Posts Tagged → Liverpool
Last month the Scottish Premier League relaxed the rules on standing and has allowed for safe standing areas to be reintroduced. Currently Rangers, Celtic, Kilmarnock and Motherwell are all currently exploring the option of installing safe standing areas in their stadiums. The key difference between English clubs and Scottish clubs is the Scottish clubs are not bound by the Taylor Report and English laws so they have one less problem to over. The Premier League has said in the past it doesn’t want to introduce safe standing back into the Premier League but now certain English clubs are exploring the idea. Aston Villa is one club to have plans in place and is seeking support at the next Premier League meeting from other clubs. Arsenal and City have also been rumoured to be interested in safe standing areas. The type of standing that would in place would be very different from the standing areas you see at many lower league clubs or the type we saw in the past decades before standing was banned. If reintroduced Scottish and English clubs would follow the Germany system of fold up seats and bars where a stand can be converted to either safe standing or seated if required under UEFA regulations.
Villa is one of many clubs where standing takes place for long periods of time even though it is banned. The same can be said for most other clubs. The Kop at Anfield, K Stand and the Stretford End at Old Trafford are all areas where no one will sit down for 90 minutes. Manchester United have been warned in the past by the local council for persistent standing but it still carries on. Much of it is over looked. Even at away games clubs like Liverpool have admitted persistent standing isn’t a problem, so a question needs to be asked. Is the current law 15 years out of date? It would seem so as much has happened. Hooligans aren’t anywhere near a big a issue as they were 20 or 30 years ago. Football is safer, new technology and techniques have been developed. Its also been proven standing in seated at Premier League stadiums isn’t dangerous. It happens at every away game up and down the country every Saturday and Sunday. When was the last time there was an issue because fans were standing? The Germans have also developed a very successful and safe standing system. I believe its time for the Government, FA and Premier League to allow Villa to install a safe standing system as in Germany which can be monitored. It will prove ‘standing’ wasn’t the issue. It was everything around it and everyone knows it. Everything has to be managed if it isn’t, problems will occur.
Another problem with the current Premier League system is the ticket price and everything that goes with football. Its about money and many clubs have lost a certain type of supporter over the past 10 years to do the huge increases in price of a football ticket. If you’re a fan of Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal etc ticket prices are normally £35 to 50 or maybe more. At Bolton, Blackburn and City it’s more like £25-35. Standing tickets would not only bring the price down, they’d increase the attendances, capacity and the type of people attending football matches. Those priced out could now afford to attend games. For clubs like Bolton and Blackburn, safe standing areas could improve the atmosphere and bring back a community feel to being a fan. It should in theory improve the atmosphere at any ground it was introduced. I’ve not really heard any argument against it and there is a lot of support, its time the law was changed but changed with regulations on how standing is managed. Managing the system and the type of system is the key to success.
After Stan Kroenke comments on American owners and the Glazers which can be seen here…
…. it’s time we looked at a number of the American owners who have been and are involved in English football clubs. I’m looking at just how trust worthy each owner is and how that relates to me and you the fans.
First off the Glazers. The list of issues and problems could go on for pages but Kroenke as ever, misses the major problems. If United make £50 or £300m, do or should I really care? No. What I do care about is where that money goes. He makes the mistake of mixing what happens on the pitch and off the pitch together. It either goes on the pitch or into investment in the stands, anywhere else and its a complete waste. Its pretty clear that the Glazers costing the club £535m has had no benefit for the club or the fans. My last blogs shows how even the British Government has now accepted this view.
Next is Hicks and Gillett at Liverpool. These are two Americans who tricked the fans and everyone else into thinking they could solve all Liverpool problems. They said no debt would go on the club, that was a lie and at the end they even tried to block the new takeover with more debt by taking out a massive payment-in-kind loans like the Glazers used. This would have basically crippled the club. A big issue has been the new stadium, the new owners promised to build it but it never happened. They were welcomed with open arms at first and left the club in a right state.
