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Glazers defend Ferguson, and United’s Asian Invasion

This has been a topic I had been meaning to touch upon for a while but haven’t until now.

Tim Rich, who seems to be The Guardian‘s man accompanying the United travelling party, has been doing his share of sending postcards from the far-east. Topics covered in his daily dispatches range from describing the boredom of our poor, grossly overpaid, footballers [boo, hoo. The players have exhausted their stockpile of DVDs and can’t get out of their hotel rooms. How are they ever going to survive? Cue: an idea for network executives for a pilot of ‘I’m a Premier League footballer, get me out of this claustrophobic, yet plush hotel room’] to pointing us towards the 1.2 million South Korean owners of Manchester United credit cards, for the 98247th time.

But in between the humdrum that is expected of these pre-season travel diaries, comes two interesting pieces, one about comments from the Glazer camp, and another on United’s commercial interests in Asia.

The Glazer family comments [rather the comments of his spokesman] have already been out for a while now; blogs [it’s been briefly touched upon here], and mainstream media outlets in general have already been talking about it for over two days.

Tehsin Nayani, the spokesman defended Ferguson’s spending. He made it clear that the manager has £60m to spend. Some of it is quite interesting, and mildly [well, if you look closely, grossly] ironic; well get to it in a bit:

The manager has a significant amount of money to invest if he wants to. The delay has been because the manager has not been able to locate the players he believes fit the Manchester United mindset -– players who are motivated to play for United. You don’t want mercenaries and you don’t want to pay over the odds for players not willing to give their all for the club.”

If, for a moment, you stand back and decide to not read in between the lines and not second-guess, it could possibly point towards Ferguson learning from the Ronaldo and Tevez experience. Granted, both players’ cases could be debated either way, but Ferguson seems to be in a mindset of identifying players would gladly sign for United. Of course, this logic falls flat in the face of our attempts to sign Benzema, who clearly had his head turned towards the Iberian peninsula.

But it’s hard to imagine the manager not finding anyone of reasonable quality who’d be glad to wear the Red shirt. I am certainly behind Ferguson’s decisions, based on how he’s managed to come out well in face of criticism. I am willing to give him the benefit of doubt, because he has so clearly earned that right from fans. But I do scratch my head, at times, at some of the very good defensive midfielders and attackers we have actually let slip.

But the under-26 policy, this theory of not buying ‘mercenaries’ [of course, the irony bit was, these comments were made during a money spinning tour of the far-east, signing deals left, right and centre] all explain, sort of, the mindset Ferguson has adopted this summer. He sees the inflation of prices brought about by Real Madrid and Man City as far from ideal situations to dip into the market. [As an aside, some fans have blamed Ferguson for accepting a fee of £80m, hence causing an explosion of transfer fees in the market — which I find absolutely ridiculous. If Ferguson had a choice, he wouldn’t sell Ronaldo. Imagine the outrage from the same set of fans had he told Madrid that he’ll sell him at a lower price, so that this act of philanthropy on his part wouldn’t inflate the market. ]

Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf and Owen were bought for a combined fee of about £10m; Valencia at £17m. So a further £60m budget means Ferguson was handed a £90m war chest. I am not going to judge these signings till I see them in action in the season, but, for what it’s worth, this summer we’ve learned a lot more about our transfer strategy than we ever have in the Glazer era.

* * *

I’ve grumbled along at how almost every conceivable European powerhouse is busy scurrying about in sunny California, or sweltering Dallas or, umm, (I don’t know the weather) Baltimore, selling shirts, and playing some football in front of packed houses, yet, Manchester United somehow manage to stay away from the soccer-fuss here in Stateside. I can understand why United see Asia as the bigger market. Apparently they are looking at billion-strong India next year. Conquer China and India, and you’ll have over a third of the world’s market covered. With rumours of Manchester United cafes in India, that would be the next frontier indeed. I am still puzzled that a club as commercially savvy as United would choose to consciously ignore the American market when there has been a sea change in the general perception of the game in the US.

Perhaps, Tim Rich and Dominic Fifield (the Guardian’s US pre-season correspondent) should do a joint piece on the merits of touring one continent over the other.

Meanwhile the club continue to rake in the dough, with football being incidental for now. At least, until they return to Munich for the friendlies against more serious opposition.



  1. Red Ranter

    24 July 2009 at 20:10

    Must say, I haven’t got the chance to see much of the pre-season friendlies bar some highlight reels, but I have been impressed with Gibson of late. He appears to be the energetic midfielder we need who can chip in with about 10 goals a season — he may not be the best passer in the world, but Frank Lampard isn’t either and, like him or not, everyone knows how important he is for Chelsea.

