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The Dennis Viollet Fund

www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Wed Sep 16 GMT+00:00 1998
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. WEEKLY STATMAIL***  ISSUE 6: 15th Sept 1998
4. Barca vs United (ET) Miguel Nadal out
5. FSW, the armchair and me "A Few Thoughts" by DA
6. Jim White article- Guardian


Daily RED Trivia  Wed 16th September:

1918: Allenby Chilton born in County Durham. Chilton was a powerful stopper who
made his debut at Charlton Athletic in September 1939. After war service he maintained
a remarkable appearance record for 9 years, winning an FA Cup Winners medal in 1948
and a League Championship medal in 1952. He totalled 390 appearances and 3 goals
between 1939-55, and won 2 caps for England. Chilton became player/manager at
Grimsby Town in March 1955.

1989: United humble Millwall 5-1 at Old Trafford in a Division 1 game watched
by 42,746. Mark Hughes 3, Bryan Robson and Lee Sharpe scored for the Reds.
Team was: Leighton, Anderson, Donaghy, Bruce (Beardsmore), Phelan, Pallister,
Robson, Ince (Duxbury), McClair, Hughes, Sharpe.


Next 4 games: 
Index: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix9899z.htm

Topday! Wed 16/9 Barcelona (H) CL
Sat 20/9 Arsenal   (A) PL 
Thu 24/9 Liverpool (H) PL 
Wed 30/9 Bayern M  (A) CL

UNITED Stats v Barcelona are here:
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/vsbarcelona.htm Url
http://www.red11.org/mufc/stats/vsbarcelona.xls Excel File


Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/08/98    Leicester City           Home     D  2-2    11    55,052
22/08/98    West Ham United          Away     D  0-0    11    26,039
09/09/98    Charlton Athletic        Home     W  4-1     9    55,147
12/09/98    Coventry City            Home     W  2-0     5    55,193

Extract from the BSkyB Announcement: 
BSkyB has received undertakings to accept the Offer from all the
shareholder directors of Manchester United in respect of 42.8 million
Manchester United Shares representing 16.5 per cent of
Manchester United's existing issued share capital. The undertakings
than that given by Martin Edwards) lapse in the event that there is a
higher offer for Manchester United or if the Office of Fair
Trading indicates that it is the intention of the Secretary of State for
Trade and Industry to refer the proposed acquisition of Manchester
United by BSkyB or any matter arising therefrom to the
Monopolies and Mergers Commission. The undertaking from Martin Edwards
remains in effect even in the event that there is a higher offer for
Manchester United and does not lapse if the Office of Fair
Trading indicates that it is the intention of the Secretary of State for
Trade and Industry to refer the proposed acquisition of Manchester
United by BSkyb or any matter arising therefrom to the
Monopolies and Mergers Commission.


"Are you Against the BSkyB takeover? Please Read! Click on image!"

