gone through. And when some headline figure gets put about (‘X buys YFC for £Zm’) they somehow think that money is going to ‘the club’ and is available to be spent on players. When in reality its going to the previous owner of the club who is selling up, and/or banks and lenders who were owed money. None of it goes anywhere near the footballing business, unless the new owner then injects even more of his money into that.

  3. Jim “any club will do” Ratcliffe is unlikely to make much of a difference.

    You’d think his narrow escape from buying Chelsea last year would have given him pause for thought but apparently not as he dives into the only club with the potential to be an even bigger clusterfuck.

  4. You’d think his narrow escape from buying Chelsea last year would have given him pause for thought but apparently not as he dives into the only club with the potential to be an even bigger clusterfuck.

    If a billionaire wants to spend his own money to own a bit of grass where a pigs bladder gets kicked around, why should the rest of us care?

  5. Agreed.

    My nearly 60 year love affair with Chelsea was already teetering on the brink before multi millionaire players started kneeling like trained seals while the grounds and the kit displayed more rainbow emblems than a middle class nursery school. No longer my game.

  6. John @ 10.21, I feel the same, and wish they would leave us with just one slice of life that isn’t befouled by politics. Unfortunately they won’t and i’m like a druggie who can’t kick the habit……(I deliberately look away when they do the kneeling bollocks though).

  7. John

    Even in the depths of the 4th Division we are not immune from such twattery. I am going to se my club on Saturday in the Cup for the furst time in two years. I stayed away specifically because I was so annoyed at their knee taking.

    Alas I gave up on Chelsea some time ago. They used to be the alternative when my team were away. But I simply can’t affird to go.

  8. I can’t wait for the bubble propping up EPL teams to pop and half of them wind up like Leeds of the mid-2000s.

    Having said that, as an American I’ve always found it funny how the Glazers, being American, are the one set of foreign owners it’s really OK to hate on. Some forms of xenophobia are clearly more acceptable than others.

  9. @Addolff
    The only way you’d get that is if football went back to being 22 guys kicking a ball around for fun & the spectators contributed jumpers for the goal posts. If you’re going to make it part of the entertainment industry it will be professional & everything else follows.
    Football fandom baffles me. Makes as much sense as being a “supporter” of & wearing the advertising colours of a favourite washing powder. It’s just a competing commercial product. But I feel like that about all spectator sports. It’s just rival monomaniacs indulging their obsessions. Why should I be interested in the outcomes? The difference between having sex & watching pr0n.

  10. BIS,

    I understand football at one time. You were born and raised in a town, as was your father. A lot of your extended family lived there. You worked there, your mates were there. And the club was made up of the best footballers in the town. Your mate at school might live next door to one. So you had an emotional connection to the place and people involved.

    Go back even further and they started out as works teams. You went, and you watched someone who might be on the next lathe to you.

    When your club is owned by a sugar daddy, often a foreign guy, who is just blowing his money on the best mercenaries money can afford, filling the team with people from Turkey, Cameroon, Sweden and Brazil, it’s just devoid of any meaning. Unless you’ve put money on one team winning, why would you care about the outcome?

    I even feel this with international sport. Like, I don’t really care if someone British wins. I don’t feel that same sense of patriotism I did when I was young in the 1970s. Like, in reality, no-one does. We all buy Chinese TVs, Japanese cars, watch American movies, eat Italian food, work for foreign companies. If you’re going to do all that, why do you care if someone from Glasgow or Serbia is the best at tennis?

    On top of that, it’s just more fun to fire up Assetto Corsa and play a racing game than to watch someone else racing on TV.

  11. “I deliberately look away when they do the kneeling bollocks though”

    How very restrained of you. I turn the volume off and give them all two fingers.

  12. Osgood
    No good now.

    Has anything changed?
    Mind you, my card was Jimmy Greaves, so I never took much interest.

  13. @WB
    I think my opinion of football has been coloured by living for a time equidistant between Spurs & Arsenal & getting alternating bands of yobs blighting my local. That said, I’ve become a staunch supporter of the Brasilian national team. The delight in being in a bar packed with scantily clad, bronzed, meninhas jumping up & down should not be underrated. As Tim has commented about Russian totty, you really do have to recalibrate for brasileiras.

  14. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    As a former Manchester City season ticket holder from around the time they were in the third division (whatever stupid name it had, League One or summat, it was still the third division), regularly watching 1-0 home defeats to a 94th minute Kit Symons own goal, or Robbie Fowler, David Seaman, and Nicolas Anelka topping up their pension pots, I am kind of happy to see the current success. Being unable to go to games, not just because of the distance, but because of a level of bureaucracy that would shame the German tax office just to buy one ticket for one game, I am less bothered than I would otherwise be.

    It is, of course, a great pleasure to look down on United for a consistent period of time.

  15. Yes, surely the Glazer calculus should include the huge number of people taking joy in ManU’s repeated comical failures to look like an organised football side.

  16. I try to support local teams.
    Being from Tooting originally I follow Wimbledon, when I lived in Munich my local team was 1860 ( then in the non league ) and I subsequently revelled in their brief later success, until they went bust – yet again. In Brussels, I was just a couple of tube stops from Anderlecht. I drew the line in Vienna. My local team was Wiener Sportklub, one of the oldest teams in their league – they were however and indeed still are crap.

    As for casual football going, it is becoming increasingly difficult. Little while ago, West Ham played Freiburg in the Europa League Cup Thingy at the Olympic stadium . Freiburg usually play nice football and their manager is a bit of a character, so I tried to buy a ticket. £65 ! Well sod that, I put my stab vest back and followed it on the wireless instead. Hammers won easily as it happens.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Freiburg usually play nice football and their manager is a bit of a character, so I tried to buy a ticket. £65 ! ”

    Occasionally those footy scran tweets appear on my timeline. A recent one from West Ham showed a manky white roll and 2 shrivelled up rashers of bacon for £11 so that entry fee seems cheap.

    BiFR, is it still the case that City are supported mostly by locals and Utd by the rest of the world and hated by locals?

  18. BiND,

    I think Covent Garden is cheaper now. Taking my daughter to see Tosca in the new year and it’s also about £65 a ticket for her and £35 for me. Drinks in the bar are slightly above pub prices.

  19. Soccer supporters who whine about the owners of their favourite club doing what they want with their own property are the same sort of people who imagine that the rich should pay for all their living expenses.

    They can fuck off on both counts.

  20. Bloke in North Dorset


    At least at Covent Garden you won’t have to put up with the performers throwing tantrums to rival 2-year-olds in a supermarket every time a decision goes against them.

    (The reason I lost interest in football around the turn of the century)

  21. In response to BiND, despite being from Bradistan and supporting their crap team, I’ve spent a lot of time in Manchester over the the last couple of decades…

    When Man Utd were winning everything in sight, all you heard from Man City fans was “You’ve bought all your trophies…yet they still can’t sell out the Emptihad when they’ve done same.

    The only time the stadium has been full is whe the Stone Roses played there.

    And as the new minority owner is from Failsworth, shouldn’t he have wasted money on buying Oldham Athletic? That’s his local team…

  22. I have near-zero interest in football… Possibly because I was 12 before I realised that the name of my local team wasn’t “Walsallnil”.

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