  2. m34ch

    24 July 2009 at 20:24

    @Red Ranter: Great point on Gibbo, the lad looks like he’s got some temperament and composure too which hopefully will see him come good at United. Tis nice to see the younglings come through. 🙂

  3. Dan

    24 July 2009 at 20:40

    @colver: Normally i would agree, but i think its fair to say FC soul of korea are better then Derby county or QPR!

  4. Dan

    24 July 2009 at 20:42

    @Red Ranter: I think hes a great passer. Hes the one that threaded the ball through for Owens first goal remember, im not saying 1 good pass makes you a decent passer, but he isnt a bad passer of the ball at all.

  5. DRed

    24 July 2009 at 21:58

    @Dan: Just wondering about this Ra’vel Morrison kid you talk about sometimes. Ive heard some good things bout him but i was hopeing you could give me the low down on him please?

  6. NicoQB

    24 July 2009 at 22:10

    Gibson is sure doing everything right to silence his critics, me included! 😉
    One thing I’d like him to do more often though, is to take his time on the ball, and allow his team mates to position themselves and be some sort of midfield maestro. I also have the same gripe about a few of our other CMs, Carrick and Fletch notably, but I guess I’ve been spoilt by Keane and Scholes.
    Still, good for the boy.

  7. NicoQB

    24 July 2009 at 22:17

    @DRed: Youtube speaks louder than words.

  8. mike

    24 July 2009 at 22:23

    @DRed: I last remember reading that he was in jail. Yep in jail. Google it.

  9. DRed

    24 July 2009 at 22:26

    @NicoQB: Cheers buddy, nice one 😉 The kid does look a talent i have to say.

  10. DRed

    24 July 2009 at 22:31

    @mike: Dear jesus wats the kid playing at. Seems to have all the talent in the world and then goes and tries his best to fuk it up 🙄

  11. redpenguin

    24 July 2009 at 22:54

    Watched all of todays match and most of the previous 2. Heres my 2cents.
    As a few have said i was very impressed with gibbo even if he was mainly playing out of position on the wing – but as the gaffer has said and done before he plays young players in multiple positions to educate them in the team dynamic and to show their strengths/weaknesses. Gibbo is also a big strong player suitable for that CM role take no prisoners type ala Keano – and for the rep.ire the Trap has been playing him regularly even without a regular 1st team spot at utd
    Anderson seems to have gone off the boil alot – since about halfway thru last season. his passing and decision making is terrible, but we should remember he is still very young.
    What are we to do about Nani? No doubt talented and skilled but again io feel like he has a point to prove, often trying one stepover too far when the simple pass would do.
    Tosic looked promising comfortable on the ball good range of passing and some great crossing – wnat to see more – big competition for the wide berth with valencia/tosic/wellbeck/nani/park etc dont forget anderson played alot as a winger previously too.
    Defence need to tighten up – i know its early but theres been far too many goals against so far. Glad to see Wes back – he looked forminable today very quick strong good decision making.
    Owen looks sharp – very sharp. Early days yet of course but his positioning and range of passing has been great so far.
    Cant wait to see more of the new boys against better oppo in the forthcoming munich cup.
    Soz for long post – gotta lot to say lol

  12. NicoQB

    25 July 2009 at 01:59

    Cana signs for Sunderland.

    Good. If he turns out good, we’ll be able to afford him.

  13. RedDevilEddy

    25 July 2009 at 09:50

    Glad Cana signed for Brucey, means we can buy him if he turns out great. I felt we should have bought him right away, cause there is nothing I love more than hard-tackling moinsters in the middle of the pitch. 😈 Well, when they are fair that is. 😉 Gives me great hope den, hihi 😀

  14. spizzy

    25 July 2009 at 12:09

    guyz in this blog seem as undecided and bipolar as that rapper “the game”.
    Last week i was reading comments on how gibbo was shi*te,couldn’t compete and wasn’t man united material, now he’s the next essien, he has a bright future bla,bla bla.Could you people just make up your mind and rant consistently. Anyone who din’t know gibo would think united has two of the.

  15. Dan

    25 July 2009 at 12:35

    @spizzy: First, speak english.

    Second, when we were comparing him to essien, it was a joke.

    Third, who the hell are you to tell us what to do? Go back to you hole if you have nothing constructive to say, please.

  16. spizzy

    25 July 2009 at 13:14

    @Dan, stop being such a woman,i din’t address it to you.
    Two if i wasn’t speaking english how the hell did you understand what i was saying.
    Three since you are the master of constructiveness write your own blog so we CANNOT add to it.

  17. Dan

    25 July 2009 at 13:37

    @spizzy: Or, i could stay on this blog, and you can crawl back to your hole mmmk spazzy. Good.