Subject: ***WEEKLY STATMAIL*** ISSUE 6: 15th Sept 1998 *** FIXTURES ON 19/09/98 *** Coventry City v Newcastle United Derby County v Leicester City Leeds United v Aston Villa Liverpool v Charlton Athletic Middlesbrough v Everton Nottingham Forest v West Ham United Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur Wimbledon v Sheffield Wednesday *** FIXTURES ON 20/09/98 *** Arsenal v Manchester United *** RESULTS AND ATTENDANCES ON 12/09/98 *** Aston Villa 2-0 Wimbledon 32,959 Charlton Athletic 1-2 Derby County 19,516 Chelsea 2-1 Nottingham Forest 34,809 Everton 0-0 Leeds United 36,687 Leicester City 1-1 Arsenal 21,628 Manchester United 2-0 Coventry City 55,193 Newcastle United 4-0 Southampton 36,454 Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Blackburn Rovers 20,846 West Ham United 2-1 Liverpool 26,029 *** RESULTS AND ATTENDANCES ON 13/09/98 *** Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 Middlesbrough 30,437 *** LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 13/09/98 *** Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts --------------------------------------------------------- 1 Aston Villa 5 4 1 0 7 1 6 13 2 Liverpool 5 3 1 1 9 4 5 10 3 Leeds United 5 2 3 0 5 1 4 9 4 Derby County 5 2 3 0 4 2 2 9 5 Manchester United 4 2 2 0 8 3 5 8 6 Middlesbrough 5 2 2 1 6 4 2 8 7 West Ham United 5 2 2 1 6 5 1 8 8 Wimbledon 5 2 2 1 8 7 1 8 9 Arsenal 5 1 4 0 3 2 1 7 10 Sheffield Wednesday 5 2 0 3 6 3 3 6 11 Nottingham Forest 5 2 0 3 5 7 -2 6 12 Tottenham Hotspur 5 2 0 3 4 10 -6 6 13 Charlton Athletic 5 1 2 2 7 6 1 5 14 Chelsea 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 5 15 Leicester City 5 1 2 2 5 5 0 5 16 Newcastle United 5 1 2 2 6 6 0 5 17 Everton 5 1 2 2 2 3 -1 5 18 Blackburn Rovers 5 1 1 3 2 6 -4 4 19 Coventry City 5 1 1 3 2 6 -4 4 20 Southampton 5 0 0 5 2 16 -14 0 *** TEAM RESULTS - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 12/09/98 *** Date Opposition Score Pos. Attend. -------------------------------------------------------------------- 15/08/98 Leicester City Home D 2-2 11 55,052 22/08/98 West Ham United Away D 0-0 11 26,039 09/09/98 Charlton Athletic Home W 4-1 9 55,147 12/09/98 Coventry City Home W 2-0 5 55,193 *** TEAM RESULTS SUMMARY - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 12/09/98 *** P Won Drawn Lost For Against Points ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Home 3 2 (67%) 1 (33%) 0 (0%) 8 (2.7) 3 (1.0) 7 (2.3) Away 1 0 (0%) 1 (100%) 0 (0%) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 1 (1.0) Total 4 2 (50%) 2 (50%) 0 (0%) 8 (2.0) 3 (0.8) 8 (2.0) Averages per game in (brackets) League position: 5th Form position: 2nd (Index: 68%) Predicted position: 2nd (The higher the form index, the higher the average league position of the recent opposition) *** TEAM STATISTICS - MANCHESTER UNITED - AS AT 12/09/98 *** AVERAGE HOME ATTENDANCE: 55,131 HIGHEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 12/09/98 - Coventry City (55,193) LOWEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 15/08/98 - Leicester City (55,052) BEST WIN: 09/09/98 - Charlton Athletic (4-1) *** ATTENDANCE TABLE AS AT 12/09/98 *** Manchester United @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 55,131 Liverpool @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 43,100 Everton @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 38,726 Arsenal @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 38,039 Newcastle United @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 36,638 Chelsea @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 34,749 Middlesbrough @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 34,142 Aston Villa @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 33,920 Leeds United @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 30,645 Tottenham Hotspur @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 30,234 Derby County @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 25,978 West Ham United @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 25,793 Sheffield Wednesday @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 25,690 Nottingham Forest @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 24,078 Blackburn Rovers @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 23,276 Coventry City @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 21,930 Leicester City @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 21,100 Wimbledon @@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 19,734 Charlton Athletic @@@@@@@@@@@@@ 18,002 Southampton @@@@@@@@@@@ 15,072 Produced by: E-mail: statmail@iname.com ICQ UIN: 4358182 Homepage: http://www.graphite.demon.co.uk/ MUFC Hon. Executive CP Cheah Webmasters: Barry Leeming & Bill McArthur Graphics: Sam Hayward Stats: Paul Hinson Site Design Diana Low Webmaster Mail: barry@www.red11.org Url: http://www.red11.org World of Manchester United Football Club.
"Are you Against the BSkyB takeover? Please Read! Click on image!"

