Tuesday 21 August 2012

The Spirit Of The "F" Word

Watched footie on the TV on Monday evening now that the Premier League and others have begun their season, with the sound off, of course, and soothing music on.  It was Everton against Manchester United and it was evident that the Olympics Spirit has lasted less time than it takes for a Prime Minister to do a U turn.

Within six minutes there had been a flying two footed tackle, a raking of the calf muscles, an obscene haranguing of the officials, a dive in the penalty area and sundry other aggressive antics. 

And that was just Manchester United.  As they did not win anything last year it may be that this time round that they intend to win ugly, as the footie people might say.

As the game wore on and Everton were not to be subdued it did not get any better.  Then Everton scored to the delight of their fans and held onto the lead in spite of a renewed assault.  The Manchester manager, Sir Alex Ferguson moved into his familiar berserker mood chewing his gum as it had never been chewed before.

Does his chewing gum loose its flavour on the bedpost overnight, I ask?  For the answer to this please see and hear on Youtube the Lonnie Donegan rendering of that immortal 1959 skiffle song.  The beautiful game this season looks to be as lovely as a particularly torrid Graeco-Roman wrestling bout.

So for real interest one should turn to the web site The Political Economy Of Football which is on footballeconomy dot com.  It seems that an analysis of supporters shows that Manchester United have only a low proportion of their support that are truly “local”.  The article on this has some surprising other results.

Another article deals with the fact that George Soros has taken an eight per cent holding in the recent Manchester United share issue.  This may or may not be connected to other investments in the owners Glazer brothers’ outfits.  But in any event there has been extensive shorting in the markets on these shares.

It may be that Ferguson has lost money on this.  He is good at losing money, notably on horses that don’t quite run.  This may explain his delayed retirement.  Or perhaps he was hoping for rapid rise in the share values to bolster the family fortunes.  The club are said to be amongst the richest and best endowed in the world.

The problem is that much of this wealth is mingled with a lot of parallel debt in uncertain markets and based on an economic activity that is even less certain.  For confirmation of this look at the situation at Portsmouth FC a once great club who are in dire trouble. 

Also look for Darlington1883, newly formed from the wreckage of the former Darlington club that collapsed in recent years, losing their ground and being thrust down the leagues.  Coventry City may be forced out of the Ricoh Arena to go goodness knows where.

Then there is Glasgow Rangers, a major and well supported club broken by fancy finance and not poor football.  They were sent down the Scottish Leagues because of poor accounting rather than play and perhaps out of the spite that seems to attend too many Scottish issues.

Could any of this happen to Manchester United?  If this can happen and has happened to other clubs then it can happen to any club.  The way things are it is very likely to be the experience of one or other clubs in the coming season.

One of the main sources of income to football these days comes from sponsorship by betting firms who now have significant revenue from punters making all sorts of wagers on results, who does what, and what happens when?

It is a pity that none of them are in the business of bets on who goes bust and by how much.  For that you have to go to the financial markets.

1 comment:

  1. "Sir Alex Ferguson moved into his familiar berserker mood chewing his gum as it had never been chewed before."

    When I consider his age and presumed wealth, I just don't know where the passion comes from.