Sunday, January 24, 2010

Love United Hate Glazer

My favourite sports team, Manchester United, won a soccer game by 4 to 0. Wayne Rooney, scored all 4 goals. I have been following them since the late 1960s, in the days of Dennis Law, George Best and Bobby Charlton. In those days I had a notebook in which I wrote down all the scores and analyzed the data by hand. Later in university, I wrote a program in Pascal to store the results. I did not have access to a database at the time, and had to create a format to achieve the data in a file.

All the fans, including myself, are of course very happy that United won in such a fashion.

However, all these achievements were overshadowed by the owners’ continued and escalating shenanigans. That is why may of the fans were wearing buttons with the slogan “Love United Hate Glazers”. The Glazers are the wealthy Americans who bought the team in 2005. They are not soccer fans. But they borrowed a huge amount of money in order to purchase the team, and a large chunk of the debt somehow became the team’s debt. The interest alone amounts to 100 million US dollars a year and is of course rising every minute.

Doesn’t it sound familiar to us? Isn’t it the same old story as what happened in Hong Kong when some rich tycoon took over a big, stable and healthy telecommunication company? And in the process crippled in with a humongous amount of debt?

The worst is still coming at Manchester United. Since the take over, ticket prices have risen. Great players such as Christiano Ronaldo has been sold for huge amounts of money. Less and less money is available for buying new players. The money earned from the tickets is not enough even to make the interest payments.

Now the Glazers are refinancing again, putting more debt on Manchester United. While they take cash from the team for themselves. I hate to think of the day when they have to sell Wayne Rooney.

Isn’t it disgusting? Can you blame the fans for saying “Love United Hate Glazers”?

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