Subject: SAVE OUR GAME - UNITED FOR UNITED by IMUSA http://www.red11.org/mufc/imusa.htm "....it turned you into a partisan holding your breath when the ball came sailing into your goalmouth, ecstatic when your forwards raced away towards the opposite goal, elated, downcast, bitter, triumphant by turns at the fortunes of your side. What is more it turned you into a member of a new community, all brothers together for an hour and a half, for not only had you escaped from the clanking machinery of this lesser life, from work, wages, rent, doles, sick pay, insurance cards, nagging wives, ailing children, bad bosses, idle workmen, but you had escaped with most of your mates and neighbours, with half the town, and there you were cheering together, thumping one another on the shoulders, swapping judgements like lords of the earth, having pushed your way through a turnstile into another and altogether more splendid kind of life, hurting with conflict and yet passionate and beautiful in it's Art. As for United, they stand for something more than any other person, any player, any supporter. They are as was once written in the club programme of 1937 - the soul of a sporting organisation which goes on from year to year, making history all the time. They remain a club with a rich vein of character and faith. Because of that they have no fear of the morrow." 'There's Only One United' by Geoffrey Green 1978. "We are United to the core" - Alex Ferguson Many supporters think the future of Manchester United is destined to be held in the hands of one man - Rupert Murdoch. IT IS NOT This club has been built on the loyalty of it's supporters and the efforts of Matt Busby, Alex Ferguson and great players past and present, but since the launch of the plc we have seen our club taken further and further away from its loyal support. This latest fiasco is a step too far. Decisions affecting the future of Manchester United will be taken on the other side of the world. Our club will no longer be independent. We will be owned and manipulated to further the business interests of the Murdoch empire. So when Alex Ferguson says "we are United to the core" - remember so are we and so are you. Show your support for the club as we know it and help to stop this takeover before it makes us into the club we don't know. Questions answered: Will profits generated by P-P-V be kept by the club? The Murdoch business empire depends in part on the way in which he moves his companies' revenues around the globe to avoid paying tax. In 1996-7, Murdoch paid only 7.8% tax on his companies' profits. United profits are as likely to be found in Mauritius, Fiji and Cuba (yes Cuba) as in Alex Ferguson's transfer fund. Murdoch operates almost 800 separate business units across 52 countries, shuffling cash around as a matter of course. The overall financial picture is further muddied by complex inter-company borrowings and financings, and by complicated joint ventures. Murdoch himself once conceded that the company's intricate financial interior confused even some of his most senior executives. "One of the things I would never attempt to calculate is how News Corp. arrives at its tax rate, or why," said John Reidy, a Wall Street analyst who has followed the company for years. Who knows where, or in which account, our money will end up. Surely being backed by one of the worlds richest companies is good for United? Under Australian accounting practices News Corp. legitimately reported that it earned $561 million in 1996. Under the tougher rules required of U.S. based corporations, however, News Corp. would have lost a potential $155 million, according to documents the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Australian difference helps portray News Corp. in a more favourable light to investors - particularly when the company is stacked next to its American-based competition. Paul Farhi Washington Post December 7 1997. A study of Murdoch's companies undertaken by the Australian Parliamentary Committee in 1989 (the only such study) revealed that he declared all of its total annual profits through subsidiaries in low-tax countries such as the Netherlands, Antilles and Bermuda. In contrast, News Corp.'s main subsidiaries in Australia, Britain and the United States, all relatively high-tax countries, recorded losses that year. News Corp.'s shareholder equity - essentially, the company's net worth falls by nearly half the $16.7 billion it reported to investors in Australia once U.S. accounting principles are applied, according to SEC documents. The higher valuation is important because the greater the equity, the greater Murdoch's borrowing power. The extraordinary growth of News Corp. over the past dozen years has been fuelled by Murdoch's heavy borrowing; at the end of the past fiscal year, the company had nearly $13 billion in outstanding debt and other liabilities. News Corp. is notorious for not securing loans with collateral. Henchman Richard Sarazan says: "If a Bank wants to lend to us, we won't take it unless we are