Friday, May 18, 2012

How sad that the true Premier League champion is Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2144359/Manchester-City-The-real-Premier-League-winner-Abu-Dhabi-United-Group-Development-Investment

There was – and probably still is – an old playground retort when a worm finally turns, rounds on the habitual bully and vows revenge. 'Yeah,' comes the reply. 'You and whose army?' The answer finally arrived yesterday - across Manchester, across England, across much of the world - when the kids returned to school after a tumultuous footballing weekend: the Abu Dhabi army. Or to be more precise, the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, owners of Manchester City Football Club. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2144359/Manchester-City-The-real-Premier-League-winner-Abu-Dhabi-United-Group-Development-Investment.html#ixzzG3ml1Cr86
Spectacular: Manchester City players celebrate with the Premier League trophy following Sunday's dramatic victory over Queen's Park Rangers The group is the creation of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of presidential affairs of the United Arab Emirates and a man said to have a personal fortune of £20billion and access to family funds of well over £500billion – but no obvious interest in football as a game. He bought City four years ago from a rather dodgy and somewhat less wealthy prime minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra. It was clear from that moment that sooner or later enough money would be poured into the club for them to win the English Premier League, the Champions League, the Wimbledon men’s singles, the next general election, Miss World, the Eurovision Song Contest and anything else the Sheikh deemed appropriate Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2144359/Manchester-City-The-real-Premier-League-winner-Abu-Dhabi-United-Group-Development-Investment.html#ixzzG3mlGdydz
Money: Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan For the benefit of anyone who spent the weekend on Mars... on Sunday afternoon Manchester City, perennial losers of any Mancunian battle for bragging rights, got this process under way by seizing the highest honour in English football for the first time in 44 years. And they did it in spectacular, dramatic fashion with two goals in injury time. Their triumph, it was generally agreed, was deserved. Even Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of thwarted and dethroned Manchester United, sort-of agreed. 'Anyone who wins it, deserves it', he said with as much grace as he could muster, which was not a lot. But what do we mean by 'deserved'? And what deep down do we mean by 'winning'? I am not bitter. I support Northampton Town Football Club, who with a few springtime wins have managed to rise to the dizzy heights of 88th in the Football League, thus narrowly avoiding relegation from what some of us still think of us as the Fourth Division. This is about their norm these days. The Cobblers (yes, go ahead and snigger) had one season at the top level, in 1965-66, when they beat then-mighty Leeds (I was there), did the double over Aston Villa, drew at home with Manchester United and went down with more points than any other relegated team since the war. Manchester City were not even in the division at the time. Then the Cobblers fell back down to the Fourth, like a tired old Labrador slumping back on to a comfy pillow. And there most of the time they have stayed with only occasional Cup wins to ease the pain. But I grew up in Northampton, they’re my team and that’s the way things are.
A new chapter? Manchester City's title win is their first ever Some football supporters feel happier that way including, traditionally, Manchester City fans. If you wanted winners, growing up in Manchester, there was an obvious alternative. Back in the last century, one City supporter, Colin Shindler, produced a much-loved book called Manchester United Ruined My Life. Supporting City was an act of dogged perversity, almost rebellion: success, if it ever happened, was to be relished but never taken too seriously for it was unlikely to last – making football a pretty good metaphor for life itself. The game changed long before City changed. In the 20 years of the Premier League, when the leading teams broke away to ensure that the rich grew richer, United have been champions 12 times, Arsenal and Chelsea three times each – but, in Chelsea’s case, only after their takeover by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. And now City. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2144359/Manchester-City-The-real-Premier-League-winner-Abu-Dhabi-United-Group-Development-Investment.html#ixzzG3mmp0Wtz
Buying success: Chelsea's three Premier League wins have only come under the ownership of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich The only other team to break this footballing oligarchy was Blackburn Rovers, when they were briefly owned by the local boy-turned-steel tycoon Jack Walker. That was in 1995: these days Walker’s riches would hardly fund a Premier League player’s champagne bill. There have been great gains from the Premier League: the football is more exciting; the world’s top stars ply their trade in England; conditions for spectators have vastly improved; the grounds are packed; many of the games can be seen live on satellite TV. The game has become a thriving industry in a country that has all-too-few of such things. Manchester’s economy has benefited from Sheikh Mansour’s investment. And we may assume that Mansour has also achieved his somewhat opaque purposes: Abu Dhabi is promoted across the world as something other than an oil-rich dictatorship - City’s ground is now known as Etihad Stadium to promote the Abu Dhabi airline – and its wealth is spread to guard against the day when oil may not be the key to the planet. He might have bought some other club: Everton was apparently a serious possibility. It could have been Northampton. But so what? If the league title not only can be bought but can only be bought, does this have anything to do with sport? Other countries do not operate this way. In the US, where socialism is a filthy word, the major sports are run on thoroughly socialistic lines with salary caps and player-drafts to ensure that the richest clubs (usually those in the biggest cities) do not win every time. And in Germany, football is governed by laws as strict as those that govern the purity of the beer, ensuring that most clubs remain under the control of their own supporters. In yesterday’s Mail, Martin Samuel found evidence that the German football system also has its downside. But if England play Germany in this year’s European Championship, which team do we think is going to win? The English system is set up to benefit the tiny handful of squillionaire clubs, and let everyone else, including the national team, go hang. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2144359/Manchester-City-The-real-Premier-League-winner-Abu-Dhabi-United-Group-Development-Investment.html#ixzzG3mn78GyK

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