All entries for Thursday 12 May 2005

May 12, 2005

The Smiths

I have only just remembered how great they are. And I believe tonight is the Warwick Offbeat Smiths night.

Having given this free advertising, I am still, of course, not going. 10,000 words in six days, plus of course, knowing no one who isn't a culturally devoid fool, means that my attendance will not be taking place. In truth, either of these two factors would be enough.

But The Smiths really were very, very good.

I do not like Manchester United

For once I'm not aiming to offend when I talk of the footballing behemoth that is Manchester United, but I find myself forced to say that the imminent takeover by Malcolm Glazer gives me a warm glowing feeling inside (actually it doesn't, but it does make me slightly pleased).

For a long while the club has been content to reap the rewards of being a plc: fans cannot now turn around and demonstrate a newfound hatred of capitalism without seeming somewhat flip-flopish.

The takeover will probably prove detrimental to the club, but Man Utd fans should take a step back and get a grip of reality. In the last 15 years Aldershot, Maidstone and Telford have all gone out of business. The former and latter were able to regroup, and are both within the upper echelons of the non-league pyramid. Maidstone did not.

This season, Wrexham and Northwich have both been docked points for going into administration. The latter survived regardless, the former were relegated. At a higher level, Dortmund and Parma, one enjoying the highest support of all teams in Germany, the other the most successful buyer and seller of promising footballers in the last twenty years, have both had their futures threatened. In contrast, Manchester United, with their fanbase and income, are probably the safest team in the world, barring Real Madrid.

The Premiership clubs, in the most part, exist a vast distance above this financial level. A few select clubs are higher still. With the exception of Chelsea, and to an extent Liverpool, Manchester United are vastly ahead of all other English clubs, in terms of income, marketing and transfer budget.

Live by the sword, die by the sword, and this isn't even the case, for Manchester United will no doubt keep trading, and keep a good distance ahead of the chasing pack. For many smaller clubs, afforded little airtime and in much graver peril, this is not the case, yet the majority of their fans have been able to conduct themselves in a far more respectable manner than many hysterical Man Utd fans.

I heard of one United fan who tore up his season ticket in protest after the defeat against Chelsea. Nice going. There are no home games left this season. Great statement made there.

99% of clubs in English football would kill to be in United's position, takeover or no takeover. Petulant talk of forming a new club, as mentioned by a few members of the more insane anti-Glazer fringe, isn't just a ridiculous notion, it's an affront to sane footballing fans anywhere.

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