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News Item Date: 02/07/99

Manchester United, Murdoch and the defeat of the BSkyB bid

AUTHORS: Andy Walsh and Adam Brown

This is the story of how a group of football fans stopped the world's biggest media mogul from buying the world's biggest football club. From two of those most closely involved in the campaign, it describes how the audacious attempt by Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB television company to buy Manchester United was halted.

Nobody said it could be done. "You're tilting at windmills", they claimed. 'A waste of time, after all, no-one stops Murdoch'. What could be expected of a Government that had spent the previous five years cosying up to him? What could be expected of an industry that had spent the previous ten years selling anything from tickets to TV rights, shirts to shares, and bed linen to boardrooms to the highest bidder? And who the Hell did this bunch of "raggy-arsed football fans" think they were in the face of such opposition?

Yet, after seven months of hard campaigning, a coalition of forces, centred around and led by the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association, forced the British Government to block the bid and save Manchester United from being another of Murdoch's many conquests. How did the media world react? How did the football world react?

From the announcement of BSkyB's intention to take-over Manchester United, and the PLC board's decision to accept the bid on the dark night of 9 September 2020, this book tracks those improbable and extraordinary events. The book sets the battle in the context of Manchester United's flotation on the Stock Exchange, and the wider commercialiation of football in the 1990s, a process which led many commentators to view the BSkyB bid as the next 'logical' progression. Walsh and Brown describe how IMUSA and Shareholders United Against Murdoch, brought in competition lawyers, politicians, football organisations, City financiers, journalists, academics, Manchester United fans and supporters of a host of other clubs to form an irresistible barrier to the Dirty Digger.

Drawing on a unique variety of sources - from oral testaments, recollections, original source material, and media coverage, to private discussions, meetings and the unique experiences of the two authors - NOT FOR SALE is the story no-one else can tell and reveals the full story behind the fans' victory.

The book will be published in September by Mainstream Publishing - advance orders available for £10.99 including postage and packing.

All cheques should be made payable to IMUSA and sent to: PO Box 69, Stretford, Manchester M32 0UZ.