satisfied it knows we're a company with very complicated flows of money." Murdoch needs United's cash. We don't need to subsidise Murdoch's global empire. Can Murdoch be trusted to act in the best interests of MUFC? "Wall Street doesn't have a handle on Murdoch for a lot of reasons," said Porter Bibb, an investment banker active in the media business. "He is perpetually able to have the best of both worlds. He doesn't tell as much as people would like to know, and he doesn't have to" Murdoch will act only in his own interests, not those of the club or it's fans. Will Ferguson be left to manage without interference? Richard Searby, a prep school chum of Murdochs in Australia and later a director of the company, (before being sacked after 50 years of friendship) once noted: "Most Boards meet to make decisions. News Corp.'s board meets to ratify Murdoch's". Each Friday, Murdoch receives and studies weekly financial reports filed by each of his far-flung divisions. "Decisions are made with a minimum of bureaucracy and often on nothing more than a whim and a hunch by Murdoch." Managers who defy the boss's wishes don't last long. Murdoch is notorious for firing editors; his flagship paper The Times has had five of them in the past decade. Who knows who will feel the weight of Murdoch if results take a downturn. How will the Murdoch owned media report on Manchester United? Will supporters have an outlet for their concerns? "It's not only what they write, it's what they won't write, what they won't say," says Wayne Barrett, political correspondent for the New York Village Voice paper, owned by Murdoch, which, he claimed hadn't written a critical piece on Murdoch's political friends in four years, ignoring corruption and scandal in New York's City Hall. Murdoch can only be expected to turn a blind eye, whatever the scale of supporter concerns. Can Murdoch be trusted with our club? BSkyB's bid for United is big on the financial details, and makes it very clear how much money shareholders will get, but Murdoch's men have been surprisingly vague about how they'll run United, despite attempts to win specific commitments. As part of our campaign to stop the takeover, and to convince the government just how damaging it'll be to both United and football in general, we should be thinking of specific guarantees to extract from Sky. Together with other members of SUAM I have come up with a number of ideas. "If ever someone demonstrated the dangers of mass power being concentrated in few hands, it would be Murdoch." American media commentator Russ Baker. "Mr Rupert Murdoch has failed to deliver his forecast News Corporation profit lift of 20 per cent, with the global media group instead suffering a 29 per cent fall in net profit. Stockbroking analysts are now reviewing their 1998 profit forecasts for News Corporation. News Corporation said...it would use some of it's cash to prop up it's share price" Matthew Kidman, Investment Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald in an article on Thursday, August 21, 1997. We asked, "Can Murdoch be trusted with our club?" - what do you think now? "I will sit in front of anybody and argue the toss. Nobody will convince me that I have done the wrong thing." Martin Edwards with Sky Chief Executive Mark Booth, quote from the Manchester Evening News PROPOSALS FOR ASSURANCES TO BE MET BY ANY ORGANISATION SEEKING TO TAKEOVER MANCHESTER UNITED Below are a number of concerns raised by the possible takeover of Manchester United which we feel need addressing if the long-term best interests of the club are to be served. 1. An unequivocal guarantee should be given that any new parent company controlling Manchester United does not interfere in team-related matters. The manager must continue to have full autonomy in team matters across all competitions. 2. If Alex Ferguson were to step down as manager the decision on his replacement should be taken exclusively by the football board. 3. The match-going supporter has been the foundation on which much of the club's success has been built. Their unswerving loyalty should be rewarded by a guarantee that ticket prices will not be raised above the annual rate of inflation for an indefinite period. 4. An undertaking should be given that all Manchester United's future competitive home games continue to be played at Old Trafford 5. Manchester United and its supporters have a unique affection for European competition based on the pioneering exploits of Sir Matt. That mystique is driven by the knowledge that only domestic success can entitle you to pit your wits against the best of the rest. We therefore demand that the club maintains its current full commitment to the present domestic football structure and competitions and any future revamp thereof. 6. The Independent Manchester United Supporters Association has articulated its views through a document entitled "Redprint for Change". The re-configuration of the ground to cater for all types of supporter was one part of that. We demand that supporters are consulted at all levels and, in particular, with regard to further expansion and re-configuration of the stadium. 