Archive → January, 2011
Heres an odd one, a post on a future position. I normally look at the business side and the governing side of football but this to me is very important. Its an issue which everyone will have a say on and it needs to be correct. Who ever is picked at first won’t be the right player for some people. Others will think a keeper from within the club should take over the Number One shirt but I don’t see it like that. If the perfect goal keeper costs nothing or £20m, Fergie needs to pick who he thinks is correct. If he’s not satisfied we’ll know.
Since 1991 we’ve seen many come and go but there are only three who have played over 100 games since that date. Edwin Van Der Sar, Fabien Barthez and Schmeichel. One of those in many peoples eyes won’t be considered what Ferguson was really after. So in the last 20 years most people and fans would say Van Der Sar and Schmeichel have been the two stand out truly world keepers. I don’t think Kuszczak is in the same class as either of those two. For those who think he could be I’d just ask this. ‘If he was going to be number one, why as yet has he not taken Van Der Sar’s number one shirt? or been told he will get it?’ Lindegaard is the only other choice in the side currently who could take it and until now hes totally unproven. At 26 years of age, there are many others in a better position and you can’t call him a youth team player. My view is its unlikely to be either of these two but Ferguson might know better.
Youth can work but you only have to look at Arsenal to see how they’ve messed it up. United can’t take that chance if they want to compete at top level. It can be the difference between winning or losing. Champions League is a key area which proves this. Very demanding games which can go 1:0 either way. United need an experienced keeper, someone who has been in the big games, it doesn’t matter if they have lost or won the big games. Our top two have been on the larger side. Tall keepers with great range and for Van Der Sar great ball control. So who do United go for? From the Spanish, Russian, German and Dutch leagues take your pick. There are many young and already experienced goal keepers who in theory should do a job. As ever its never guaranteed but you always have to take a chance with anyone you sign.
Interms of targets many names have been mentioned. Some daft ones like Reina and Buffon. One is scouse, we aren’t giving them £20m for anyone. The other has had a host of injury problems and hasn’t featured in the Juventus side this season. I can’t see him leaving that club. David De Gea is one player who for many is mentioned and at 20 years old will Ferguson go with that youth? For me he’d be a great signing but maybe he’d be better progressing where he currently is. Stekelenburg or Neuer would for me be better targets and as United have never signed a German player it could be time to do so. Stekelenburg is Dutch, hes tall, hes very experienced and is a top keeper. United have had Dutch players in the past. A keeper at 28 years old isn’t old for me. That’s prime age. Its very easy to get another 10 or so years out of Stekelenburg. If he could do what Edwin has done, any cash spent would not be wasted. You could say ‘value’ has finally been found.
I asked Duncan Drasdo the Chief Executive of The Trust to answer afew questions this afternoon via twitter and got afew answers back. You should be able to find the real replies on my twitter page. So while we all wonder what is going publicly which may not seen like much, behind the scenes there is much more. Much more than Duncan can say publicly for good reason. For the Trust the governments action so far must seem like a small victory, after all the years of campaigning. Considering this time last year there was nothing from the Government on these issues being planned, what’s happening currently successful or not, is a very big step. So behind the scenes there are meetings, hard work and other issues being put forward to certain groups of people. Yesterday MUST sent its submission for the Select Committee Football Governance inquiry. The Trusts aims are set high and they’ll be made known to the committee. Instead of the Club or David Gill shooting it down, this time people will be there to listen. So who do the Trust talk to? They currently have lined up meetings with a number of MPs and more interestingly Richard Scudamore the Chief Executive of the F.A. Premier League. What his views are on The Manchester United Supporters Trusts aims would be quiet interesting but that’s another blog.
So in the background the Trust are very involved in the political issues surrounding the game and for me currently that’s the most important thing. What comes of the Trusts efforts in May and many other peoples efforts is very important. My view is a takeover of Manchester United won’t save football. The only way is rule changes and government action. Hoping someone from the middle east with their own agenda buys the club and does everything we want them to do when they don’t have to is a risky game to play. This story will only get bigger over the next 3 months, so watch this space. I expect this could be a new catalysis for change. Don your Green and Gold scarf, make it known we still want Glazer out and we want changes made in football.
