Saturday, October 28, 2006

Glazer on hunt for Far Eastern fools gold?

According to MarketingWeek the Glazer family has tightened its grip over United with the recent departures of Andy Anson, Nick Humby and Peter Draper. Questions are being raised as to who exactly is pulling the strings at United, it has been suggested that the three high profile departures came about because of the increasing influence of the Glazer family.

One suggestion put forward by a media guru is that United will once again attempt to try to further their interests in the Far East market. The fact is United have already tried and failed with their own United branded Cafe's in that part of the world. Furthermore, the clubs 2005 tour of the Far East was played in front of substantially less than full houses. IF the demand and interest was really there then these games would have been sold out, the fact that they weren't speaks volumes.

The whole Asian football market is a media myth, only fools in the world of marketing believe the myth, it is a myth created by gurus and spin doctors.

Fans in Asia are interested in Football, but they're not passionate followers of any particular English clubs, they are more likely to follow the club who their current favourite star player is playing for, like Beckham or Park, so they are very fickle. As far as football goes, chasing the Far East market will lead to nothing but wasted time, it will be a search for fools gold.

The only serious market is the domestic market - matchday income is by far United's biggest earner. IF United could gain complete control of their own tv rights then things would look very different , but that will never happen because it would take agreement from two thirds of the Premier League clubs - and for them to agree would be like Turkeys voting for Christmas.

Many serious commentators believe that the levels of debt at United are too high and that it's only a matter of time before the whole thing collapses.

Sure United are doing ok on the pitch right now, but United wont be able to compete with Chelsea in the long term without serious investment.

Last summer United were the Premierships lowest net spenders, that was unheard of until the Glazers arrived.

Given the appalling levels of debt perhaps United would have been better off being owned by Murdoch. The bottom line is Glazer couldn't afford United, but he was able to acquire the club precisely because it was so well run. The irony is, if United had racked up a lot of debt prior to the takeover, then Glazer would never have been able to finance such a ridiculous deal.

Now United are in serious financial trouble and it's likely the Glazers will attempt restructure the clubs debts with a securitisation deal which will end up leaving the club locked in with little money for transfers in the years ahead. David Gill rightly told fans at the last AGM that Glazer would be bad for United, because a club like United can only be successful on the pitch with substantial continual investment, Malcolm Glazer cannot afford investment. Glazers plan is flawed, the club and Glazer is on borrowed time.

As for Andy Anson, he was booted off the board by Glazer and then brought back post takeover. Rightly or wrongly Anson has been portrayed as a Glazer stooge in all of this, and so no hardcore United fans are going to lose any sleep over him being muscled out, the only pity is we are stuck with the Glazer regime who are on the road to nowhere.

MarketingWeek

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