I really didn’t want to write about this as my first real post here on The Faithful, but you have to go with what’s topical sometimes.
Yesterday saw more Anti Glazer protests at Old Trafford. The feeling at the ground is getting more and more fractious at every game and this is to be expected. But it wont be long until antagonism is used as an excuse by a few to get the ‘hatchets and hammers’ out and start some old skool violence. This CANNOT be allowed to happen.The events yesterday did nothing but set back the progression of the Green and Gold movement. It was supposed to be a day of action…whistle blowing and banner waiving. What we got was smoke bombs outside the club shop and fist clinching my a number of Mancunian idiots. The whole protest was arranged like a pi*s up in a brewery. Nobody knew when to blow their whistles precisely and it was all a bit of a waste in the end..it could have been all so much more clever and effective.
Today’s announcement that the Red Knights will not pay over the odds for the club has gone down like a lead balloon with certain fans, including myself. Once again, like yesterday…the timing of events and announcements is just WRONG. Do we as a collective really want The Glazers to sell??? If the answer is yes then we have to make it worth their while. The supporters trust will lead you to believe that if we bin our seasons tickets or at the very least ‘not renew until the last possible moment’ that this will back the Glazers into a corner, that Malcolm Glazers colostomy bag will explode in fear, and they will surrender the club at a ‘fair’ price. As James May would say…Poppycock!
Without going into deep financial accounting the Glazers will go nowhere unless the sum they will receive blows their American minds. To think that they just want to see a good return on their quarter of a billion investment is naive and incorrect. To be the owners of the biggest brand in global football is worth money on its own..it’s not just about totting up the value of Old Trafford, Carrington and all the assets. They see, as I do, that United is a licence to print money for the foreseeable future. Forget all the debt…the bonds and the PIKs. It is a strategy that they are willing to see through for the long-term, so to think that they are liars or havent got the bottle to carry on is mental.
The only way we are going to get rid of this leech that sucks away at the lifeblood of our club is to pay them in kind to nicely scuttle off with the biggest bag of swag they can carry. This wont be..’Well the club is worth this so take that and your bus fare’…It simply wont happen. I can’t believe that before they have even submitted a bid that the Red Knights are telling the world what they WONT pay, rather than what they WILL. It stinks of a consortium who may well have the best intentions in place, but simply do not have the funds.
So what do we do as fans? Abandon the club? Not go to Old Trafford anymore?
There is always FC United for the fans that think this. But if we really want a United run by the fans, for the fans, we have to remain. We have to protest intelligently and we have to be in it FOR THE LONG TERM. I saw the banner that said ‘If Youre Still Here Next Year Then We Wont Be’ and I smirked to myself. What sort of threat is that? The Glazers must be bricking it. United’s finances are not just about ticket sales…its about sponsorship..about merchandise…about brand values. The veiled threats of fans with their smoke bombs and teeth baring will not help our movement one bit. You might as well be standing on the Anfield Kop if that’s the sort of imagination you have got. Our protests will have to be long, inventive and for the foreseeable future. People will say that the Green and Gold has done nothing, but what it has done has highlighted our plight to the press and the world. We have sympathy from those who print the news and we must hold on to this and use it. This is a PR war game.
If the consortium haven’t got the cash then I would rather know now rather than later. Id rather be let down now than have a fake relationship with MUST and a fictitious bunch of knights draped in red..it’s great saying you will save our club..it’s another thing doing it.
we grow a set of balls, and make a VERY hard decision that’s FOR THE GREATER, LONG TERM GOOD.
i’ll repeat myself.
the club has cancer.
renewing is feeding the cancer.
all for the privilege of being at the bedside while the patient (you love dearly) dies before your eyes.
be the bigger/better person and make a difference, stop giving them your money.
as the americans say, MAN UP.
and the assumption that they haven’t got/can’t raise the money is misplaced imvfho.
goldman sachs paid out $5bn in bonuses LAST MONTH.
do people REALLY think that their chief economist couldn’t ‘cobble together’ a few people with that sort of money?
oh, and just reread and noticed the “smirked to myself” comment.
you don’t deserve to have people fighting for YOUR club, on your behalf.
You say this is a PR war game, but I don’t see it that way. The Glazers haven’t been popular with anyone since we first heard of them, and they don’t seem to care. And whilst people talk them up as sports fans who are proud to own our club, they don’t appear to turn up to many matches, which makes me think they see United purely as an investment, nothing more. I wonder if they ever bother to go and see Tampa Bay play and what reception they get there.
The only thing they appear to have done recently is ask the stewards and police to be a bit more heavyhanded during games, to prevent a repeat of the post-Milan scenes, which for this season seems to have been the green and gold highlight.
I also get the impression they’ve asked Sky not to highlight the protests too much, as there was hardly any mention during yesterdays coverage (the whistles at the start of the second half were quite loud, and didn’t get any mention from the commentator), whereas when the protest first started it got quite a bit of in game discussion.
