Kick ‘em When They’re Down

I generally don’t care about other clubs affairs. As long as their interests don’t interfere with ours, we can live in relative peace. However, if you know me any at all, you know that I detest Manchester United.

I hate Manchester United Football Club more than Ryan Giggs hates Arsenal.

I want to see them fail. I want their arrogant, self-righteous, spoilt fans to suffer. I read with glee, the following bits from a World Soccer article posted yesterday:

· Manchester United’s owners are £1.1bn in debt – £400m more than previously known – after borrowing against their shopping mall business.

· Mortgage documents seen by the programme (BBC Panorama) show that the Glazers have borrowed £388m ($570m) against shopping malls and £66m ($95m) against their American National Football League team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

· A portion of the Glazer family’s £700m Manchester United debt will soon see them charged interest at a rate of 16.25%.

· Cristiano Ronaldo has not been replaced by a player of similar quality. Yet ticket prices have gone up by more than a third.

Note: It can be argued that there aren’t many players of Ronaldo’s ability but point taken.

· Mr. Green (City analyst Andy Green, 37, is the Manchester United supporter who first uncovered the extent of the Glazers’ debts) found mortgages – confirmed by the BBC – on 63 of 64 First Allied shopping centres [owned by the Glazers], totalling £388m ($570m).

· Four shopping centres – one each in Ohio, New Mexico, Texas and Georgia – have already gone bankrupt.

· When they bought Manchester United in 2005, the Glazer family borrowed £500m and paid the remaining £272 million in cash. Mr Green found that the Glazers had remortgaged 25 of their shopping centres in the six months before the takeover.

Am I a spiteful, envious Arsenal fan with too much time on his hands? If you are a United fan, you’ve probably already condemned me as such so there is no use trying to convince you otherwise. For the record however, I am none of the above. I am simply someone who has suffered mightily from defeats and abuse by United and their fans. In general, their fans back and embody the manager’s attitude.

I have witnessed and felt the effects of Ferguson’s disproportionate influence on referees. I’ve seen blind eyes turned by match, league, and FA officials when Horse-face nearly took Ashley Cole’s leg off by the knee, when Gary Neville kicked Jose Antonio Reyes out of the EPL literally, and when Scholes has repeatedly shown that he tackles with as much skill as I (try to) play golf – virtually none. I’ve seen Wayne Rooney dive time after time with impunity. His record for dissent is a joke, even when just a few seasons ago, there was a push to curb if not eradicate the appalling (admittedly sometimes deserved) treatment that refs receive. I’ve seen Ferguson demand extra, extra time when his team are down late in matches. And it has been granted. WTF!?!?

Let’s be clear though, Manchester United have set the standards in many ways and they are managed by a legend in Alex Ferguson, but for every accolade, there are ten negatives attributable to him, the fans, and club. Taggart famously said that he was keen on “knocking Liverpool off their bloody perch”. It’s time he looked in the mirror.

Think back to all the spoilt child-like rants and adolescent petulance we’ve witnessed from that man. At least Wenger admits he is a sore loser. At least Wenger faces the press whether he has won or lost. And what of the kid glove treatment Ferguson gets from the media, regardless of how much enmity he has for them?

I remember being looked at like I had two heads when I announced in a pub that I would rather see Chelsea win the league if Arsenal couldn’t win it. Those who heard me and couldn’t believe that I would say such a thing clearly don’t get the Arsenal/United rivalry. My United wounds are deep. Their fans hate us. Their players hate us. Fuck them!

All is fair in love and war and all that (not that I liken football to war) so I feel no remorse for the unbridled hatred I have for that shit club. I hope that they collapse under the weight of debt the Glazers have craftily put them under.

Goo’on the Yanks!

I am happier than a pig in shit, knowing that our financial position is manageable and theirs gets worse by the day. And again, it isn’t sour grapes and envy for the many trophies they’ve won. We have our issues but finances are not the most dire.

People need to remember that Arsene Wenger may be stubborn to a fault but he is an economist by trade. In the main, he is very level-headed and has the club’s best interest in mind. We’ve not won trophies recently but look at how we manage our money. Unless you’ve been on Uranus for the past five to ten years, you’ll have noticed that the Arsenal’s status as a major force in club football has gained significant momentum. That momentum needs to result in trophies. No doubt about it, but we are not living on the edge like most top clubs are doing. Never take that for granted, especially in the current economic environment.

Would you prefer to be in our position or that of a club with massive, massive debt that they cannot control? Or maybe worse yet, to be like a club with loads of cash but coming from a sugar daddy like Chelsea or Manchester City, instead of having a self-sustainable plan?

We aren’t perfect. We aren’t nearly as successful as we’d like to be. I have lost faith in many players in the current squad, but things could be much worse. United have a massive debt that is growing. I hope it gets even worse.

Keep the Faith

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