Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Eric Cantona On Manchester United After Alex Ferguson

Eric Cantona fears for the future of United when Sir Alex Ferguson retires. He worries because of the Glazer ownerhip, balanced at present by the influence of Sir Alex, who Cantona likens to Gandhi.

He also feels that there are now far too many foreign players for the health of the English game.

Pure commonsense from le Roi yet again.

Full article here.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Manchester City FC-Still Bitter After All These Years, 35 To Be Exact

Mike Summerbee shows why Manchester City fans are known as the most bitter and unsporting supporters in the world:

Let's all laugh at City!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Manchester City FC-All Cash, No Class

It's that time in the football season when Manchester City fans go all giddy and silly. The day before the Derby game against United. By 2-30 tomorrow afternoon they'll be back to their usual bitter and twisted selves. Sad to see in a way, hilarious in another.

So how does the groundsman at Wastlands prepare for the Derby at Old Trafford? By proving what a small time club, with small time fans Manchester City really are:

Manchester City ordered the closure of the Facebook site of the club’s groundsman on Thursday night following an inflammatory expletive-laden post about Manchester United ahead of Saturday’s derby at Old Trafford.

Ged Coyne, employed by City as a groundsman for the past 15 years, posted foul-mouthed insults, none of which can be repeated by this newspaper, directed at Sir Alex Ferguson and former United defender Gary Neville, as well as referring to United as “scum”.

With Greater Manchester Police earlier this week advising City captain Carlos Tévez to avoid potentially inflaming tensions between rival sets of supporters by repeating the incendiary comments that have preceded recent fixtures against United, his former club, senior figures at City moved swiftly to close Coyne’s offending Facebook page after being informed of the content.

Coyne is understood to have closed his site on Thursday afternoon after being contacted by a club official, who reminded him of his responsibilities as an employee. A City spokesperson said: "The member of staff in question regrets posting the material and removed it immediately."

Despite City’s actions in seeking the removal of the Facebook page, Coyne’s comments had allegedly already been disseminated on to various fans’ forums, prompting a predictably angry response on United supporters’ sites.

The embarrassment comes after City provided all employees, including players and coaching staff, with guidance on the use of social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
Whata dickhead. Quite apt that he should be the Berties' groundsman.

Full sorry tale here.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Manchester United FC-Munich, 6 February 1958

The Flowers of Manchester

One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich, Germany,
Eight great football stalwarts conceded victory,
Eight men who will never play again who met destruction there,
The flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

Matt Busby's boys were flying, returning from Belgrade,
This great United family, all masters of their trade,
The Pilot of the aircraft, the skipper Captain Thain,
Three times they tried to take off and twice turned back again.

The third time down the runaway disaster followed close,
There was a slush upon that runaway and the aircraft never rose,
It ploughed into the marshy ground, it broke, it overturned.
And eight of the team were killed as the blazing wreckage burned.

Roger Byrne and Tommy Taylor who were capped for England's side.
And Ireland's Billy Whelan and England's Geoff Bent died,
Mark Jones and Eddie Colman, and David Pegg also,
They all lost their lives as it ploughed on through the snow.

Big Duncan he went to, with an injury to his frame,
And Ireland's brave Jack Blanchflower will never play again,
The great Sir Matt Busby lay there, the father of his team
Three long months passed by before he walked again.

The trainer, coach and secretary, and a member of the crew,
Also eight sporting journalists who with United flew,
and one of them Big Swifty, who we'll ne'er forget,
the finest English 'keeper that ever graced the net.

Oh, England's finest football team its record truly great,
its proud successes mocked by a cruel turn of fate.
Eight men will never play again, who met destruction there,
the flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

Friday, 4 February 2011

Neil Young-Manchester City FC

How sad to hear about the death of Manchester City's Neil Young at the age of 66.

I saw Neil Young many times in the era when United and City were neck and neck in the late 60s  and early 70s. OK, City were actually above United for a time in that period, but I prefer not to dwell on that.

I still remember being chased through the terraced streets around Maine Road on my way to or from Derby games as if it were yesterday. City had the likes of Bell, Lee and Summerbee, but as I remember Young was up there with the best of them.

Football then was much more exciting and atmospheric with players like those I've mentioned, followed by the likes of Rodney Marsh, Gordon Hill and many other true entertainers. But the graceful and skillful players were ably supported by the kind of hard men who would make today's players run for the dressing rooms. I'm starting to sound like my dad now so I'll stop.

Condolences to Neil Young's family and friends, a true sportsman.

Manchester Evening News Tribute.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Manchester United and the Glazers

The Glazers are up to more tricks, and the footballing authorities, as they have done for years now, just sit back and let corporate plunderers destroy what's left of the professional game in this country. Here's what the Glazers are up to now:

By Paul Kelso 8:40PM GMT 02 Feb 2011

Delaware is rated the most secretive financial location in the world, and the change means that it will be even harder for supporters and media to establish the implications of the club’s corporate structure.