The one thing that confuses me about the Glazers is that to me the most obvious route to maximise their investment is through broadcasting revenue, but they seem committed to the Premier League shared model. If United broke up that agreement, and said we’ll cover our own games on MUTV, and charge our own subscription, and do it internationally and via the internet, the rest of the Premier League would be left behind instantly (I think this is what Barcelona and Real Madrid do). In this model United would simply clean up, and probably clear the debts in a season or two. I’d certainly cancel my sky subscription if I could just pay another company to only watch United games.
Yet they haven’t done this. I believe them when they say they’re in it for the long haul, and there’s talk of them being financially secure until 2017.
I don’t know what the solution is, I’m not convinced a boycott of OT will work (or will happen), and I doubt MUST or any other supporter organisation can organise our worldwide fan base.
The end of this season has felt a bit flat, and I fear the summer is just going to be more of the same.
Then again, with Fergie in charge there’s always hope. Maybe he’ll announce he’s signed Kaka next week. We can but hope and keep getting behind the lads, regardless of what the owners are up to and how much they keep abusing and manipulating the fanbase.
Excellent piece Mr.Blanchett. You hit the nail on the head.
Keep it coming you 3, and keep it United!
COME ON UNITED!!!
i smirked to myself because of the sentiment…that banner does not represent all of us. I WILL be there next season cos i wont desert United but i understand why people like yourself are handing back your tickets. I think the banner should have read ‘We will be here long after you are dead and gone’
Washing your hands of United will not make the Glazers sell. Ive made it clear many times before how i think the long term fight will go..but if your one of them that lets of smoke bombs and spits out angry vitriol then we are not singing from the same sheet. I will be in Old Trafford for that first game when the Glazers are gone…will you? They will be happy to get rid of the United fans who are not happy and will just cash in on the other millions of people from round the UK and globe..and that will be the end of us.
Mike…thanks for that excellent comment
I agree with most of what you say, except the part about the stewards..most of the stewards do a great job at OT and are die hard reds
The glazers are not muppets..they have a long time strategy and they are prepared to see it through..I actually believe we are not a million miles off a Euro Super League..the Glazers know this will be a TV goldmine..and yes! They will service that debt in the next 15 years and have an asset worth 2 or 3 billion quid.
Thanks for your intelligent comments
Many thanks for the kind comment Justin
Thanks for the write up Rob. I never miss any of your articles. You help fans like me from the other side of the world know what’s happening in OT itself with such grace. You raise my patriotism to the red flag to another level.
We’re in it with you even from a few hundred thousand miles away.
Justin from Malaysia
Great post Rob.
I had shares in Manchester United and before you get excited it was only about 30 shares. I went through the motions when the Glazers announced they were buying everyone out and I sold them. They were a birthday present given to me so out of as much love to the family member and United I held onto them for as long as I could.
In many ways I didn’t like The Glazers because of having to sell my shares and then to be honest that feeling went, but only for a while. The debt now around the club is as we all know massive and whilst the Green and Gold campaign seems to have increased in momentum in the following months, the scenes outside OT on Sunday were nothing to be proud of.
I managed to watch MOTD and yes I even managed to watch Chelsea’s emphatic win over Wigan. There was one shot though that hurt, and I mean really hurt.
Roman Abramovich. Celebrating. Like an excited child.
Sure the Premier League title will net him some more money, and the possible FA Cup win this weekend will win him even more but this is someone who loves Chelsea and loves football.
I would love for United to have someone like him in place of the Glazers BECAUSE they would love United like we do.
At United we want the best. Nothing wrong with that.
I understand why fans won’t be buying shirts and tickets etc but does this help with future investment if they can see what the fans will do if things go wrong.
We seem in limbo at the moment waiting to find out if the Red Knights will make a move or if the Glazers say they want to sell.
Oh how I wish I had billions… 🙁
Excellent read Rob, I have to say you speak a lot of sense and I look forward to reading more of your articles, do you have a website?
As for ‘algernon radish’ you talk a load of nonsense, we need to stick by our club like Rob says otherwise whose won? I doubt the Glazers would be bothered if I were to stop watching, or a few thousand others for that matter as there are plenty of people out there in the wing ready to buy our vacant season tickets. And what will I have gained…I can no longer watch MY football team that I have supported for 20+years, oh but at least I’ll have taken a £780 from Glazers pockets. Think about it.
Get real, like Rob said, the only way that would work would be if the whole of the season ticket holders simultaneously boycotted, including the store, bars etc. But that would also put the club at huge risk and it wouldn’t be fun to watch.
I fully want the glazers out as much as any united fan, the are money centric american scum but if, as you say, the debt will be serviced in 15 years and we will be worth $3billion then isn’t this protest a little hasty? Fergie will steer the ship for another 5years, another manager (hopefully blanc or bruce) will come in and continue the job and come 2025 we will have oodles of money to please the fans, to buy the best players, to win championships and win the united way under a successful manager. Yes we all want the club to be ran by the fans for the fans like barcelona do but lets get real the glazers WILL NOT sell if the red knights do not offer OTT money. Their statement worries me, they seem to be concerned with their own pocket instead of doing what they said and delivering united back to stretford end. WE WILL FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR UNITED UNTILL WE WIN THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE!
hi rob, great article, i completely agree with ur sentiments;
1) violence will achieve nothing in the corporate world
2) if the red knights don’t have the finances, they shouldn’t be shouting it from the rooftops, just be working harder to recruit more people who are willing to join the consortium.