7. The football club board should be wholly separate in its constitution from the executive board at parent company level and, consequently, the parent company should not hold voting rights on that table. The parent company should give assurances that it's presence at football club board meetings should be limited to a watching brief. 8. We would call for a member of the appointed football board to have specific responsibility for supporter liaison. This liaison would be regular, substantive and conducted with organisations which are independent and democratically run. 9. The issue of T.V. rights will continue to play a major part in all contractual negotiations both before and beyond any take-over. The football club must retain the ability to negotiate the best possible deal for coverage of future matches irrespective of the service provider. 10. Finally, supporters are concerned about the removal of the words "Football Club" from the club crest. In respect of the club's heritage and tradition, we would like to see those words returned as a symbol of a successful new partnership between the club and its supporters. United Shareholders Against Murdoch (SUAM) also have a series of questions concerning: 1. Running the club 2. Managing the team 3. Pricing and match fixtures 4. TV and media coverage "Man U fans want to win the Cup - we want to win the Cup." Mark Booth, Chief Executive BSkyB. "What we don't want to happen in English football is perhaps what's happened in Scottish football. To take one example where Rangers won 9 Titles in a row." Vic Wakeling, Managing Director Sky Sports. Do they want a successful Manchester United.... or not? Pay TV and corporate greed in Australian rugby league "Murdoch's foray into Australian rugby sparked a civil war that threatened the game's future." In 1994, attendance at Australian rugby league games was at an all-time high and the sport dominated the television ratings. But this was before "Murdoch's foray into Australian rugby sparked a civil war that threatened the game's future." To attract subscribers to his new cable operation, Foxtel, Murdoch wanted pay-TV rights for rugby league. These were not, however, for sale as the official Australian Rugby League (ARL) had a contract with a rival company. So Murdoch decided to establish his own "Super League". Despite all 20 teams having signed loyalty agreements with the ARL for five years, Murdoch's representatives tempted more than 200 of the ARL's top athletes into defecting. In a series of secret meetings, they were offered huge cash bonuses and double or triple their salaries. By the time word of the clandestine signings reached the ARL it was too late, the damage was done. Teams that resisted offers to join the new Super League were told they might soon find new, better-financed teams in their backyards. A judge later attacked the Murdoch campaign for its "secrecy, suddenness and deception". The game was irreversibly changed. Players who had spent their careers together on the Australian national team found themselves divided by accusations of dishonour and greed. Dismal TV ratings and attendance figures soon became the norm in both leagues, whilst team expenses soared. By the end of 1997, the war had come full circle. The sport was hanging in the balance and the leagues were trying to negotiate a merger to end the damaging rift. Is this what Manchester United could expect? The above information is taken from an article by Michael A. Hiltzik (Staff Writer), published in the Los Angeles Times, August 25 1997 And Tradition Becomes Commodity "Rupert Murdoch and his Fox group obviously care little about the tradition that surrounds the Dodgers franchise but they have also made it clear that they are going to do what is best for them first and the team second" - a Dodgers fan They began life as the Brooklyn Dodgers before they moved to Los Angeles. When this move happened, thousands of New Yorkers were left stranded. Alienated by their team's decision to move, not only from one city to another, but from one coast to another. There are two major leagues in Baseball which are broken up into conferences. In recent years, Baseball has seen the addition of what are called expansion teams created in areas that previously did not have them, in order to create more 'interest'. Tradition has been traded for advertisement (you can't see a player at bat without the obligatory ad behind him), and teams have become brand names. Rupert Murdoch bought the LA Dodgers for $320 million and as the Guardian reported on 12 September 1998, Murdoch's Fox company had promised that they would not use the influx of monies to send player's salaries "through the roof". Shortly after that, Fox orchestrated the trade of Mike Piazza, a Dodgers' favourite, to the Florida Marlins (an expansion team) in a $108m trade for 2 major players and a number of minor league options (7 in all). This, as the Guardian states, actually