Monday, 15 August 2011

How NOT to buy a football club

So, there I was in Wings in Manchester. Top gaff, great food, the owner Wing, is a massive pal of mine. If you look at the mural on the wall, my company logo is on the back of a rickshaw being pulled along by some kids.

He’s got these plates in frames on the wall that all the big hitters sign for him. Mine, signed by me, is next to one from the American soccer lad Brad Freidel and the fat one out of Take That. Quality.

Anyway, these lads pile in, reckoning they want to buy a football club, and they weren’t particularly choosy either. Obviously they know I’m the kind of go-getting wheeler dealer that can make these kind of deals happen – it was me, as you know, that put Michael Knighton into United. I suggested to Ali Ahsan Syed that he should sniff around Blackburn before the chicken mob beat him to it. And whatever these football rabble like to pretend these days – Leeds fans have me to thank for introducing Peter Ridsdale to soccer.

So I make a few suggestions which they turn their noses up at Stockport (basket case), Rochdale (doing a bit too well) and Oldham (too cold).

I also said they might want to have a chat to another good pal of mine, Bryan Robson, the former England captain, a global ambassador for the Manchester United Corporation and the main guy in GVA Robson Lloyd, a property outfit.

To be fair, I forgot all about it until this fuss kicked off about a programme on Channel 4. That’s not a channel I watch much, in fact, I thought it had closed down when Big Brother finished. But there you go.

I was disgusted. There these chancers were with hidden cameras in the Man U bar in Bangkok chatting up Robbo and pretending to be football investors. For the life of me I can’t see what he’s meant to have done wrong, apart from suggesting Sheffield United. He had this Thai lad Mr Joe, who they were making out on telly wasn’t all that. Well, to me he seemed a man very much after my own heart: big hitter, loaded, loves the soccer, likes his nosh, and is a big pal of Sir Alex Ferguson. What’s not to like?

I’m thinking I must look him up when I’m next in Bangkok, but here lies the problem. Every time some sharp talking lad from Britain pitches up, they’re going to think we’re some undercover jockey from Channel 4 or The Guardian. I don’t think we can understate the destructive effect the media is having on the reputation of British entrepreneurs around the world. Frankly, it’s time they were shut down for good.

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