Henry Winter in The Times

Malaguena

Well-known member
Not hanging back, and correct on so many levels.....

Yes, Joel Glazer, I saw you. I saw your contempt for English fans. I was there outside the main entrance at JJB Stadium in Wigan on May 11, 2008. I was chatting to Manchester United supporters an hour and 20 minutes before kick-off, genuine football people whose life revolves around this great club you’re privileged to own, proper football souls who care for the greatest game as well as their beloved club. And you swept past, smiling smugly.

Yes, Joel, I saw you, you ambitious ruler of the English game. I saw your bouncers pushing United fans out of the way, your fans. I saw your look, your sense of self-entitlement. I saw how out of touch you were with English football, the passion, the flaws, the glory, and you still are. As now, I saw then that you don’t understand the responsibility of being guardian of Manchester United, the absolute honour, and the opportunity for leadership for club and sport. You’re not fit to spend a second in the distinguished company of Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton, legends who have given so selflessly to club and sport.

We know your game, Joel. Your game is simple, fistfuls of dollars. Fair enough. Money’s your business, turning sport into business, into dollars. Sadly, you don’t have any emotional connection with United. Your game is the Bucs and the bucks.

But hear this: we don’t want Joel Glazer running English football. Fans, government, clubs don’t want the representative of a family who have taken almost £1 billion out of Manchester United deciding who is a fitting owner of another club, deciding how much other clubs should receive in broadcast money, restricting opportunity for those wanting to challenge him and his Gang of Six in this disgraceful, doomed “Project Big Picture”.

Welcome to English football: behind closed shops? No chance. We’ll fight the cabal. We don’t want Joel Glazer, or John W Henry at Liverpool, deciding that two places are to be cut permanently from the vibrant, competitive Premier League, that two places are to be cut permanently from the historic, passionately supported EFL?

Who are the leaders? Not you. “The fact that our two greatest clubs are showing leadership at a time when the game is crying out for it is fantastic,” Rick Parry, chairman of the EFL, told the Daily Telegraph. Parry’s right, the game is crying out for leadership, but not the type of commercial opportunism masked as altruism from Glazer and Henry.
Where have all the real footballing leaders gone? The men and women who thought of the interests of their sport first, themselves second? The people not seduced by the power, the inflating of their egos and, occasionally, bank balances? Where are those like David Dein and David Sheepshanks? Owners and administrators who cared.

Richard Scudamore kept the 20 Premier League owners in a line, which Richard Masters has failed to. Adam Crozier was a leader of the FA, too strong for the internal politics, but an undeniable leader. Ian Watmore walked away from the FA, exasperated by the agendas. English football is too riven with self-interest. Gordon Taylor at the PFA loves the game, genuinely, but fails to lead properly, sadly.

So a message to Glazer and Henry as you try to seize leadership of English football. Some humility, please, some respect for this great game, for this footballing country that nursed into life and codified this wonderful pastime that already provides you with such profits.

Please, some acknowledgment that fortunes, footballing and financial, fluctuate. Special status? How entitled you are. Know your history. Big six? Leicester and Leeds have won the title since Spurs have. Villa have won the European Cup more than City, Arsenal and Spurs. This is not to decry any of those magnificent clubs, simply to apply the big picture.
So, Joel and John, you don’t offer the leadership English football craves, the sense of financial probity and community. They do exist within football. I’d trust Mark and Nicola Palios at Tranmere Rovers and Steve Lansdown at Bristol City to lead the EFL better than Parry. Port Vale’s Carol Shanahan would represent and work better for the EFL than Parry; she cares for her club and community, and runs a hugely successful business.

I’d trust Matthew Benham at Brentford to do a better job with the maths than Parry, who is trying to sell football’s soul for £3.5 million a club. I’d trust Tony Bloom at Brighton to get the figures right without wronging anybody. I’d trust Clive Nates at Lincoln City, Andy Holt at Accrington Stanley and Simon Sadler at Blackpool to be more in tune with balance sheets and fans’ concerns than Parry.

I’d trust Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester’s owner, and his principled chief executive, Susan Whelan, to run the Premier League with more savvy and empathy than Glazer and Henry. I’d trust Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens at Villa more than Glazer and Henry; they understand dreams, studious investment, striving to challenge the elite, pushing against the door that Glazer and Henry want to close.

I’d trust Andrea Radrizzani at Leeds to do a better job on broadcast rights than Glazer and Henry, sharing the riches around, appreciating the importance of competition. I’d trust Steve Parish at Crystal Palace to do the right thing when it counted, to think of the greater good.

