Gory, Gory Man United!
That headline is not a typo. We’re sure many English soccer fans feel the same way about Manchester United. The question is why. Well, let us count the ways:
Money: “New car, caviar, four-star daydream/Think I’ll buy me a football team.” Pink Floyd was just 32 years behind the 2005 acquisition of the controlling interest of United by Malcolm Glazer and his family and the club’s never-ending spending of cash in the pursuit of continued success, even if it meant going into $660 million of debt and selling stock in New York.
Arrogance: We understand it would be easy, after 19 first-division championships (11 of them Premier League), 11 FA Cups, four League Cups and four major European championships, to look down upon the unwashed masses of English soccer. Even United’s website welcomes viewers to “the world’s most popular football team,” but a little humility every two or three seasons would be appreciated.
Bling: Not the kind that’s worn, but it’s the trophies acquired from all the domestic and international championships that would fill several rooms. We figure a walk through them would bring some awe and intimidation, followed by hatred.
Alex Ferguson: The long-time manager, who just reached his 1,000th match as United’s leader, has mellowed in his later years. Still, from the incessant gum-chewing to his rants on victimized fourth officials to what we call “Sir Alex Time,” the excessive amount of stoppage time (often when United is losing) that fans believe is granted for the sole purpose of allowing United to steal some points, there are enough reasons to put his face on a dart board.
There is, however, an alternative in Manchester. It’s not that wealthy blue club on the east side, but it’s FC United of Manchester, which was created in 2005 by United fans who objected to the Glazers’ purchase. Instead of a traditional ownership, supporters own and vote on club matters. It has enjoyed success in its brief existence with two promotions and an appearance in the 2010-11 FA Cup’s main second round. Attending a Red Rebel match and watching low-paid players, some playing for the love of the game, some with hopes of a future at higher levels, would seem like the perfect way to “flip the bird” at the big club.