On Wednesday which is Wednesday the 26th, the written evidence which will be viewed and used to put forward changes for football needs to be submitted. This includes FA figures, Premier League figures, MPs, Football Owners(will the Glazers put a submission in?) from many different leagues, The Football Supporters’ Federation (confirmed to me), Supporters Direct (also confirmed to me) and other areas of football. Anyone can put evidence in but it needs to be good and relevant. It needs to be 3,000 words in length about six sides, have an abstract with bullet points and have numbers paragraphs. It can be sent can be sent to email@example.com send another email with your details and address. This is one of the most important dates I’ve seen in many years and while there isn’t alot of time, there is still enough time to get a submission in. If you have strong views on the subject get yours in. It might just change the cause. There will also be verbal sessions during February were certain people will be called up over 7 or so sessions. These might be the ones that get in the media and the paper. Lets hope mouth David Gill doesn’t get called up but I’d love to see Malcolm Glazer up there.
Interms of an outcome when you read those figures being reviewed it doesn’t look that promising but this is relevant to football ownership and governance. Not why we didn’t get the world cup or why England didn’t perform, as one BBC Jouno has already tried to twist it into. That is another story. I can already see certain owners in the Premier League having their own agenda, they won’t want anything to do with introducing governance or fan ownership. They’ll want something that suits themselves. Outside of that it depends what peoples views inside the FA and EPL are. They might also want nothing to do with it or they’ll again want only a certain stage of ruling put in. The EPL will say, ‘the owners are good, blah blah blah.’ As one did the other week. The richest and most powerful old crap. Tell that to Portsmouth, United and Liverpool fans. Its not the bee and end all. Where will some of the evidence for support for change come from? Surprise surprise the government for starters and also alot of MPs and other government figures. There could be some football clubs themselves such as FC United, Exeter City, AFC Wimbledon who have a say, the leaders of supporters direct and many supporters trusts. There are over 160 of these in the UK who have a great deal of knowledge. The Manchester United Supporters Trust will likely be the pick of the bunch but Portsmouth/Newcastle/Liverpool trusts will also be important. One surprise could be the Arsenal Supporters Trust. Its only very small but they are in the same position MUST were many many years ago. Currently buying small numbers of shares with support of the club. They can give their view and hopefully it will show just how weak they are. If their was a change, they wouldn’t stand much of a chance. One of the most important submissions for me could be the IMUSA document. They have faced years of abuse from the current owners and the club. They show how real owners act again their fans on match day. There is alot to go on and if you want to get your view on the subject, get it in! There is still time!
This may not be Manchester United related and some will say keep your nose out but its been noticed and I’ve seen the photos of the Spurs fans protesting against any move from White Heart Lane.
In a football environment what you want isn’t what Crystal Palace have got planned or what the FA did with Wembley. What you need is seats near the pitch, you don’t want a running track creating extra yards to the pitch. At Wembley you need a mobile phone to talk to the person next you as they are that far away. You also need a tv if your in the heavens to see what score it is. I’ve been to Moscow and Rome, stadiums with running tracks. Fact is no, it doesn’t work. Olympic stadiums with running tracks over the years have been redeveloped or become underused. You give Westham the track for running and by 2025 they’ll be looking for another option. Trust me now, interms of a bid and move for football the Spurs bid is the one to go for. City removed the running track in Manchester. Bayern Munich moved from the Olympiastadion as soon as they had the chance. Juve are currently converting the old Stadio delle Alpi into a proper football stadium with no running track. Give Roma and Lazio a chance, they’ll move of out their running tracked stadium. The Spurs move seems like the best option but for the fans it might not be. Spurs currently have plans in place to redevelop their current stadium, my view go ahead with that. Now Westham, interms of location they aren’t a million miles away from their home and some Westham fans won’t want to move. The perfect option that I can see is the Stadium goes as Spurs plan to do, its knocked down or made smaller, with a new stadium built next door. Westham build a new 40,000-60,000 seater football stadium, as Spurs have planned and a smaller athletics stadium is in place. The site which the stadium sits on the areas around the current stadium should in theory be large enough for both. In the short term this might seem like total madness but in the long term, more than likely UK athletics always has the possibility of losing its track. Spurs plan to knock it down anyway. It says alot about the stadium which has been put up for the games, about how they funded it and built it in the first place. The plan from the start was to reduce it down to 20-25,000 seats after the games. The two plans put forward don’t really seem to suit anyone and more than likely it will cause more hassle which ever route they choose. If they choose Westham or Spurs, this will end up in the courts and it will go on for along time. Football gets its self in a mess again. If your a director of Spurs listen to the fans, they know what is good for the club, its why they support it.
