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Dec 15, 2012 7:45pm
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Back on May 12 as the Manchester United players were leaving the Stadium of
Light pitch in full knowledge Manchester City had – by the slimmest of margins –
pipped them to the title, Sir Alex Ferguson ushered his charges over to
acknowledge the thousands of United fans who had journeyed to Sunderland. Paris Lenon Jersey . Earlier this week, those
very same fans were openly hostile towards Ferguson as they questioned his
motives behind recent public support of the Glazer family. Its no coincidence
that Fergusons support for the owners comes at a time that the club will shortly
be listing on the New York Stock Exchange where approximately 10 percent of the
clubs shares will be made available. Just a month ago, Forbes in their annual
survey of the Worlds 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams placed a value of $2.3
billion on a club that has won 12 of 20 Barclays Premier League titles.  Seems
the Glazers and their financial advisors arent in agreement with Forbes. If, as
expected, the most famous IPO since Facebooks flop earlier in the summer is
floated at the top end of the offer price of $20 per share the value placed on
the Manchester United would be an astronomical $3.3 billion. To put perspective
on that $3.3 billion valuation, a consortium led by Magic Johnson purchased the
LA Dodgers for a reported $2 billion in March. Then factor in Glazer purchasing
the club for £790 million ($1.2 billion) only back in late 2005. Glazers
relationship with Manchester United, if you can call it that, started in spring
of 2003 when Manchester United PLC was a publicly traded entity listed on the
London Stock Exchange when the relatively unknown owner of NFLs Tampa Bay
Buccaneers scooped up a less than three percent stake in the fabled football
club. Just over a year removed from that transaction and after a series of
further minority purchases, Malcolm Glazers holding had risen to a threatening
20 percent stake. As he continued to purchase shares on the open market by the
fall of 2004, Glazer was in position to present a bid to the Manchester United
board. When the bid eventually came it was rejected out of hand. The single
concern cited by the board was over the extremely large amount of borrowed money
Glazer would be using to purchase the remainder of the outstanding share
capital. At this time an Irish consortium led by two racing partners of
Fergusons held a near 30 percent stake in the club which by now Glazer and his
advisors had focused their attention on away from the board. This they
identified was the key to gaining complete control. When in May 2005, the Irish
tycoons eventually agreed to sell to Glazer their friendship with Ferguson had
soured over the ownership and breeding rights of a horse. It was now only a
matter of time before Glazer would be in position to seize full control – which
he successfully did less than six months later. Even though under the House of
Glazer the club has enjoyed more success than anyone else in jolly old England –
with a haul of silverware that would rival anyone in world football – the
Glazers have never received anything resembling the type of fan support Roman
Abramovich or Sheik Mansour undoubtedly have. In fact its been quite the
opposite. Since Day 1, the Glazer family – who have even flat out refused UK
government attempts to engage with their fans – have been met with open
hostility and public protests from large swathes of the clubs support – from the
very ardent even down to the most docile. Simply put, as Abramovich and Mansour
have invested their own money, the Glazers have used debt in their attempt to
keep Manchester United at the top table of world football. Duncan Drasdo, the
CEO of the Manchester United Supporters Trust a group that has adamantly opposed
Glazer since his first purchase of shares in early 2003, is vehemently against
the IPO. In an email, Drasdo told TSN.ca, “Prior to the Glazers 2005 takeover
Manchester United was exceptionally successful both on and off the pitch and
growing commercial revenues every year. After the Glazers 2005 takeover
Manchester United was exceptionally successful both on and off the pitch and
growing commercial revenues every year. So not much difference?” “Well no –
theyve cost the club £550 million in costs associated with their takeover – all
lost to the club and the forthcoming IPO will mean another $633m and a further
£350m still in debt after (the) IPO pays down £73m”. A credible report out of
London in midweek placed the total cost of interest and bank payments to be well