sent the overall payroll up 19.6% to $57.3m. Their stated desire to bring salaries into control was proven a fallacy. This was a first - no actual Baseball interests were concerned in the deal. The transaction was made between a marketing man, an accountant, and two television executives. Fred Claire, the General Manager who had been working with the Dodgers for 30 years, said, "I'd like to think it was a onetime occurrence." Claire was dismissed. At the same time, Bill Russell, the manager of the team, who had been with the side for 32 years was also dismissed and became the first manager in 45 years to get the sack. All of this has lead to the ultimate alienation of the fans and as one stated in his webpage: "Business has taken over. No longer will the Dodgers be a notch above the rest because of their rich tradition. They are fast becoming an other run-of-the-mill ball club". And so a team, rich in history just like Manchester United, becomes a commodity, and on the way, is stripped of the tradition and talent that made it great. The ultimate betrayal. (Webpage quotes and money figures were taken from the Guardian, 12 September 1998.) The Wolf in Wolf's Clothing Murdoch is the king of loopholes. If there is one to be found in advancing the virus-like spread of his empire Murdoch will find it. "One such loophole was getting around former FCC rules limiting the number of stations owned to twelve by investing in and thus influencing some twice that number. Staff departed from Murdoch's employ, miraculously reappearing as managers at the stations he technically did not control. Another was receiving unusual permission to provide National Football League broadcasts to border-region Mexican television stations that beam those games back into the United States." Keith Beckstead, from the PBS produced Frontline Video. "...he started to think of himself as somebody who could perhaps take part in the making and unmaking of governments, particularly unmaking I think." Mungo MacCullum, former political reporter for 'The Australian'. (taken from the PBS produced Frontline Video.) Murdoch's legal but unethical business tactics and shady dealings with politicians are unrivalled by any other person. Here is a man who has so many fingers in so many pies it boggles the mind. Every company he owns or buys out is simply a means to an end. His debt riddled empire is growing at a rate that at first fills you with awe then upon delving deeper, fills you with horror. "Business tactics outlined include a willingness to gamble the whole company on one acquisition or project." Keith Beckstead, from the PBS produced Frontline Video. This man can surely not be trusted to act in Manchester United's best interests........only his own! TV TIMES Rupert Murdoch's television dealings reveal a man who is quite happy to even forget in which country he was born if it will further his cause of world media domination. In 1985, to allow himself to comply with U.S. law prohibiting foreign ownership of television stations, he abruptly RENOUNCED HIS AUSTRALIAN BIRTHRIGHT and became an American citizen. This helped him build a global entertainment empire that now includes 22 U.S. TV stations, TV Guide magazine and the 20th Century Fox movie studio. (Source: The Washington Post) If Murdoch doesn't even respect his OWN history, do you think he will respect Manchester United's? There are also no limits to how low Murdoch will sink. In India there are now THREE outstanding warrants for his arrest. The first stems from a talk show that defamed Gandhi, the second came about because the first was ignored, and the third was issued in December 1997 for the telecast of obscene films on Murdoch's Star TV network. The year-old case against Murdoch claims that Star TV's movie channels and 26 cable operators showed foreign movies that violated India's Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act and the Cinematography Act. (Source: Media Business Corp.) WE'LL NEVER DIE The heart has been ripped out of this football club in recent years, but it's soul still exists within the supporters. We will never give in to the sale of our club to a man whose only interest is the money, manipulation and the power it can bring him. There is an alternative to Rupert Murdoch. This campaign requires money, please send donations, however small to: National Westminster Bank Stretford Branch, 20a King Street, Stretford, Manchester M32 8AE account no. 32055595, sort code 01 08 52. The Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA) PO Box 69, Stretford, Manchester M32 0UZ. Shareholders United Against Murdoch (SUAM) - organiser Michael Crick would welcome help from any United shareholders. SUAM can be contacted at 1 Sumburgh Road, London SW12 8AJ. Tel: 0171 223 5847. e-mail: protest@stopmurdoch.com IMUSA and SUAM would like to give heartfelt thanks to everyone who has given freely of their time to contribute to this campaign. Keep the Red flag flying high
"Are you Against the BSkyB takeover? Please Read! Click on image!"