Just before Ronaldo was sold, the only stories about signings from David Gill was ‘we won’t sell Ronaldo’. What did they do, they sold him. Now I’d say at least once a month, maybe more we have the Manchester United Chief Executive commenting on how we can still afford big names but there IS ALWAYS A TWIST. This time the excuse is ‘we are hoping the youth team produces the next big thing’. No one is saying the youth squad can’t produce great players but why is he saying we can compete but then start to make an excuse why we haven’t or won’t spend?
Manchester United have always invested in top young players who have made their mark at other clubs. Am sorry but Darren Gibson is no Roy Keane. Obertan is no Ryan Giggs. Roy Keane was destroying teams as soon as he walked into the side at the age of 21. Gibson is 23, doesn’t seem to be moving forward and still watches the game. Obertan still has a chance but he needs to take it. He’s in his second full season now and needs to impress sooner rather than later. Giggs at his age had played around 100 games and scored 28 goals in the league alone. In the past 10-15 years when a top player has been coming to the end we have always gone out and found gems. Some have been record breakers and expensive but others haven’t. Its not a pop of Gibson or Obertan its a pop at David Gill because we have two other players in the 1st team who remind me of a younger Keane and Giggs. Rafael and Hernandez. Both have been given a chance and now I’d rate them against any other players in the same positions in the league. To me Rafael while young and sometimes seen as reckless, has that never say die attitude. The same is true with Hernandez. The energy, skill, pace and attitude of both show these players are out there, David Gill just needs to pull his figure out of Glazers arse. If there is a young 19-21 year old somewhere in England or Europe who matches their attitude, go and sign him up. Am talking about a quality midfielder. He doesn’t even have to be young. He could be 24 or 25 but a player who can come in and perform. If he costs £3m or £20m, doesn’t matter. Using excuses like their is no value or we’ll use the youth team, while telling me and you, ‘we can sign megastars’ does not quiet wash with me and I don’t buy it. Don’t talk to me about paying £45m a year to insurance companies over some bonds, with £150m sat in the bank and then talk about ‘we can buy £40m players but instead we’ll use the youth team’. Making out as if your going to spend big but never do, is a horrible trick to spilt the support. Its awful tactics. If your not going to sign anyone as you’ve clearly made out, why bother telling the fans there is £100-£150m sat in the bank? If the stadium won’t be expanded and they won’t invest in the team, the only business plan on offer is to try and pay the debt off. They clearly aren’t going to drop Old Trafford ticket prices, so what he’s getting at about signing big names etc makes no sense. He doesn’t say anything important for many years, now he can’t keep it shut.
I do as many blogs on Tampa Bay as I do Manchester United these days because they are also in a pickle. The poor performances of the team during 2009 and 2010 saw attendances at their publicly owned stadium drop. From selling out every home game since 1996 when the American council house was built, they failed to sell out a single home NFL game. Not only that but all their home games were blacked out from tv as stated in the NFL rules. So far they’ve had poor performances, failed to get on TV and seen attendances drop by significant numbers. Now if United started coming 10-15th in the league for two seasons on the run after poor performances, saw attendances drop by 20,000-30,000 over night and then didn’t see a single home game on TV, it would be big world wide news. People would want answers and heads would roll. In the NFL they seem to take a lighter view as its only 4 teams in each league and its a different sport. After all that I’d say this is a victory for all those wanting the debt ridden owners to give some back. They have reduced ticket prices and not just by a couple of % some have dropped by 30%. 10,000s have mostly dropped by 20%. A 31% drop is a ticket in the East Upper In Old Trafford Dropping from £36 to just £24. That’s the sort of price drop in some areas of the stadium. Heres a list of the price drops.
- Adult Tickets
Lower row West sideline:
Last season – $85
Next season – $79
Upper West corner
Last season – $65
Next season – $52
East side upper level sideline
Last season – $85
Next season – $72
East upper level
Last season – $75
Next season – $52
East corner end zone
Last season – $99
Next season – $89
- Youth Tickets now cost $17.50 instead of $35
- Stadium Parking Is 40% Cheaper.
- Season Ticket Holders now receive 10% off all food, drinks and merchandise purchases.