  18. Traverse

    25 July 2009 at 13:40

    @Dan: Atleast his second message was legible, if nothing else…..

  19. DutchMatrix

    25 July 2009 at 15:53

    From what i’ve seen of gibson last year there was nothing special. He has got a great shot but he did fuck all tackling for a midfielder (no one else did come to think of it) and his passing was average. Hav’nt seen any of the pre-season friendlies though so maybe he has improved. Although in saying that I would really like to see him improve because he is more of a keane mould midfielder which we definitely need.

  20. colver

    25 July 2009 at 16:02

    Last season Gibson was incredibly average. But with young players sometimes all it takes is a good pre-season followed by some first team chances to break into the first team. Midfield is the weakest area of our team and if Hargreaves continues to struggle with injuries and Anderson continues to disappoint then Gibson could well get the chance to impress next season.

    Macheda probably will get more action than Welbeck because while a lot of his game is undeveloped he does have the physical strength and the eye for goal that means he can make an impact while he plays. Welbeck undoubtedly has a lot more potential but the times I saw him played he looked a bit gawky, lacking in composure especially on the ball and goal shy. He needs a season on loan to iron those things out.

    Personally Im excited about Obertan. I think he could be a real hit. He broke into the first team very young at Bordeaux and while he regressed last season, I think we are the club to help him get back on track and progress. He has the ability it is just about finding that consistency and we can help him with that. It is a shame he couldn’t join us on the pre-season.

  21. NicoQB

    25 July 2009 at 16:15

    @spizzy: @DutchMatrix: Yep, there is such a concept, mysterious and unfathomable as it may sound to spizzy, known as improvement.

    I echo the thoughts of Dutchmatrix as to his tackling and other contribution as a midfielder other than the odd goal last season.

  22. NicoQB

    25 July 2009 at 16:17

    @colver: Ditto here mate, for all you said.

  23. Red Ranter

    25 July 2009 at 16:41

    @spizzy: You are confusing the blog for individuals. A blog will have people expressing different opinions. Your point would really make sense if specific individuals said negative things about him only to suddenly go back on it in a knee-jerk way.

  24. Lars

    25 July 2009 at 18:33


    In the NFL, every team is sure of making a profit due to this revenue sharing deal they have in place. Also, the NFL is the most lucrative sporting league in the world, so why would the Glazers get rid of their piggy bank?

  25. colver

    25 July 2009 at 19:18

    I’m terrified about Europe next season. Much of our success in recent years has come from abandoning 4-4-2 and going with a cautious approach based on defence first and using the pace of our forward line to hit teams on the break. Ronaldo was a HUGE part of that. It was also a major reason why Berbatov got so little game time in Europe….he just didn’t fit into our European tactics which relied on playing a lone striker with pace up front.

    I can see Fergie going with a 4-4-1-1 with Berbatov in the hole behind Rooney. But that would lead to our central midfield getting exposed by the best teams.

    There is also the option of playing Rooney as a lone striker and going with a 4-5-1/4-3-3. Rooney is more effective in that position than out wide-but you are still not getting the best out of him. I suppose you’d flank him with Valencia and Park/Nani. But really you are not going to get much goals from that formation because Rooney is the only goal threat whereas before teams had to keep Rooney and Ronaldo quiet.

    That is why I think we need a powerhouse midfielder. Because our current team is so much better suited to a 4-4-2

  26. NicoQB

    25 July 2009 at 19:56

    @colver: I personally think too much credit is being given to our abondoning the 4-4-2 and playing for the counter for our success in Europe.
    We are as strong, or arguably less strong than other great United teams in attack, but our defence is definitely better. But another factor that should be taken into account is the decline of Italian and German teams (and other nearly Spanish teams such as Valencia) while English teams have progressed.

    At the end of the day, if a team is strong enough it’ll achieve in europe.

    But we defintely need the powerhouse midfielder, unless Fletch brings his A-game against the best teams, which he usually does.

  27. Traverse

    25 July 2009 at 20:51

    @colver: In the 4-4-1-1 you descrieb, it’d be easy for Rooney to drop off and help midfield when needed. He’ll probably do that anyway. My biggest problem with Europe is Fergie being scared of everyone else’s plans and systems, and not just playing our way and making the opposition adapt.

  28. RedDevilEddy

    25 July 2009 at 22:43


  29. Dan

    25 July 2009 at 23:09

    Fergies stinging attack on city, and a dirty argentine. I especially liked thte last line,

    And I don’t have to deal with certain players who are miserable because they are not playing.

    Go fergie :mrgreen:

  30. Cyclops-Red

    25 July 2009 at 23:27

    Now thats laying it down to those bitter,deluded,bluenosed bastards.
    I can’t believe the bile still coming out of that filthy mouth of Tevez.
    I think he is already realising he has made a big mistake.

