Thursday, January 26, 2006

Leprechauns versus Gnomes

How Association Football Hoodwinks Joe Public

Twas only last year when long-suffering and easily fooled Joe Public was presented with the Manchester United take-over by the Glazer clan and, as usual, failed miserably to see or understand the real significance of this multi-million pound takeover.

Because the media never ask the right questions, most football fans cheerfully accept the shibboleth that there is no money in football and, if their chosen team is to be successful, it will be either by luck and good fortune or though the beneficence of some latter-day sugar daddy like Roman Abramovich.

Mr Malcolm Glazer's business career is well-documented and extremely successful. Some of his methods have brought criticism over the years, but he has, it appears, remained on the right side of the law and has certainly been successful – particularly in terms of the money made by his NFL team, the Tampa Bay Bucs. Strange no-one seems to have thought to ask why he would want to invest hundred of millions of pounds in an industry that (we are constantly being told) is a bottomless pit for the monied classes to pour their largess – with no prospect of breaking even – much less turning a profit.

Football fans who are so stupid as to believe that all teams are short of money would do well to keep reminding themselves that Mr Glazer and his associates are first and foremost businessmen – not football fans. Some sort of transparency regarding the state of the finances of your beloved team might go a long way towards restoring the public's confidence in the game.

What seems incontestable is that Mr Glazer is almost certainly more like a gnome of Zurich than a friendly leprechaun.

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