in excess of  $750 million during Glazers close to seven-year reign. Put another
way, this works out an irrational $375,000 a day. Isnt it marriage that comes
with the seven-year itch? Meanwhile, the Glazers themselves have benefited
financially – taking over $50 million in consultancy fees and $15 million in the
form of a dividend from the clubs coffers. Drasdo maintains too high a cost has
come with Glazer. “So cost is astronomical and ticket prices have gone through
the roof to pay for Glazers ownership. And remember – prior to them taking over
not only were we debt free but we actually had a £40 million ($60 million)
surplus in the bank on top of probably the strongest squad in Europe.” “There
are many more issues but the simple money equation says it all £550m already
gone – more than a £1 billion pending total and compare that with City and
Chelsea where the owners have put similar amounts of money in.” Referencing the
original managerial legend who led the club to its very first European triumph,
Drasdo concluded, “However we dont need a sugar daddy at Manchester United. We
are a proud and independent club and like all clubs we prefer to stand on our
own feet – live within our means and take glory in our achievements because
theyve been earned honestly and with integrity just like Sir Matt Busby would
have insisted.” Now with less than a fortnight before the most winningest team
in English football club history are expected to make their debut on Wall
Street, speculation has centred on some of the fine print matter for the Initial
Public Offering. This has come in the form of substantial profiting for the most
senior members of the Old Trafford management based on Wall Street success. Just
yesterday as Manchester Uniteds most senior executives began a worldwide tour to
meet with potential institutional investors, the current Lord of the Old
Trafford manor was forced to issue a statement denying that he would be one of
those to profit financially. Last season, Fergusons tilt at a record 20th
English league title came unstuck courtesy of his jet propelled noisy
neighbours. This season, City will be joined by a vastly improved Chelsea and to
a lesser extent both Arsenal and Liverpool should push the giants of English
football. Add now the New York Stock Exchange and the clubs $300 million
flotation to that list. Where the Glazers will find investors do not possess the
same type of blind emotion as Manchester United fans do especially those who
stuck with the club through the decades of Liverpool dominance. This for a club
that was formed in 1902 over a $4,000 debt. WISE DECISION With Roman Abramovichs
recent failed attempt to purchase Battersea Power Station the London landmark
made iconic on the Pink Floyd album cover Animals the clubs lofty ambition to
build a 60,000 seat stadium will refocuses on the Chelsea Pitch Owners. A
collective that number in their thousands that own the freehold land to Stamford
Bridge and who turned back Abramovich in his attempt to purchase their shares
last fall. This morning comes news that ex-club captain Dennis Wise has stepped
down as a director of CPO. With talk last fall of mystery purchasers buying
large blocks of shares ahead of the vote to manipulate the outcome John Le Carre
like reports speculate on the reason for Wises abrupt departure on intrusions
into his private live by an opponent of Chelseas bid. Now free of his national
duty escorting the Queen to the opening of the London Olympics perhaps its time
to send James Bond down to Stamford Bridge. DOT COM JERSEYSHIRT BOOM On Monday,
Manchester United announced an unprecedented seven-year sponsorship deal with
Chevrolet  that could net the club $600 million over its lifetime – or $85
million a season. The deal represents a near three-fold increase on the clubs
current agreement with AON that the Financial Times reports to be worth £80m
[$120 million] over its four-year term. It also outstrips by an extremely wide
margin Barcelonas shirt deal worth £25 million per season in this current era
where shirt sponsorship deals have entered another stratosphere.  With media
impressions the most intrinsic metric for when clubs attach values to
sponsorship deals the boom in internet football culture can ironically be the
only rational explanation for the recent giant leaps in prices. Think of all
them global eyes fixated on all them branded images as they read umpteen
accounts of their clubs latest exploits. If though a harbinger of things to come
for when Ticker Symbol MANU rings out on Wall Street when news immediately broke