Following on from those two con men is another con man called John W Henry but he’s just the face of NESV. If I was a Liverpool fan I would seriously start to question the motives this group have because there are a lot of similarities to the Glazers and to the past Liverpool American owners. There is a lot of information that is hidden and that has not been made public. Just like Uniteds ultimate ownership, NESV ownership and ultimate Liverpools ownership is in Delaware. In 2010 Uniteds ultimate ownership was moved there and just at the same time the PIK debt was ‘gone’. We say gone but as Andersred put it on one of his past blogs “It is virtually impossible to get information on Delaware companies” We don’t even know who the Directors are, let alone what the accounts look like. The most likely position thats accepted is the Glazers PIK debt was refinanced behind closed doors. I can’t see any other way the Glazers could find £250m over night.
This leads on to Liverpools real position. Most Liverpool fans believe they are One. Debt Free and Two. Now Loaded. Henry and the like have refused to say what NESV debt consists of or how the takeover was really funded. They have also refused to say they won’t put debt on Liverpool. They sound to me just like Hicks and Gillett but just without the promises.
Heres a some quote from John W Henry on the matter..
“LFC discloses its financials annually, so monies going in and going out are disclosed. But I’m not going to disclose NESV financials or financing information.”
“But NESV has always had debt, from the first day we purchased the Red Sox.”
“£218m was partly raised from the NESV partners personally and partly from borrowing.”
So just like the Glazers and just like Hicks/Gillett, NESV has debt and they’ve admitted they’ve taken on debt to fund the takeover. Hidden in Delaware, has taken on debt, won’t be open nor truthful to provide the real figures. Where have we seen that before? It’s clear why no commitment has been over a stadium. They just like the past Liverpool owners are going to struggle to raise the £400m needed for the new stadium and there is always a possibly debt could be moved onto the club. I don’t see how the club has really moved on.
Next is Stan Kroenke. If you’re an Arsenal fan and you believe his comments about the Glazers, you are a very naive person. If he has no problems with what the Glazers have done at United I’d be very worried. It sends out all the wrong messages. I’d be very worried about debt and I’d be very worried about him increasing his shareholding over the next few months. I’d hope the new licensing rules are already in place before he could mount a leveraged takeover and if he’s going to mount one I’d expect it to be sooner rather than later. At one end of the scale we have Chelsea and City but at the other end these American owners who believe putting debt on clubs, increasing ticket prices and increasing turnover is the way to go. My view is neither are good for the game, the fans or the clubs.
You might have heard about this and thought nothing of it but I’m going to put it another way and after you’ve gone part way through this, you should stop reading, then start writing your own email or letter to United. If you’re a season ticket holder and you don’t start writing one, there is something very wrong with you.
Here is the email address for Manchester United Ticketing and Membership services.
Most season ticket holders pay over £1000 a season for the privilege* to apply for away tickets and most of the time the chances of a ticket are very slim. Unless theres a large allocation of 5,000 or more tickets which is very rare, the chances are almost zero. I’ve already covered the reducing of allocations to our supporters but what happened last weekend against Bolton is another level of boiling blood. Bolton had reduced Manchester United’s allocation and then decided sell a selection of tickets to an Irish Travel firm to sell on as away tickets. This was also true for another unknown group of Norwegians who were also sold tickets as away tickets. This is another kind of low and it has to stop right now. We knew this went on last season at Wigan but today this has really started to get noticed after a number of us started investigating it.
