Here's why Manchester United want cash curbs… they are scared of City
22:00 GMT, 11 September 2012
23:02 GMT, 11 September 2012
He’s got a big mouth, Dave Whelan. Comes in handy on occasions, though. Like last week, when he used it to reveal the driving force behind the move to impose financial limitations on clubs in the Premier League.
Manchester United are the architects here. Who would have thought it Whelan, as chairman of Wigan Athletic, supports the plan. Some smaller clubs’ owners do because they think it will mean spending less and lead to greater competition at the lower end. What did Whelan give as United’s motivation for such a game-changing move, however An altruistic wish to safeguard club finances The desire to move towards competitive equality Not exactly.
‘I think Manchester City have shaken them up a little bit,’ said Whelan. Oh, Dave. Bigmouth strikes again. You’ve said the loud thing quiet and the quiet thing loud. People aren’t meant to know that. They must continue believing that football’s established elite want financial controls for the good of the game; not to maintain a cosy monopoly. If they realise that United fear City on the pitch, so must legislate them out of contention instead, the whole plan falls down.
Telling it straight: Dave Whelan (right) had some forthright views about financial limitations
It is increasingly tough at places like Wigan, we know that. Yet Manchester United don’t care about the little guys. David Gill, the chief executive, simply intends upping the drawbridge on the clubs challenging United’s supremacy. He wants one specific element of football finance — yearly profit — to be analysed and used as the marker.
Gill won’t lobby for other forms of debt to be considered because, thanks to the business models of the Glazer family and of Sheik Mansour, United are hundreds of millions of pounds in the red and City don’t owe a bean.
Various proposals are being considered and some club owners favour salary curbs. Not United. They can afford big salaries and want to keep it that way. City can match them, too, and more. It is this power that frightens their rivals. There was no talk of curbs when United were the Premier League’s biggest beasts, unopposed.
The new financial rules focus on one element of a balance sheet, as if that is the entire economic picture. And football in 2012 is a snapshot, a mere moment in time, some clubs are up, some are down, some are in flux. The clubs pushing hardest for controls are those who have the largest capacity stadiums already in place, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Manchester rivals: City's Sergio Aguero rocks United in last season's 6-1 drubbing at Old Trafford
Why Liverpool would support such a
measure, who knows They are limited by the size of Anfield and behind
many of their rivals commercially. Nobody heard about financial fair
play from Arsenal when they were boxed in at Highbury.
if limitations on spending linked to revenue are introduced, how
quickly can any club grow An elite cabal would map the landscape in
English football for decades.
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club have at some time spent money they did not have. Manchester
United started that way. In January 1902, Newton Heath had debts of
2,670 and were served with a winding-up order. Harry Stafford, the
captain, recruited four local businessmen to invest 500 each and on
April 24, Manchester United were born.
may seem like ancient history, but there is not a club in existence who
have not at some time used money that was not generated by the business
to propel their advancement. One of the most outspoken critics of owner
investment in Europe is Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim
Watzke. Yet roughly a decade ago Dortmund received 1.6million to keep
them afloat from — get this — Bayern Munich. The deal was so wholesome
it has only just come to light.
were close to being the Leeds United of the Bundesliga. Spending money
they did not have almost killed them; yet it also brought great success
initially. Now the club are financially solvent and on top again, was
part of their vast and lucrative support not maintained by the days when
Dortmund won trophies by flouting economic logic
is it therefore not the greatest hypocrisy now to campaign against
clubs who use legitimate owner investment, without going into debt, when
Dortmund benefited from a considerably more dubious practice
Premier League clubs will now consider the various regulatory
proposals and a majority vote of 14 is required for change. First, they
may wish to consider who is doing the proposing and why. Ask what’s in
it for them. For Manchester United, that’s the bottom line, always.
US Open needs an Italian job
Andy Murray won the US Open on a New York workday in an arena that was mostly full, abiding by a schedule mapped out to conform to the demands of Monday Night Football.
This is the fifth consecutive US Open men’s final that has missed its Sunday primetime slot due to poor weather.
The tournament makes good money, but its haphazard nature means many now regard it as the fourth Grand Slam in terms of occasion. Something needs to be done, either a roof or a shift in location back to the west coast, but it cannot continue like this. Organisers say structural complications concerning the foundations at Flushing Meadows make a roof impossible.
Grand designs: Flushing Meadows needs a makeover or the US Open must find a new home
Digressing slightly, Filippo Brunelleschi designed the dome that sits atop the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. To do so, he used more than four million bricks and pioneered engineering techniques of breathtaking technical and mathematical genius.
He invented a new hoisting machine and was granted the first modern patent for his design of a river transportation vessel. If he could do that in 1419, the greatest engineering minds in America can scheme a way out of this in 2012.