3) not renewing season tickets is stupid, if we no longer support the club’s team, we can’t say we have the best interests of the team at heart.
I think the only real way forward is for hight net worth individuals to come forward and propose to buy equity in the club in return for cash to pay of debts. Eg arsenal model, but in reverse ( eg diluting majority shareholder’s stake, instead of the wrangling to increase it)
Imagine if 4 guys said, “Mr Glazer, here’s 175million in return for a 10% share, (valuing the club at 1.75bil.) you retain majority ownership, you pay us a dividend, and we each get a seat on the board, and u can pay off ur loans/bonds/other debts, increase the seating in the stadium, and any other expenses” i think Malcolm glazer would bite their collective hands off.
Congratulations on the new blog. I must admit that I enjoy reading your blog more than any other on United. The similarities in opinions help. I also believe that the Glazers have a long term strategy in mind. The possible emergence of the Euro Super League would definitely help financially. Also with regard to the separate TV deals that Barca and Real enjoy, I’ve read somewhere that the current arrangement may not last for long and the Spanish league would also adopt the collective TV deal system.
On the point raised by the previous respondent, I wouldn’t criticize the Glazers for not being present during the games. I would criticize them if they were not supporting the manager completely in his efforts.
Rob, great post, I’m in a rush and this thing rambles so please feel free to clean this up and chop some of it for me.
The question isn’t if the Glazers will sell but when will they sell and for how much. This is a commodity to the Glazers, a product. Nothing more. They will sell some day, this summer or ten years from now. They will sell it for more than they paid and way more than they risked. That what happens in business and what happens to a product, commodity or company. Even Cadbury’s got sold, didn’t it? It is the when and for how much we as fans and the Red Knights as buyers are wondering about. We want them to sell now, and the Knights need them to sell for a figure they can afford, keeping in mind that money must be left for squad investment. It does us no good to get our beloved club out of “the Evil Owners” hands if we end up worse off ourselves. Take the romance out of all of this and think like the Glazers do.
All of the talk of what the club will be worth down the road is pointless except to try to predict the answer to those two questions from above. So the questions for the fans and the Knights are how can we persuade them to sell now and for as little as possible? The simple answer is, make them realize, believe, understand that this is the best price they will get.
The Knights are hoping that the Glazers are already thinking about that value and that is why they and MUST have asked for the boycott. Protests mean nothing to them unless those protests hurt the bottom line. Believe me when I tell you that American business owners couldn’t care less about protests that have no effect on revenue. The good and bad news is that the Glazers know that the bottom line may very well suffer independently of any boycott and this fact may press them to consider an offer now. Everyone agrees that when Fergie hangs it up, United will go through a period of transition and none of us should expect anything less than at least a couple of seasons without silverware. We as supporters hope against it but all of us know there is a good chance we could have trouble come that day. Old Malcolm knows how to earn a dollar and a pound and as owners, he and his have to make this assumption not because he cares about the trophy but because he cares about that bottom line. Assume and prepare for the worst. That is business 101 as we say over here. You can bet they have worked the numbers and know that when that day comes they will simply HAVE to invest heavily or United, their product, will wither and join ranks with the rest of the fallen giants: think Liverpool, Nottingham Forrest, Leeds, Newcastle, etc. Do those teams bring in the revenue they once did? Would they sell the same amount of shirts? Tickets? Would the brand itself have the same attention grabbing “money printing” power? Would they lose fans if they were in 5th, or 6th instead of the top three?(not those fans in the UK perhaps but in the rest of the world? You bet.) If that were to happen to United, and don’t think for even a second that it won’t, at least to a degree, then their product will not be worth what it was unless they spend themselves. MUST and the Knights have asked for the boycott to further press their case that this is the time for the Glazers to sell. Saying that they will not pay over the mark is their way of beginning the negotiations, tendering the first words of an offer. In effect, they are saying, “you should sell to us now, not because we love the club so much that we are willing to pay you a heavy ransom, but because if you don’t sell to us now, you won’t be able to sell it to us for as much later. Let us take the risks that are coming up when the Gaffer calls it a day and you can quit worrying about a boycott actually taking hold or some nutter actually making a real go at you.” They are simply talking to the Glazers in a language that makes sense to the Glazers and we are all hoping that Malcolm and his boys are scared enough of what might be to take the offer on the table, now.
***Having said all of this, I fully admit I would have a real hard time giving up if I had season tickets if I had them and it is way beyond “not fair” that some are being asked to fight for those of us on the sidelines, far removed from sacrifice. To those who are on the front lines, whether you give up tickets or are even just wearing the green and gold, I thank you. ***