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Money makes the world go round...

fans viewsThis week Paul laments the decision to take the first team to Saudi Arabia while also commenting on the clubs decision to brand the Munich memorial on the front of Old Trafford withe AIG logo.

Earlier this year, I was reading the paper when I came upon a story from Saudi Arabia. The story concerned a woman who, after being dragged from a car was repeatedly and viciously raped by a gang of men. I evinced a wry grin when the offenders got nine months prison each, on appeal the pathetic sentence only augmented by a further year. The next sentence made me nearly drop the paper. The woman, what we might call in Britain “The Victim”, received thirty lashes, for travelling in a car with a man that wasn’t in her family. Thirty lashes, for gang rape? It’s no wonder people avoid it…


And so I scratched my head when I learned that United were hopping to the Middle East in a 6,000 mile round-trip to play in Sami Al Jaber’s testimonial. Yes, Sami Al Jaber, Wolves’ finest, who had a sterling career across four appearances for the Midland club. Luckily, I’ve got a huge mane of hair, otherwise the scratching, which went on for some ruminative time, might have seen me digging knuckle-deep into my skull. Sure, I can see why just maybe it would be good to get away to the sun for a while, although you would think the players that came through the gruelling Reading game would have gladly given up the jetlag and temperatures that would make a camel cry for home comforts. I’m sure the hand of the Glazers is not to far behind this little venture either, as the reported £1m can once again go towards their huge debt payments (it might even slow the escalating ticket prices, but don’t hold your breath) and Brand Manchester United is once again flung to the reaches of the world untouched by slick (or sick) marketing.


My main concern, aside from the obvious, is that Saudi Arabia is one of the most backward, horrible places on earth. Women are distinctly third-rate, and a type of gender apartheid is rife in the country, one example being the fact that they are not allowed to drive cars, and the staunch Wahhabi strain of Islam propagated in the country means human rights and equality goes out of the window with common sense and decency. For one more pertinent example, here are some reasons why women are not allowed to give testimony in court:


  1. Women are much more emotional than men and will, as a result of their emotions, distort their testimony.
  2. Women do not participate in public life, so they will not be capable of understanding what they observe.
  3. Women are dominated completely by men, who by the grace of God are deemed superior; therefore, women will give testimony according to what the last man told them.
  4. Women are forgetful, and their testimony cannot be considered reliable.


Just see the story above, about a woman who, mistreated in the most heinous and intrusive way, is lashed for being in a car with someone not of their family. Criminals are still mutilated and beheaded for crimes, and you are more likely to find a kosher butcher or a synagogue in Riyadh than any sort of Due Process.  In short, what are Manchester United, bar the obvious dollar-signs-in-the-eyes reasons, doing in a country with this type of record and international image? Everybody in the West glad-hands and backslaps the Saudis, mainly because of their financial clout and oil reserves, but for me it sullies the reputation of Manchester United when our players and representatives are forced to grin in front of cameras and smile and honour a place so morally backward and reprehensible. I just hope when the United players look into the stands and see only men, they realise just what kind of place they are in.


One more thing that has seriously, seriously annoyed me is the furore over the Busby Babes memorial, which has been thoroughly raped by the marketing drive at Manchester United. The memorial, something near and dear to the hearts of every Manchester United fan, has the AIG logo on it. Now seriously, even the marketing bods at United must have thought “This isn’t going to go down well”. The most momentous tragedy in the life of our club, a club whose links to the past are strong and enduring, is now being capitalised on to advertise. How can they look at themselves and let this commercialisation of Munich go on. This is how. A statement from United read, “It is entirely appropriate that a partner as closely involved with the club as AIG would want to remember that extraordinary team, cut down in its prime” Now come on and, pardon my French, just what the f*ck has an American insurance corporation got to do with remembering our football club’s darkest hour? They are crassly trying to cash in on the affection with which we hold those lost at Munich to further their own ends, and it is a disgrace that the club, seemingly wholly ignorant of or simply not caring about, the obvious effect that this would have on us, allow this to go on, to defend it. It makes me sick, as sick as when I was finally forced to sell my shares to the bearded, Yank arsehole that strong-armed his way into our club on borrowed money.

This is not primarily a Manchester United thing, as money is pervading and distorting football at every turn. But with these two examples, I feel some part of my club has been tainted and dirtied by the sticky fingers of a greedy American and his passion to commercialise and prostitute our club in pursuit of the money he needs to feed the insatiable interest and debts he has saddled us with. God rest those who died at Munich, we don’t need the country’s respect we knew we wouldn’t get from England fans at the friendly game on February the 6th, where no doubt boneheaded Scousers and bitter Leeds fans would have spouted their bile. We don’t need them, but we did need our club to react in a way conducive to the feeling of the fans and, by besmirching the memorial with a filthy sponsor’s logo shows that the top brass at United are getting further and further away from the opinion of the people that should matter, the fans.




Paul M

 If you agree with Paul and would like to see the AIG logo removed from the memorial then click the link below and sign the petition 

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