Magazine article Marketing

Was Labour Right to Ban MU Deal?

Magazine article Marketing

Was Labour Right to Ban MU Deal?

Article excerpt

Two fans give conflicting reactions to the DTI's block on BSkyB's bid to buy up MUFC

Mike Gorman Head of media on Chrysler at Bozells

Just whose interests are we protecting and for what? As Stephen Byers announced that BSkyB would not be allowed to take over Manchester United, I could hear cheers all over the country.

All those paid-up members of the ABU (anyone but United) Club were delirious with their approval. But why? Were they worried that the influence BSkyB would have on the direction that football would take in the new millennium would alter the way the game was played, viewed or administered? Not a bit of it.

What we were faced with was an emotional swell based on undiluted envy of the fact that United is the biggest club in the world and the prospect of it getting bigger was too much to bear.

As someone who has paid to watch United win, lose and draw for over five decades, it is not the response of the ABU brigade that disappointed me.

It was the 'media darlings' who had their say in an orchestrated bout of 'Manc' passion. The 2000 members of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, the Langdons, Cricks and Richard Hytner, who claim to speak to the average United fan.

Who do these people think runs the club? Manchester United plc is successful bar none. And those who think that the board had nothing to do with it are in fantasy land.

So where to now for the club? Will the rebuttal of the BSkyB takeover be the end of it? Not a chance.

One fact that the pressure groups fail to understand is that United is bigger than all of them, and that the club belongs to all those who are United fans, be they the famous 97% who have never been to Old Trafford or those that are season ticket holders.

United has a universal franchise; those who believe that there is some justice in the MMC report for the 'Ordinary Fan' fail to understand the needs of those fans.

Most fans only sing when they're winning and by protesting too loudly the 'media darlings' may have denied a new generation of fans the rites of passage.

If a European League is developed, who will the champions of the new liberated United expect to run the club? Hopefully not bit players in t he UK media scene or those with emotions that are bigger than their bank balance or vision. …

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