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Quote of the Day - Sure, winning isn't everything. It's the only thing. - Harry Sanders

Globalization And The World's Game

With finals over and summer school not yet in session, I have finally had a chance to catch up on some much needed rest as well as the news from around the globe. For those who have read my posts before, you know that I am a big sports fan and nothing could be bigger than my love for soccer. I enjoy both playing and watching a match whenever possible so it was with great interest that I see that Malcolm Glazer has increased his bid for a controlling share in Manchester United, of the English Premier League, arguably the most famous club in all of sports. We’re talking on the level of the Lakers, Yankees, and Dallas Cowboys all rolled into one. The proposed takeover is fascinating both from the fan and business standpoints.

The takeover bid fascinates me because of the adamant opposition from the United faithful. Perhaps the fans see something in Glazer that I don’t (and I probably don’t as an Arsenal supporter) that makes them especially apprehensive. The supporters express concern that he has no “football” knowledge and that all he cares about is the mighty marketing dollars that the club generates. I would also guess its a big hit to the ego that an American would control the team.

It may be true that Glazer lacks “football” knowledge, but I urge the United Fans to look at his track record with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to Glazer’s ownership, the Bucs were perennial losers in the NFL. After his purchase, Tampa Bay won its first Super Bowl. Glazer accomplished this feat by hiring people that know the game to take care of on-the-field decisions and investing in players. He didn’t make himself head coach or starting quarterback. If the team hadn’t won, would it have been a good investment? No, winners make money and Glazer is a smart guy who likes to make money. After all, I doubt the United investment is a $1.5 billion dollar hobby horse. If Manchester United doesn’t win, his investment doesn’t perform and the ever-growing Manchester United fan base stalls. My bet? Glazer hires the best coaches and players available so that he produces a winner. Not to mention he has only to raise this team from a third-place finish this year and not the bottom of the table (although to United Fans, third place behind Chelsea and Arsenal might as well be last place).

As for an American grabbing control of the most famous English club in the world, how is it different from the line-up that the team currently fields? The squad includes an American, Argentine, Dutchman, Frenchman, and Norwegian, among other nationalities. The players were chosen not based on their nationality but on their ability to win. There is no reason to think that Glazer thinks of anything but winning even if he is from this side of the pond. If the United supporters need any more reassurance, they need only look at Chelsea and their billionaire Russian owner.

If my German car is assembled in South Carolina, what’s wrong with my British football being assembled by an American?


Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Friday, May 13, 2005

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