Manchester United Football Club - what does it mean?
What images does it conjure up for you?
Sir Matt, the Red shirt, the blue '48 Final shirt, the "birth
of the Babes" at Huddersfield, a snowy night in Bilbao, Roger
Byrne lifting two successive championship trophies, Munich, the king's
goal at Wembley in '63, the trilogy of Law Best and Charlton, 1968,
Doc's Red Army, the '85 Norman conquest, Alex Ferguson, the second
coming, the tears after a very long 26 year wait, the double, Eric's
double-double scouse buster or the youthful team of today?
Memories of a club which has it's roots - deep, deep roots
embedded in Manchester.
A very special tradition that has spread far and wide around the
globe. Even in the 60's you could go anywhere and mention Manchester
United and whether you were in the remotest part of the Andes or
deepest Brazil, the name would be understood and the names of the
trilogy recited back to you.
With modern communications the message has been received and
understood by more and more and each of those people wants a part of
the club. The global appeal has spread ever wider.
It's that very global appeal which has attracted a rather
The difference between you and me and him though is that he is not
attracted by a football team in Manchester with a rich tradition, he
is attracted by the opportunity to make millions out of that rich
tradition by using us as a "battering ram" (his words) to
further his TV empire.
Bastardisation is what I call it.
Do you really think he cares?
He cares so much that he didn't even bother to brief his Chief
Executive, Mark Booth about who plays at left back for the team. And
Booth couldn't even be bothered to find out.
Now that's caring.
So - judge the book - not the cover.
Take the News Corporation Annual Report with it's corporate full
colour glossy cover - "spot varnish sir?" "cover up the
cracks sir" "yes please".
Peel back the cover and look at the pages. Examine the words. Read
between the lines and look a little deeper. Perhaps a different vision
will reveal itself to you.
We are all flawed in some way, we know that. You either choose to
ignore those flaws or choose to ignore the person. Sometimes, however,
the flaws are so conspicuous that they are impossible to ignore,
problem is you can't ignore the person either.
And what about our dear Martin?
"I have to think about the pensioners who might lose out if I
don't take up the best offer." He said.
"Is he really concerned with the former state workers in the
USA whose pensions are managed by Marathon Asset Management? The
current pensioners reduction on a season ticket at Old Trafford is 10
pounds per season. Perhaps Martin should have shown his concerns for
the elderly nearer to home." From the latest editorial in Red
"I will sit in front of anybody and argue the toss. Nobody
will convince me that I have done the wrong thing." Martin
Edwards stated in the Times. So why has he steadfastly refused to do
so ever since?
"I am not about to do anything that destroys the health and
tradition of this club. If I do then I deserve to be strung up".
Martin Edwards again. He has proposed the selling of Manchester United
to Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB - read on................
From India's Economic Times: "In Bombay there are now three
outstanding warrants for the arrest of K. Rupert Murdoch. The first
stems from a talk show that defamed Gandhi, the second came about
because the first was ignored, the third issued in December 1997 is
for the telecast of obscene films on the Star TV network."
Is this the man who will look after the tradition of our club - he
doesn't seem to have bothered about India's tradition does he?
The following statement from Russ Baker's article in the Columbia
Journalism Review, May/June 1998 entitled "Murdoch's Mean
Machine" just about sums it up:
"Murdoch uses his diverse holdings, which include newspapers,
magazines, sports teams, a movie studio, and a book publisher, to
promote his own financial interests at the expense of real
newsgathering, legal and regulatory rules, and journalistic ethics. He
wields his media as instruments of influence with politicians who can
aid him, and savages his competitors in his news columns. If ever
someone demonstrated the dangers of mass power being concentrated in
few hands, it would be Murdoch."
Do we need to read more? If we do, this is from the same
"Murdoch's British tabloid, The Sun, recently reversed its
opposition to the controversial Millennium Dome - an enormous
exhibition hall ("the world's largest dome") to be built in
London - after Murdoch's British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) satellite
service became a key investor. The English reading public had seen
this before. Murdoch's firing of editors Harold Evans of The Times (in
1982) and Andrew Neil of the Sunday Times (in 1994) were both widely
felt to be over reporting by the papers that angered the Tory
governments -- during a period when government decisions were
massively enriching the tycoon."
Does he seem the right man for the job?
The whole article can be found at:
Or perhaps you would like to read this, from the Los Angeles Times
Monday August 1997: "Playing by His Own Rules" by Michael A.
It starts: "Potential Dodger owner Rupert Murdoch already
knows the power - and perils - of pro sports. His foray into
Australian rugby sparked a civil war that threatened the game's
And if you do, go to: http://www.csun.edu/~kab42291/latimes1.html
If anyone then has any doubt at all about the pages of this
particular book or it's cover, there's plenty more where that came
Now let's get back to supporting Manchester United, after we've
made sure it still exists.
"If you want to control a people all you have to do is remove
their memory." George Orwell.
But remember, "He who owns the past controls the future".
So let's keep control.
© Copyright Paul Windridge 1998