  31. RedDevilEddy

    25 July 2009 at 23:27

    @Dan: Dat man iz a GENIOUS!!! 😉 😆 Go Fergie! :mrgreen:

  32. NicoQB

    25 July 2009 at 23:52

    @Dan: Loved the last few paragraphs. Nani will be better, Berbatov…

    Let’s hope he gives them enough playing time to prove im right!

  33. NicoQB

    25 July 2009 at 23:55

    Chelsea looking good. Beating the two Milans in just about a week.
    Once again our main title rivals me thinks.

  34. Matt

    26 July 2009 at 00:38

    @NicoQB: Yeah certainly looks that way, the thing i saw looking at the highlights and reading in the papers is it looks like they are changing their formation slightly.
    Looks like lampard is being deployed behind drogba and anelka with essien and an other in the midfield 2, looks like the formation they will be using from now on to me.
    Another thing that impressed me was the drogba goals he scored in the 2 games. Both of the goals were absolute thunderbolts, they were just excellent shots that were unstoppable and went straight into the top corner. Just seeing those goals got me thinking, who in our team would be prepared to shoot from that range.
    Just seems to me that over the last 2 seasons we have been similar to arsenal, almost trying to pass the ball into the net at times and sometimes in a tight game watching chelsea someone will just have a shot from range and it will go in and be the difference between 1 and 3 points. Think essien 1-1 06/07 season against arsenal just to mention one.
    Ronaldo used to always try his luck from distance, and whilst many times they will go into the stands think, arsenal free kick goal from 40 yards out, think porto, just looking at our team now i just dont see anyone else in our team having a go like ronnie used to and like how people like drogba are doing now.
    Rooney would try his luck in the past but he doesnt seem to take them as much, maybe this season he will be let off the leash and will take a few shots from distance.
    This isnt a major criticm of the team btw, indeed most of the time the shots will just go miles over but sometimes in a tight game you just need someone to have a shot from distance and from our team right now apart from maybe rooney i dont see berba, carrick, fletch, valencia etc taking these long shots and maybe just maybe the way how at times we want to walk the ball into the net may cost us.

  35. colver

    26 July 2009 at 00:55

    Another part of the interview Fergie once again promises to play Rooney through the middle. He says this every season and I hope he is finally going to keep his word.

    We have enough wingers and while none of them are really United quality yet (we’ve been spoilt with the likes of Giggs, Ronaldo etc) the only way they are going to have a chance to get to that standard is if they get lots and lots of games.

  36. Grognard

    26 July 2009 at 01:40

    Cheers gang. Just thought I’d check in with a few comments. I’ve been quiet of late because I’ve been involved in my big move. It’s been a killer. Too much stuff and too much crap to throw away. The penalty one pays for being a collector and pack rat. The last week has been absolute killer and hasn’t given me any time to sit back and check out Red Rants and see how the boys are doing.

    Not much happening really. Again I can’t say I was impressed with the team’s result vs the Koreans. But I know it isn’t a true measure of the squad. Good to see Kiko doing well and I am very encouraged by young Gibson. Could be the making of a new Beckham. Remember Becks wasn’t a right sided midfielder when he started either and if Gibby can deliver crosses and balls into the box like he has been doing, he could become a real revelation. To bad that overrated pile of slop Valencia will keep him on the bench. Valencia is not a bad little player but for me, he’s just not United class.

    Good to see Macheda playing well but I still feel that Welbeck is the more talented of the two. Yes I could be wrong but I am with Dan on this one. I also think that once Macheda turns 20 or 21 he will be dying to return to Italy where Welbeck is United thru and thru. Only time will tell.

    Finally, thank god for EVDS. Without him we would be up Shit Creek without a paddle. Foster and Pig are just awful and have given the term “clown shoes” a new meaning.

    So that’s all from me until next Thursday or Friday. Once I am in the new place and settled in I shall return with my cloud of darkness and gloom of doom to entertain, frustrate, irritate and confuse and occasionally cause the odd chuckle. Until then cheers mates and remember……UNITED FOR LIFE! 🙂

  37. NicoQB

    26 July 2009 at 02:05

    @Matt: Us trying to pass the ball into the net? Nah, we’ve been over reliant on counter attack.
    I’ve been crying out for the return of possession football.

    As for scoring from distance, Carrick, Gibson and Nani are some players actually having the skill to score from range, but I think the priority the coming season will be to find a footballing system fitting the players we are going to use, namely Rooney in the center, and accomodating more traditional wingers.
    But I do agree about us lacking the threat that Ronaldo posed as he could score from the least amount of space afforded to him.

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