of the deal GMs shares were down one percent. ONE GIANT STEP, 38 REMAINING With
the likes of the Champions and Arsenal taking their roadshows to the Far East
and with Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool taking part in the 2012 Herbalife World
Football Challenge, Manchester United playing in South Africa and Shanghai for
the first time in league history all 20 clubs have participated in pre-season
tours that have taken them outside of England. Clubs will cite growing global
fan bases require they do, the highly remunerated marketers will talk of brand
awareness but in reality its an exercise in softening up those who are opposed
to the so termed 39th Game. A series of Barclays Premier League fixtures that
will see all the clubs jaunt off to football rich destinations like Dubai,
Sydney and who knows
  even Montreal. The idea of playing this additional
competitive match overseas was put back in the fun box after reports first
leaked back in February 2008. Beginning August 18, listen to live play by play
coverage of the Barclays Premier League Match of the Day on TSN Radio 1290, TSN
Radio 1050, TSN Radio 990 and TEAM Radio 1410. Kick Off with the Pre-Game Show
at 9:30am et/6:30am pt. Calais Campbell Jersey . The American player
hit 21 aces but it wasnt enough against his Belgian opponent, who is enjoying an
impressive season in which he is climbing the rankings. Goffin started the year
at No. Larry Fitzgerald Elite Jersey . Holtby, just
22 and third on the goalie depth chart to start the season, drew dramatic
Dryden-esque comparisons with his playoff performance. Smith, who was placed on
re-entry waivers by GM Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning just last year,
has been instrumental in getting the Coyotes in the Western Conference Final. http://www.shopthecardinalsjersey.com/patrick-peterson-jersey
. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. At one end of the ice, the Canadiens fans
cheered their former beloved goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who earned a shutout
against his old club. Daryl Washington Womens Jersey . Johnson
pitched seven solid innings and ended his career-worst four-game losing skid,
leading the Miami Marlins past the Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 Thursday. Patrick Peterson Jersey . —Chris Paul joked
that the Trail Blazers near-comeback against the Clippers made for good
television.NEW YORK LSU was a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press college
football poll, marking the first time since 2008 a team has received all the
first-place votes during the regular season. The Tigers (10-0), who have been
No. 1 since Sept. 25, received all 60 first-place votes from the media panel in
the rankings released Sunday. The last unanimous top-ranked team in the regular
season was Texas on Oct. 26, 2008. Oklahoma State (10-0) was No. 2 for the
second straight week, but the rest of the top five was scrambled a bit after
Boise State and Stanford lost for the first time. Alabama moved up to No. 3,
Oregon jumped two spots to No. 4 and Oklahoma moved to No. 5. LSU had been
sharing first-place votes for the last month and a half with Alabama, Oklahoma
and Boise State. But as those teams each took a loss, the Tigers picked up
support. Boise State was the only team other than LSU receiving a first-place
vote last week, but after TCU upset the Broncos 36-35 at home on Saturday, the
Tigers made a clean sweep. No. 8 Stanford, which lost 53-30 at home to Oregon,,
and No. Michael Floyd Womens Jersey. 10 Boise State
each fell five spots this week. The rest of the top 10 had Arkansas at No. 6,
Clemson at No. 7 and Virginia Tech at No. 9. The only other undefeated major
college team, Houston from Conference USA, was No. 11. No. 21 Penn State fell
nine spots after it lost its first game following the firing of coach Joe
Paterno, 17-14 at home to No. 17 Nebraska. Four teams dropped out of the
rankings after losses: Cincinnati, Auburn, Texas and Georgia Tech. Cincinnati
dropping out leaves the Big East with no ranked teams this week. The teams
entering the rankings this week were No. 19 TCU, No. 23 Florida State, No. 24
Notre Dame and No. 25 Baylor. All had been previously ranked earlier in the
season. Michigan State is No. 12, followed by Georgia, South Carolina and
Wisconsin. No. 16 Kansas State, Nebraska, Southern California, TCU and Michigan
round out the top 20. Penn State and No. 22 Southern Miss are in the final five,
along with three of the newcomers. The Big Ten and SEC have the most ranked
teams with five each. ’ ’ ’ 

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