These are sold as travel packages to so called Manchester United fans who have nothing to do with the club. They gave United the lowest amount of tickets 10% which was 2,771 tickets out of the 28,000 capacity and then technically upped it again by selling more away tickets to Manchester United fans. Where they came from doesn’t matter, how they were sold does. Manchester United Football Club should be the only ones given the tickets and they should be the only ones allowed to sell away tickets to Manchester United fans. All Season Tickets Holders have an agreement with the club on domestic away tickets. They are the first ones who are allowed to apply for these tickets but an Irish Travel firm as we speak is selling away end tickets in the Manchester United away section. By buying a season ticket you get certain rights and applying for away tickets is one. If other Manchester United fans regardless of where they from are allowed to buy the away end tickets now but other the fans who have paid a lot of money for the privilege of applying officially through the club will never get the chance of getting a ticket, there is something very wrong here. If tickets are being sold outside of the agreement to any Manchester United fans, this must for one break a number of safety regulations. They are Manchester United fans in the away end, in the stadium under Manchester United’s name but they have nothing officially to do with the club. The safety panel have said the number of Manchester United fans in the ground must be reduced and this clearly not the case. This must also break the agreement in a number of ways between the club and the season ticket holders. Clearly the action of selling away tickets only to season ticket holders is not the case and it’s not correct. These agreements for away tickets must question a number of, safety regulations, FA rules and Premier League rules. If something was to happen with the Manchester United fans, Manchester United Football Club would be blamed and they wouldn’t even know who was in the ground.
It’s not only Manchester United Season Ticket Holders who will suffer but Wigan and Bolton are doing the same thing, selling away tickets away from the clubs of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. They will do the same thing. Give allocations of 2,700 tickets or there about, then try and sell the remaining to tourists away from those clubs.
If at this point, your blood isn’t boiling you need a kick in the face. Write your email at this point and if you aren’t happy with the response send it me on twitter at @wewantglazerout You can also send your stories to @barneyrednews who will be very interested.
*Based on a 3rd tier season ticket for 19 home games and 10 cup games at £34 a game + champions league ticket price increases.
Supporters Direct is currently undergoing a funding issue as the FSIF removed over £1 million of funding, due to a tweet. As a supporter of football the first thing you can do is contact your local MP and send them an email asking them to sign this supporting Supporters Direct….
You can find your local MP very easily by typing in your postcode here …. http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/
Here is an example letter you could send….
Dear ‘Insert MPs name’
As a local resident and a supporter of our local club ‘insert club’, I’d call on you to follow 17 other MPs in signing a motion declaring support for Supporters Direct. Am sure many 10,000s of ‘insert club’ fans around ‘insert town’ would ask you the same thing if given the chance. This is extremely important for not just for my club but every other football club in the country. Mainly the smaller clubs and this also includes many Rugby clubs. Supporters Direct is the voice of many 100,000s football and other sports fans in the United Kingdom and it must NOT be allowed to fail. This would be unacceptable. I hope you have the time read this and the motion that has been tabled.
The second thing you can do which is very easy and simple is join this Facebook Group showing your support for Supporters Direct. https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_162031167197147
Do those two things and I’ll buy you a pint or a glass of wine.
Tomorrow night they’ll likely be stories floating about what Lord Triesman said to the Select Committee but I am very interesting in hearing what everyone has to say. Currently I’d say its a two sided affair but the interesting thing is none of the six to be currently to be interviewed have a strong link to football. That means its not someone from within the EPL, FA or say Manchester United. First at 10:45 am we’ll be hearing from Stefan Szymanski, Sean Hamil and Patrick Collins. At 11:45am we’ll hear from Lord Triesman, Graham Kelly and Lord Burns. The first three should be the most interesting as they are likely to give straight answers or explain in simple terms what is going on. Patrick Collins from the Daily Mail wrote this about the FA and EPL when Liverpool were in court trying to get rid of their owners.
“Now, who could argue with a word of that? And who can remember the Premier League making a remotely useful contribution to the entire debate? Who can recall them offering a frank and articulate condemnation of the appalling way in which Liverpool Football Club has been run for these past three years?
Not their style, I’m afraid. In their view, owners may do pretty much as they choose; be they Tom or George, the dearly departed Shinawatra or the geekish Glazers, who have saddled Manchester United with the kind of debt which is beyond shame or comprehension. Fill your boots, chaps, but please try not to harm the ‘brand’. As for the FA, the people who used to accept responsibility for the way in which English football conducts itself: nothing.”
