Thursday, May 19, 2005

Boo Hoo For Man U

Until some Russian oil guy bought Chelsea and started buying more players than Tupac in Above The Rim, Manchester United were essentially the Yankees of the Premiership. They won titles all the time, had tons of cash, and bought all the good players they could find. And as anyone who's watched a baseball game in the last 10 years knows, everyone hates the Yankees (Except for the 8 million people in NY and the millions more around the world who have hopped on the Yankee wagon at some point, but whatever). So Man U is pretty much the team everyone loves to hate. So they shouldn't expect much sympathy for the crocodile tears they're crying now that Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcom Glazer has become majority owner of their squad.

They certainly won't get any from me. I understand their predicament, it sucks having some American business guy sweep in and buy one of the most storied sports franchises in your country. American George Gillette bought the Montreal Canadiens, perhaps this country's most famous franchise, a couple years ago, and I certainly thought it sucked at the time. But no one from Canada stepped up with the cash when they were for sale, and the American had the Cash, so that's that. It's essentially the same deal with Man U. They are a publicly traded company, so any Machesterian could have put up the bucks and kept the Glazer doughnut out. The fact that the team was public and could be snapped up by anyone should have driven all their wacky fans to protest and threaten a boycott a long time ago. I guess they didn't mind because the ticket prices stayed low and they were able to buy any player they fancied. Winning FA cups and the Champions League probably kept them distracted.

But perhaps some of these geniuses should have realized that becoming the most profitable sports franchise in the world would make them an attractive investment. And being public means they are pretty much just that, an investment. I didn't hear these fans complaining about all their Nike deals and tours of the US. The club has been trying hard to raise it's profile in the US for years now. Perhaps this army of Man U fans has heard of the US, probably the most opportunistic economic country on earth. Parading around that country as the most lucrative sports investment on the planet, and then complaining when the Americans want to buy in seems naive and pretty lame.

Based on this story about Irish horse-racing dudes buying a majority stake in the club to get back at manager Alex Ferguson after a dispute over a horse makes me think Man U fans should have been protesting before this. Anyone spending millions of dollars to get back at some other dude over a horse argument probably isn't overly concerned with doing right for the team. But, in the end, what do I care. I like Arsenal. Man U can go pound sand.

Posted at 5:20 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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