- They have introduced a 10-month payment plan for season tickets.
The Glazers have also had the cheek to say ‘we’ve listened to our fans and made changes’ well they should listen up in England because we’ve been telling them from day one. You made a big mistake.
Alot of people say the Green & Gold is dead and nothing is happening. For me, that’s very far from the real story. This is a waiting game but there are a number of things going on in the back ground. This ranges from now until summer and we should hear news on them. First there is the case of where the missing £249m came from, to pay Glazers debt off. Andersred as ever always has he eye cast out and there is always the likely hood that could pop up again. There are also rumours of a takeover by Qatar but that’s nothing more than rumours. Until it happens we won’t know a thing. If nothing more comes by the summer months there is still hope.
This next piece is in black and white. This will happen. As I type the Government are reviewing football. Its not rumoured or made up. It is happening. They don’t like Manchester United’s debt or the culture of the Premier League. They want to sort it out. By May this year the Government will have completed its review of how to deal with football ownership and football governance. The proposals will be published during May on Football Governance and hopefully through the FA, they will start putting through the changes needed so we and many others can take a stake in their club. They know the problems and hopefully they’ll be robust.
In the last year alot has been said about football ownership but there are still afew totally clueless people who write things they have no knowledge about. Cue Louise Taylor of the Guardian I don’t often get offended but this does offend me. There are certain areas which have been discussed over the last year and most people understand what would and wouldn’t happen. Thinking ‘all clubs’ under supporter football ownership schemes would have all their fans vote online for the first 11 every time they play, means you really don’t have a clue. Ebbsfleet are the worst example of football ownership going and its not slightly comparable with the examples myself and many 100,000s of others would accept. Thinking Manchester United would be taken over by the fans and then the fans would vote online to pick the team is so off the mark you’d have to live on mars to think that’s what me, other football supporters or the Manchester United Supporters Trust would want! To show anyone who doesn’t understand what could happen heres what wouldn’t and would happen.
A takeover of Manchester United by the fans WOULD NEVER see!
- Any online voting system.
- Fans voting on the 11 players that play each game.
- Fans choosing the manager.
- A vote on future signings.
- The fans being able to sack the manager.
A take over of Manchester United by the fans WOULD SEE.
- A board of directors as any other football club.
- The only voting would be for the people who make up the members of the board.
- The members of the board would have the interest of the fans and the club at heart.
- The board of directors would make footballing and club decisions like any other club.
- The board of directors would be forced to follow certain rules after a takeover. Examples – The club cannot be put up for sale. Debt cannot be put on the club. The stadium and training grounds cannot be sold. Tickets prices are to be recommend under deals between the club and IMUSA. IMUSA, MUST and other fan groups are to have official links to the club, these cannot be broken (as Glazer did back in 2005).
- The board would give the manager a set transfer budget. Example – Any mega expensive signings would as with ANY club be considered by both parties. David Gill, the Glazers and the Manchester Board still have to consider everyone who the manager signs. Finances are important.
- The board can be asked to starting to consider other issues such as safe standing, away ticket allocations, final allocations, sponsorship ticket levels, ticket prices and future expansion of the stadium through fan groups such as IMUSA and MUST.
The fans want what is in the interests of Manchester United Football Club but the club also has the interests of the fans. Its a two way street and currently its mostly a one way street. Most fans would agree many areas of ticketing for games away from Old Trafford are poor. This is one area the club can its self campaign but currently does naff all. From the facts above its clear the Spanish, German and FC United routes of football ownership are the correct ways to go BUT every club and its fans, have different issues they want to address. Certain people thinking we as fans plan to vote on the team or have a voting system in place to sack the manager need a reality check. We want the manager to have freedom, the team to have support, the club to be free of debt, the club to be stable and have the fans interests in its mind.
One thing every Manchester United fan will know is the Glazers don’t do publicity. That is until now. The problems this time aren’t coming from Manchester, this time its from on the other side of the pond in Tampa Bay. In the States they are more public than here but when I say more public, this is the first time this season (its ended already) the Glazers have spoken to the press and the fans publicly. There is the odd comment from behind closed doors or at private NFL events but hardly any direct speeches or interviews to the press or the fans. Bryan Glazer said… Many teams ”are happy we’re not in the playoffs because we could have done some damage,” but Bryan your not in the playoffs, you didn’t get any games on tv and you didn’t sell out once. On top of that your fans think your running the team and many of them are worried about it being sold to Eddie Debartalo. Many other NFL fans want the Glazers to sell up.