After the Games, clarity begins at home
‘The greatest show on earth’ read the headline in the New York Post on Monday morning. Yet, before we embark on another round of self-congratulation, it must be pointed out that the story concerned is not Britain’s glorious Olympic summer but the New York Jets’ 48-28 win over the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.
For Olympic news, specifically Paralympic news, you had to turn to page, er, you had to turn to page, um, actually, forget it. There was no Paralympic news in the New York Post. Not in the New York Times, either, despite a dedicated sports pull-out and the boast of ‘all the news that’s fit to print’.
There were shorts on cycling, Nascar motor sport and a whole page of roof ideas for the tornado-blighted Billie Jean King National Tennis Center but of London’s grand Olympic finale, nothing.
Who are you Tony Schumacher is in high spirits
USA Today found room for six paragraphs in the Update section, above the death of the president of the National Amateur Athletic Union and Tony Schumacher recording his ninth Top Fuel victory in the Mac Tools US Nationals. No, me neither.
And this is not to knock the American media. They have to sell newspapers, too. If the British public had not embraced all aspects of the Games so magnificently, it would not have received blanket coverage on these pages, either.
Realise, though, that while we think our Olympics has been the most wonderful life-changing event of the 21st century, events always feel bigger when they take place on your doorstep.
Melbourne promotes itself as sport’s capital because it has nine Australian Rules Football teams, hosts Australian Open tennis, the Australian Grand Prix, Test matches, rugby internationals and the Melbourne Cup. What’s the Melbourne Cup It’s a two-mile horse race dating back to 1861. Australia stops for it. Beyond their shores, however, it has about as much significance as the Grand National does in Bulgaria. But Melbourne thinks the world is watching. All hosts do.
So we cannot simply presume that progress will follow London’s Olympic triumph without affirmative individual action. People thought China’s Olympics were going to revolutionise that country, too. Then, less than three years later, the artistic consultant for the Bird’s Nest stadium, Ai Weiwei, was arrested and held for months without charge.
‘It sends out the message that nobody is immune,’ said Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch. Some change.
We take nothing for granted from here. Sport makes a difference in people’s lives but real social change is achieved in the years when the circus isn’t in town. Grass roots involvement, whether sporting or political, is the key.
Basically, if you really want to make an impact on disability, start with a foreign policy that doesn’t require so many young men to have their legs blown off.
Crazy gets you nowhere, Paolo
Madness: Paolo Di Canio's Swindon lost their first game at the County Ground for over a year
Swindon Town lost their first home game for a year last weekend. Paolo Di Canio knew instinctively whose fault it was. Not his. ‘Maybe I overestimate some of my players,’ he said.
Maybe the players aren’t the only ones enjoying generous evaluation. The week previously, Di Canio had told Swindon’s supporters to support Oxford United if they disagreed with his treatment of goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.
Di Canio had substituted the player after only 22 minutes of a defeat against Preston North End following a mistake. It sparked a furious reaction from Foderingham, who kicked a water bottle and went to sit in the stand.
‘Come to the ground and I will give you your season ticket money back,’ Di Canio told dissenters. ‘But then don’t return. Swindon don’t need these types of supporters.’
An attendance of 8,072 for Saturday’s game against Leyton Orient suggests they do. Swindon need every supporter they can get. What they don’t need is crazy. Crazy gets you nowhere. First the manager does crazy, then his players do crazy, and then everybody gets crazy and the next thing you know you’ve lost at home to Leyton Orient.
Foderingham is a 21-year-old goalkeeper going through a rough patch. That happens. He does not need to be publicly humiliated or derided as ‘the worst pro ever’.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s hairdryer is part of football legend but he turns it on only in the dressing room. Big man Di Canio won’t have won the respect of his players by making a rookie keeper look small, which might explain why Swindon then presented Orient with their first points of the season. Crazy.
Rory's heading for GB
It can be no surprise that Rory McIlroy is edging towards declaring for Great Britain, not Ireland, when golf becomes an Olympic event in 2016.
Although north and south are united in international golf, McIlroy’s leaning is ever more apparent.
Having won the 2011 US Open at Congressional, he was marching towards the scorer’s hut to sign his card when a member of the crowd triumphantly threw a tricolour around his shoulders. Two steps later it lay discreetly on the ground.
Not the action of a man who sees himself celebrating Olympic gold with a few rebel songs.
Get real, Rafa
Launching a book called Champions League Dreams, Rafael Benitez said he was surprised not to be offered the Liverpool job in the summer.
So, having sacked Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool were supposed to replace him with another former manager trading on distant glories
The Fenway Sports Group have made some mistakes, but they’re not completely without marbles.