I’d trust Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones as proper stewards of the national game than Parry. They’re not into Norwich City for the possibility of profit; just the opposite, it has cost them. And how the EFL misses a smart mind and big heart like Dean Hoyle, who has stood down at Huddersfield Town. Now there’s a man with a moral compass. His sons worked in the club shop, he broke down with emotion when his beloved Town were promoted at Wembley, and was so concerned about local childhood poverty that he established breakfast clubs to feed the needy.

So Parry is right: English football does need a reset, but not dictated by those whose start, middle and end is the bottom line. Not Glazer and Henry. English football needs leaders who care for all, but also possess the financial expertise to make the sport a viable business. For years, it has been tottering towards the “cliff-edge” as Parry calls it, and is now teetering.

Proper leaders, those with a real big picture, would have reined in the ludicrous wages, making them more performance-related. Proper leaders would have confronted the unconscionable, extravagant, multi-layered system of paying agents.

This is not a plea to retreat down memory lane, finding sanctuary in the iron-fist Fifties leadership of Alan Hardaker, the Football League secretary who protected convoys on brave Royal Navy duty during the War, who played for Hull, who fought for his sport. It is about tapping into the intellectual property that exists in football, in the minds of Shanahan, Whelan, and the cerebral Palios couple, and working as a collective to sort English football’s myriad ills, to bring the real leadership, not the greed of a Joel Glazer. We know what you’re doing, Joel.
 

Colin Warnek

Well-known member
Superb. It’s gone to the dogs if these grabbers take over.

£3.5m a club. That’s a very important point. 250m is chicken feed to the PL clubs.
 

Anton_Berg

Active member
Winter has always had the perspective of a 'big club' supporter. And his praise of Gordon Taylor: please.
 

Muttley

Well-known member
It's a dangerous time for the game of football. That unholy triumvirate would sell their own grandmothers, they are not offering a few quid to the EFL out of any sense of duty they see a commercial opportunity.

Fukkem.

The other clubs should be gathering together and threaten to eject them from the league. Go play in your European Super League without the comfort blanket of an assured revenue stream from the PL. CLINTS.
 

Wiseman_Vaughn

Well-known member
Let's face it, we've known about this for years - We could see the writing on the wall when they wanted a European superleague.

The game is a shadow of what it used to be like up until the 1990's.
 

American_Mary

Well-known member
What did anyone expect, the Glazer's and co haven't stolen our game they have had it gift wrapped and delivered to them by a wider society where the win at all cost mentality pervades and crass commercialism supersedes the history and tradition of the sport, where the rewards for staying in the league mean teams will sacrifice the glory of silverware to maximise their chances of a 17th place finish, where 4th place is prioritised over winning a cup, where games are rescheduled to inconvenience attending fans but accommodate a TV audience that will never be sated even with 24/7 coverage, this is the next step in the powerful grabbing more control and pulling up the ladder on those that would also like to dine at the top table.

There is nothing altruistic in this deal, its a diversionary offer that less than counterbalances the parachute payments etc that are currently on offer, the world has changed and football has changed with it, at professional level its no longer the working class game and linked to a locality in anything but name.
 
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Caesium137

Well-known member
I’d trust Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens at Villa more than Glazer and Henry; they understand dreams, studious investment, striving to challenge the elite, pushing against the door that Glazer and Henry want to close. .

"studious investment"

Is there another 'Villa' in the Premier League I don't know about?
 

Glover_elbow

Well-known member
Have to say when i have listened to henry winter in the media he always comes across as pompous i know better than you type. his tone reminds me of David Cameron
 

JackG

Well-known member
It's a well-written rant which delivers a deserved coating to the odious Glazers, at the expense of conferring sainthood on a fairly mixed bag of local-lads-made-good and chancers. What it doesn't do is suggest any concrete alternatives.
 

uncle_rico

Well-known member
The £250m is easily written off when the PL are giving 18 clubs the £100m+ per season, rather than 20.

They're trying to make it look like they're doing it for the good of English football, when they're just feathering their own nests even more. Its greed and nothing else.
 

1finny

Well-known member
That Mr Klopp has been very quiet about this.
What his owners are suggesting is totally against his values.
Given that, I'd have expected him to have something to say along the lines that it made his position untenable.

Funny old world

In other news, by the way, The Saudis believe the real reason the Prem stopped the takeover of Newcastle was the big 6 didn't want 'different money' coming into the Prem. This has given their lawyers something to hang on to.
 

Malaguena

Well-known member
Have to say when i have listened to henry winter in the media he always comes across as pompous i know better than you type. his tone reminds me of David Cameron

For me, that's what was noticeable and significant about his rant - it's so out of character
 
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