The most pressing issue concerning Manchester United’s highly-mobilised fanbase is how the Glazers managed to clear £249.1 million of payment-in-kind (PIK) loans that had been incurring interest at more than 16 per cent before it was abruptly paid off in November last year.

Delaware’s secrecy rules mean that the directors, officers and shareholders of the new company are unknown, as is the source of the money used to repay the PIKs.

The PIKs were controversial because they were secured against the Glazer family’s shares in United’s holding company, meaning that ultimately the club could have been passed to the hedge-fund lenders in the event of default.

The Glazers have declined to say how they paid off the PIK loans, and whether any debt incurred to do so is still secured against the family’s shareholding in the club or related entities.

Financial analyst Andrew Green, who blogs on football finances as Andersred, said the move suggested the Glazers were trying to obscure the source.

“It is almost as if the Glazers are trying to keep information about the PIK repayment secret,” he wrote. “Naturally we can’t ask the Glazers anything about this as they won’t talk to the fans and their employees in M16 don’t appear to know. In my view that is not how the biggest football club in the world should be managed.”

US-based sources have suggested that the Glazers have taken a new loan at a cheaper rate to clear the PIKs rather than turning to third-party investors or using personal cash. It is unclear what security they have offered against the loans, and with United apparently their most valuable asset there remain concerns that the club revenues could still be required to service the loans.

According to UK regulatory filings lodged with Companies House the new Delaware company, Red Football LLC, now owns 100 per cent of the shares in the club’s UK parent company Red Football Shareholder Limited (RFSL).

RFSL was the vehicle by which the PIKs were paid off, but is now hidden behind the new structure in Delaware.

Last November two new shares in RFSL were issued at a combined value of £249m. RFSL then bought two shares in its subsidiary Red Football Joint Venture, which owned the PIKs, and the money was used to pay off the loans.

Manchester United and the Glazer family declined to comment on the changes, but a spokesman said the Glazers remain the ultimate owners of the club.

From the Telegraph Online.

I don't have a dreamy idealised view of the past. I don't look back at the way football was being run prior to PLCs and Russian, Arab and American corporate raiders sailed in with their skull and cross bone flags flying. I remember United being owned by the Edwards family, City having old Mr Alexander in charge. But they, and the footballing authorities of the day, ensured that football clubs were sports clubs, first and foremost. They genuinely loved the clubs and, although not perfect, knew they needed the local communities behind them if the club was to progress.

I recently spoke to a multi-millionaire who owns one of our bigger clubs. He hates football and only attended two games at his club last season. He left both at half-time, bored. Can he really have the interests of that club at heart?

Did the Arab prince who owns Manchester City wake up every Sunday or Thursday of his life desperately wanting to know how City had got on the night before against Stockport County or Gillingham? I couldn't resist that one. Did the Glazers go to their American football club's games with little radios glued to their ears listening to United's games on the BBC World Service praying that one day they would own the club?

The Premier League, Premiership or whatever it's branded as today is a mirage. 'Customers' are paying an arm and leg to watch mediocre football because, let's be honest, take away the hype and the product is not brilliant. Witness the empty seats in the last round of the FA Cup. Manchester City, the world's richest football club could only muster 27,000 fans in the FA Cup against Leicester. Witness the empty seats at last night's games. A friend of mine was amazed that she could buy a ticket at Anfield for Liverpool playing at nearby Blackburn. Not only were they on open sale but over 1000 weren't even sold.

Last week I heard the depised David Gill, CEO of Manchester United, refer to United as "the biggest franchise in the world". So there we are, in the eyes of the people who run United, up there with KFC and McDonalds. It made me sick.

Since 2005 I haven't stepped foot in a professional football ground. Like thousands of others I now follow FC United. Yes I sometimes get pissed off with certain elements of FC United, mostly the politics, but that's what happens when a group of idealists get together. I know others who left United in 2005 when the Glazers arrived but are now following their own local non league clubs. And I doubt that any of us would ever go back to the professional game.

Somebody accused me this week of being a traitor and turning my back on my club. I was born in Manchester, followed Manchester United all my life attending my first game in 1965 and have watched them all over England and Europe. But I'm not an idiot. If I keep getting ripped off in a shop, I stop shopping there. If I get the squits every time I visit a restaurant I stop eating there. If the Glazers ask me to bend over while they shaft me I get out of their pretty damn quickly.

To me the ones who still pay to watch top flight football are mugs, but I still can't bring myself to call them traitors because I know and understand why many thousands of genuine fans just can't walk away from their clubs. Likewise I think the genuine fans understand why we have walked away from top flight football.

The ones who call us traitors and turncoats are invariably the plastic fans who jumped on the football bandwagon when Sky and the PLCs bought English football's soul. But don't worry, they'll be away from football when the hype fades and another sport becomes the cool thing to become a customer of.

Just read the article above by Paul Kelso again. Then give it a bit of thought.

You might also like to read The Beautiful Game? by David Conn. He might be a City fan who writes for The Guardian, but if you have any interest in football his book is a must.

This post is also on my other blog, A Brief Encounter.