Bryan Glazer is treating the Bucs much like Chelsea or Manchester City. Over hyping what is slowly becoming below average. The Glazers have big enough problems, that they have to hype up the team publicly and for them to go that far it must be bad. With Manchester United they know this is off limits because they’ll get buried into the ground. David Gill is no longer seen by many people as more than a puppet, its hard to take him seriously unless you have the brain of a City fan. Only a fool says ‘wait and see’. This can apply to the Bucs plan of spending fuck all or Uniteds plan of we have £100m in the bank for players, but we’re not touching it via the managers ‘theres no value’ comments. Bryan would be seen like that before he opened his mouth. In America from the comments I’ve seen, Bryan Glazer could very well be their David Gill. A pointless PR spin machine, picked up by most who read the headline before they read the quotes.
In this blog am going to cover a Qatar takeover and United in general. First up is the team and squad its self. I commented before Villa how United might be running into abit of form. Now against Villa it was lacking but since then apart from that battering against West Ham United, we have been unbeatable. There are kinks in the armour, so we shouldn’t forget that. Talksport were having a Thursday night discussion about Fergies comments on the future of our best goal keeper for along time. Edwin Van Der Sar. We’d all love for a young keeper from within the club to come in and take the number one shirt. That sadly isn’t going to happen. In such an important position we need to pick a keeper who has been solid for another side for a good number of seasons. He needs to be 6 foot plus, calm and have experience. Ferguson has to go shopping and hopefully he will do.
In the League United have done very well 20 games played 44 points. It was only the weather holding us back, or Chelsea’s lack of form. The Chelsea game was something that annoyed many fans as other games went ahead. Despite all the snow/ice we had in Manchester, City of all teams had no problems getting their games on. I’d call it a conspiracy, playing bad, lots of games one after the other, lets use the weather. You could say the same about one or two other games that weekend. With two games in hand on City and a game on Arsenal we could have been on 50 points and 8 points clear of City and 15 clear of Chelsea only at the midseason point. Theres no reason to say we wouldn’t have beaten both Blackpool and Chelsea to achieve that.
With a win over Liverpool in the cup, United are in a prime position. Arsenal and City both have midweek games in the FA Cup 3rd round which means when we come to play Spurs on Sunday, in-terms of that weekend it could be an advantage. We only play Southampton in the cup, so I won’t mind see those two games go against them. An Everton win and we could see a clean sweep of early PL exits before the end of the 4th round.
Manchester City are again splashing out and this leads to the Qatar. I come up with a quiet simple way that for starters I’d be happy for them or anyone else to take over. The Club has a problem of the Glazers. They put, take, lie and generally act like retards. If they cared about the club, they’d talk to the fans instead of treating us like idiots. We pay for tickets and are therefore as they say ‘we are the customers.’ First rule of customer service. The customer is always right no matter how daft it sounds. They don’t treat it like that. Even after protests and even the government telling them theres a problem. Still nothing. So what’s this I’d be happy for someone else to take over? Firstly its not just letting someone take over the club. For me to be happy a number of things have to happen. I don’t want the new ‘owners’ to carry everything out. They should leave the footballing side to the footballing people as they have done with Fergie. I’d accept new owners and a takeover, if it was done in conjunction with the fans. The biggest problem we have is lack of communication between us and the owners. The only thing the pointless ‘fans forum’ created was a note from Fergie asking not to call Wenger names. We have bigger problems than that. A deal done in conjunction with the fans would look like this. It doesn’t matter if its the red knights or Qatar. The new owners take over the club, get rid of the debt, allow certain fan groups back into the club. This can straight away allow IMUSA’s work and past deals on tickets to be put back in place. Possibly put in a process to insert not just one but a number of fans forward as directors on the board. One thing which could be very important is a deal for the fans to buy part of the club from the new owners. One it fully seals the fans into the club and two if Qatar ever want to pull out, we as fans have a say who comes in. We could even buy the club if after 20-30 years it came to selling. All of these are important issues to me and all can be put in place during a takeover. It benefits the fans and the new owners. MUST have said a similar sort of thing. Any new owner would be daft not to listen.
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