So we know Patricks view already. He knows like do Liverpool and United could be took over by Kim Jong Ill and the FA would let them take them over. If more people like Patrick are interviewed, the FA could get destroyed. Not stepping in when Portsmouth were in trouble, not stepping during the Glazer takeover and not stepping in when Liverpool had issues. To be honest the only thing the FA would have do is likely fine all the clubs and dock them points for asking for help. The ‘its not our problem’ needs to end and with people like Patrick being interviewed we have a good chance. Its likely 3 more of the people being interviewed could say similar things. Triesman we’ll likely be one of these people. He told the EPL there was too much debt and now hes gone, the new guy says its not that much of a problem. Quiet worrying that the former head of The FA said there was too much debt in football and now The FA says there isn’t. So I am betting on atleast 2 people on the side of the fans, with no one yet insight from the Glazer, Hicks or the EPLs camp. Day One Could Be 1:0 To The People. For more updates follow me on twitter @wewantglazerout , I’ll be trying to pick out the key parts tomorrow after everything has been said.
Your now thinking this is going to be about how Manchester United should have spent big money to compete with other clubs and next your going to think I am going to ramble on about how we should have. Infact this is the true story not only of past transfer windows but future ones to come. It all starts back in the Summer of 2009, when a certain club called Real Madrid decided to to splash the cash. At the very time I was on the other side of the world in San Francisco, so if anyone was unconnected and shocked by that weeks events it was myself. I went off one morning and found a Starbucks with wireless internet, put the BBC news page up and there it was Kaka had just moved to Madrid. Afew days later I woke up with a text message saying ‘Ronaldos been sold to Madrid’. I never get messages about football news stories, so for this to be sent means its big news. At that time I am thinking. ‘We’ve just built a great squad, we’ve been in two champions league finals, so why the hell are we cutting it up’ I was also thinking something else and this has always stuck in my mind. They’ve told all the season ticket holders as a ploy, just days before the renewal deadline ‘Ronaldo would not be sold’, all just to sell season tickets, then just after it our best player & the best player in the World is sold off. So I get back to Manchester afew days later and the world to me has gone totally nuts.
This is where the business side of the story comes in. All the figures given are true straight from United’s official accounts. In June 2009 United sold Ronaldo in a £80m deal. In January 2010 it was also reported United had already been paid £35.9m from AON from the new £80m sponsorship deal. This shows up on past accounts. So those two big payments of money are around £116m. In May United was to have reported £95m in cash in the bank, later on it was £162m, and the latest now is £151m in cash in the bank. At this point everything sounds brilliant £150m in the bank, happy days. The problem is of the £80m in the sponsorship deal United have already received £47m. When you add the Ronaldo money to this that’s £127m of £151m cash in the bank. If you are reading that like I am, without the two AON payments and without Ronaldo money since June 2009 the club has only been able to create extra £24m or £35.8m in cash if you take out 2010s payment. To me that’s pretty worrying. With all the prize money, TV money, extra sponsorship deals and increased ticket prices, it shows there is a very good reason why the club hasn’t seen alot of movement in the transfer market. This is not to say the market isn’t over valued, in areas it is. Some of the figures that have been paid out for certain players by City, Chelsea, Villa and Liverpool have been very silly. The reason Manchester United haven’t been out and got a £20-30m player isn’t because they can’t, its because if they do that money is then gone and to recoup that money could in theory take 12-18 months or longer just to get back £30m. One other area shows that at one stage cash reserves reached £162m but then dropped by £12m, so this shows any budget changes or increased costs within the club could have a big effect. The biggest problem I see is if United went out and spent £115m tomorrow on either the stadium or the team, there is only a £35m gap for the budget to be increased, once over that you need an overdraft or you need to find another source of income quick. Remember this is football and alot can happen in a short space of time. This to me is alot more shocking and alot more worrying than any debt and the problem in part is the debt. If United removed the interest payments that gap goes from £35m to £80m. Now I am pretty sure if that was the case, the club would have more access to the transfer market and there would be more value. The fact is until that £45m interest payment is removed and the Government recommends we get a share in our clubs, we are unlikely to see any increase in transfer spending outside of the Ronaldo money at Manchester United in years to come. When the Ronaldo Money is spent, that’s it, that’s the reason it’s not been touched and it won’t be touched.
