Manchester United – ‘again’ the most despised football club in Britain?

There is an old football joke which goes back to the days when Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took over London’s Chelsea Football Club in 2003, and pumped millions of pounds of cash into it buying all the top players and consequently winning the English premier league a year later (unfair in many clubs’ fans’ eyes!): the joke

“It took Manchester United 25 years to become the most hated football club in Britain – Chelsea achieved it in 12 months”

You see Man Utd have history don’t they – renowned now throughout the World, with supporters in every nook and cranny, but utterly despised, if not truly hated, in many quarters also! You see power is met with deep suspicion, success is always accompanied by envy, dominance countered by opposition, and riches equated with inequality. Since the elevation of MU to the ranks of World football stardom and massive escalation of their fortunes, others, clubs apart from Chelsea, have been taken-over from their loyal ticket paying fans and endowed with overseas rich ‘sugar daddies’ – we have for example Manchester City, after countless years living in the shadow of their neighbours, suddenly coming into the big money (first 2007 then 2008 Abu Dhabi billions spent) and buying players like no tomorrow – league winning (2012) & ongoing prominence inevitably followed of course; then there is Leeds’ takeover fiasco subsequently by an Italian football club owner Massimo Cellino, a convicted foreign fraudster (blocked initially): or Cardiff taken over by Milaysians in 2010; or Aston Villa a league founder (in 1888) taken over by an American in 2006; oh yes there are many others in the frame including Premier clubs Liverpool, Fulham, Hull, Sunderland, and Southampton. Oh dear.

The real glory days for Manchester United were of course half a decade ago in the 1950s (& then less so 1960s) when they could really be widely loved & respected throughout the UK for their behaviour and football. They had then a brilliant manager, Matt Busby, an honest Scot, a lovely man and a true gentleman (unlike the domineering pigs who rise above the sewers in modern management), who assembled a brilliant team of young players – nicknamed ‘The Busby Babes’. Tragedy struck when, returning from a quarter final European match against Red Star Belgrade, the team suffered a disastrous plane crash on take-off at Munich airport in 1958 (23 people died including 8 MU footballers – Duncan Edwards, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Tommy Taylor, Billy Whelan, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Geoff Bent ; 2 players never played again due to their injuries; and some 7 others went on to develop illustrious careers in football & management – including of course the immensely popular Bobby Charlton). A team formed from four survivors, reserve, youth, and borrowed players played in the FA Cup final three months later, but despite the combined will of the British nation watching on television they lost to Bolton Wanders!

Man Utd had the ignominy of being bought by the Glazer brothers of America in 2005. But not your normal injection of massive money this time was it! No, simply borrowed money (some 700 million pounds which has to be serviced ie interest paid!) by leveraged buyout – making the Club these days, the one in biggest hock ever and loosing its previous ‘money cow’ prospects & recently money to boot! You see, like with many football clubs they were (and many still are) run by total cretins who didn’t give a fig about the club, or the fans, or football – just sell it on to the highest bidder. The bird has come home to roost now at MU with the American bosses sacking their new manager, David Boyes, after just 316 days (10 months) in charge – because he inherited a degrading team, with players not willing to earn their obscene wages when the chips were down. Moyes’ record this season is anything but bad (seventh in the Premiership) – but not good enough when the market views the share price (USA owned & listed of course!), and the potential return on the collosal debt is increasingly in doubt, isn’t it?. Sacking Moyes will not solve the share price downward spiral you can bet – only invest there if you are a high roller gambler perhaps?

The Club’s forced demise of a man like Moyes, without class or dignity, a man who is seen as an honest, honourable, workaholic and successful career manager, has at least given all the outsiders the opportunity to ‘despise’ Manchester United once again with a vengeance -so good CAN come out of evil after all?

[The ones we all pity though are the true blooded Manchester United Supporters, the ones who live there (like the ones who had decried the Glazers and what they had done to their Club for a decade nearly) – not the ‘hangers-on’ pretend fans from far and wide who have jumped on a passing band waggon over decades!]

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