Day: May 22, 2010

The Manchester United War Of Words

Never has a football club’s “official wine partner” seemed so important. And while you’re pondering the concept of a football club having a wine partner at all (what next, “prawn sandwich partner”?), I shall explain. Like Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United goals, before he had to score most of them himself, articles about the latest Manchester United takeover battle are coming in clusters. The main story is well told, especially by a very impressive set of Manchester United supporters’ groups. Manchester United’s Supporters Trust (MUST) has run a fluent visual and audible protest against the Glazer family, backed by a proper understanding of how loudly money talks to them. “United Supporters for Change” are a “direct action” group, which evokes rather more unsavoury, violent protest images. But their campaign is a reasoned, measured, transparently non-intimidatory one. They published their list of businesses supporting the club, but encouraged them to consider that relationship, while highlighting to on-lookers that such businesses were not an enemy but “essential parts of our community, providing employment and driving our economy. “Our cause is right,” they stress, “violence or intimidation belittles it.” The clubs’ and owners’ PR has been clunking in comparison. The sudden “revelations” that the Glazers turned down a detail-free £1.5bn bid for the club, just after it emerged that the Red Knights were talking in terms of a £1bn offer. The sources “in...

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How Ben Foster Highlights The Farce Of The Loan System

Ben Foster has made news today by becoming the first player to openly criticise the Manchester United fans’ Green and Gold campaign to oust the Glazer family. However, something more surprising struck me in the Daily Telegraph’s report. Ben Foster is 27 years old. Who else realised that? Seemingly seen as one of the young pretenders to the England goalkeeper role, Ben Foster, is pretty much halfway through his career, yet his career statistics read less flatteringly than his competitor Joe Hart. Here’s a breakdown for comparison: Ben Foster Joe Hart Age 27 23 Premier League Appearances 41 86 Football League Appearances 63 65 Cup Appearances 19 16 European Appearances 3 9 Other Appearances 1 0 England Appearances 4 1 Total Appearances 131 177 Despite being older, and having become a professional footballer earlier, Ben Foster has the sum total of about three seasons worth of football behind him, and only of those seasons has been in the Premier League (spread over four seasons worth of football). Which for a goalkeeper than Sir Alex Ferguson claims is good enough to go to the World Cup is staggeringly low. What is more alarming is that of those 158 appearances, only 23 have been for the club he’s employed by. What is even more astonishing is that Birmingham City have paid a sum in the region of £6m for a Manchester...

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