Love United Hate Glazer
So far this week I’ve nearly seen it all, apart from Glazer leaving. Abit of FC United, Manchester United, Liverpools new American owners(where I think they are going) and one or two other pieces. I think I’ll start with last nights Rochdale Vs FC United Game for starters. I think all United fans will relate to this in some way or another. Am not saying your a fan(I am not myself, MUFC for me), but alot I’ve spoken too find it very interesting. Even the die hard reds. Unless you’ve been living under a rock or live on the other side of the world, which is possible if you’ve come from twitter. FC United have made it into the second round of the FA Cup, which to me is unbelievable. They won 3-2 with a injury time goal.
Here is a quote from me…. “I know its asking for alot and most FC United fans will say it won’t happen for many years, if ever but at this moment in time there is that tiny chance. Maths says a 1st round win, then a 2nd round win into a draw with Premier League sides.” …. lets change that to, 2nd round win into a draw with Premier League sides. I’ll leave it at that.
From my last review of Manchester United I’d say its been a slow start but we’re not losing which is always important. I might be the first to say this but could United be running into a small bit of form. Since the shocking second half against West Brom, United have won 5 on the bounce. Won 3 cup games and 2 League games. The game in Turkey the other night was the most impressive so far. I only say the start of form because they need to prove in the league they can do well in the next few games. These include Wolves tomorrow, which from fans I’ve spoken to no expect less than 3 goals from the strike force. The big one is City away. With City losing 3 on the bounce, am hoping we can get a good win today, then go and put a proper show of football on midweek.
One other interesting thing which is floating around is over in Anfield. You’ll likely want to hear something else but considering that another group of Americans have took over an English club. Its relevant when looking at owners as a whole. This time the Americans seem to be increasingly open talk to the press. I get the feeling they don’t really know what they are doing and in areas they’ve admitted that. This gives me a real insight into the people in the game. They’ve just got a new manager and now new owners. Dan Roan from the BBC asked them alot of questions yesterday. The ones that stood out to me were the 39th game question and language used. The term ‘EPL’ like ‘NFL’ was used alot. Later on there were other questions asked around the club its self. All I heard was ‘we want to increase revenues’. Where have we heard that before! The Glazers? Tom Hicks? Anyone. It basically means putting ticket prices up and selling more shirts. On the new stadium, I believe there is a strong possibility of a future ground share. Liverpool fans don’t want it? Tough. You wanted more American owners. You got em and if the Everton Kirby stadium was only going to cost around £78m for a 50k stadium as part of a larger £240m development, the new Americans will bite Evertons hands off. If they can half the cost with Everton, instead of spending a risky £300m development, they can spend possibly less than 1/3 of that and get the extra 10,000-30,000 seats they wanted to milk more cows. These Americans aren’t stupid and will milk them, like they are milking United. Theres one other thing, if your a Liverpool fan reading this (I don’t know why you would be reading this) at home feeling all happy about no more debt. First thing I’d be doing is digging to find out just where that money came from to buy the club. All of that will come clear over the next year or so, apart from the ticket prices. Yep, they’ll be going up.
One week ago we had the ‘United Against Glazer’ protest, an important article involving Jeremy Hunt midweek but I’ve also had one or two other interesting things come up. I won’t make them public just yet but they’ll come out during the week, so keep an eye out. Might not be big or that exciting but there interesting nonetheless. The protest and the Jeremy Hunt comments are very important and hopefully you’ve read the past blog posts, if not just go down the page. As ever my comments repeating the pressuring of your local MP, The Government, Number 10, The Sports Minster, The FA and PL all still stand strong. Go for it.
For any questions or comments you can follow me on Twitter @wewantglazerout