Subject: OFFICIAL HISTORY OF UNITED (From the United Review) THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF MANCHESTER UNITED 120 years of passion A strictly limited edition Video & Souvenir box set. Contains 2 hr Video plus 15 limited edition genuine replica souvenirs from the illustrious history of Manchester United and an individually numbered certificate of authenticity signed by Martin Edwards, Chairman and Chief Executive of the club. price 19.99 Available to buy from club shops and all good video retailers from 24th August 1998.
"Are you Against the BSkyB takeover? Please Read! Click on image!"

Subject: Barca vs United (ET) Miguel Nadal out Van Gaal struggles to convince Barcelona By Christopher Davies LOUIS van Gaal, the Barcelona coach, celebrated winning the Spanish championship in an unusual manner - by speaking Spanish for the first time in public. For the previous 10 months the Dutchman, who brings his side to Old Trafford tomorrow, had communicated through an interpreter but if the former Ajax coach believes conversing in Spanish will be part of a successful charm offensive he is wrong. Many in Catalonia find van Gaal more offensive than charming. Despite winning the Spanish double last season, the coach does not have a fan club with a waiting list. Van Gaal's tactics, which worked in Amsterdam with players who had come through the youth ranks and who accepted the coach's autocratic style, have not convinced those in Barcelona that a successful transition has been achieved. Catalans also resent the Dutch influence. There are six Dutch players in the squad plus van Gaal's coaching staff. "I've watched Barcelona under van Gaal during the past year," said Steve Archibald, the former Barcelona striker now a director at Graeme Souness's Benfica. "The team function more on an individual basis than collectively despite winning the league. They were more a team of individuals though they still got results. "Van Gaal has not totally won over the fans despite their success. The supporters want to see the side playing flowing football, which has not really been the case." In 1994-95, United and Barcelona met in the Champions' League, drawing 2-2 at Old Trafford with the Spaniards winning 4-0 in the Nou Camp, though United were hampered by a limit on foreign players. "I remember speaking to Alex Ferguson at the time and he felt it was a bit early for his young side. They found it particularly difficult in Barcelona," said Archibald. "United are stronger and more experienced now and I expect two spanking ties. It's a fantastic draw for both clubs." Archibald, who played for Ferguson at Aberdeen, knows how much winning the European Cup means to his former manager. "Alex has a hunger and drive for football, especially the European Cup, which will never leave him. It's the way he is. Alex will be relishing Wednesday, make no mistake. "If United are to win the Champions' League they will have to meet sides of Barcelona's calibre at some stage. However, I have to say that winning the competition is a tall order not just for United but for any English club. "I'm not sure if English football is conducive to winning the European Cup. It's too much crash, bang, wallop whereas the European game is more thoughtful. They hold the ball better and play from deep. It's a different game. But if there is one team in England who can do it, it is United. They will find it very difficult, though." Barcelona, who have scored just one goal in their opening two Spanish league matches, flew into Manchester yesterday with six of their first-team squad injured. Van Gaal has described the coming week as "vital". He is referring not only to the Champions' League match at Old Trafford but also the league visit to arch-rivals Real Madrid next the weekend. At least two of the six injured did not travel to Manchester, and the others are all doubtful. Five are midfielders, Albert Celades and Josep Guardiola, both internationals who are trying to recover from muscle strains, and Emmanuel Amunike, who has knee damage. Winston Bogarde has a foot injury and Oscar Garcia suffered a muscle strain in the unimpressive 1-0 home win against newly-promoted Extremadura on Saturday. The injury list is completed by veteran defender Miguel Nadal.
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Subject: FSW, the armchair and me "A Few Thoughts" by DA Thanks to Fox Sports World I have already watched three matches this year (which is a lot for us in the USA) and I thought I would jot a few thoughts on what i see this year. First of all Jaap Stam: When I watch him I am reminded somewhat of Martin Buchan, calm, cool and collected. Jaap is probably better in the air than Martin was, but they both have this swagger, its comes from confidence, thank goodness all the newspaper reports are wrong about this player, he is going to be a superstar for us. Dwight Yorke : It looks like I will be proved wrong on this guy, I really hadn't rated him that high and thought Fergie was crazy to spend all that money on him. But look at the confidence this guy has, he strolls around with his collar turned up, has great skills and a super work rate. He already looks like he has been in the team a couple of years.....great job fergie! Ole Gunnar Solskjaer : I am not convinced! Ok the guy loves United, and that makes me like him, but I just got through watching the Coventry match, I had to replay it again to make sure what I was watching was correct, Ole lost the ball every time he had possession, either by playing a bad pass (he didn't complete hardly any passes in the Coventry match) or by running into trouble. Likeable guy, but not the finished article by a long chalk, and far behind Andy Cole in my opinion. Gary Neville : One of my favourite players, but has really started the season poorly, his match awareness seems to have completely left him and he seems to be playing with no confidence and a lot of frustration. Maybe its from being tired after having a tough summer, I believe it is and he will improve to be the player we all know he is. Ronnie Johnsen: If the season ended tomorrow he would be my 'player of the year' While watching the WC this summer I didn't see a better center back, he has continued with that consistency and for my money is the best in the business, bar none! Jesper Blomqvist : Don't think he is 100% fit yet, hope he will improve, we need that cover! Roy Keane : For me the best defensive midfielder in the World has a little way to go to get back to his best, seems a few seconds slow which is only to be expected after the horrendous injury he suffered. Still at 75% he is better than anything else in the Premier! David Beckham ; Apart from the Coventry match (where I don't think he played well) he has been outstanding, the best start to a season ever for him. Thank God he was mature enough to put the England fiasco behind him. Ryan Giggs : He is getting there, and we need him badly! Last season I thought Giggsy had really blossomed into the complete player, hasn't shown as well yet this year, but he will! Phil Neville : getting a little more playing time and for me is looking good, he needs to make more of his overlapping runs and play the ball into his support a little earlier. He is very good at restricting space, and technically is a very good player. Paul Scholes : Our ginger headed prince is still promising great things, but he still isn't there yet, his workload is tremendous and I like the position that Fergie has given him, although I think he gets involved in defensive rearguard action a little too often (which is a testiment to his workrate). We need him holding the ball up just behind the strikeforce and opening up avenues for our forwards to run through. I hope his knee holds up! Denis Irwin : Good old Mr dependable, never changes, never slows down.... big Peter needs no comment.... DA
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Subject: Jim White article- Guardian Finding space in the box is no problem at Old Trafford By Jim White Tuesday September 15, 1998 Anyone glancing into the directors' box at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon will have seen empty seats, dozens of them. Of the 220 places available, only 122 were filled, or so I am told by a United Kremlinologist who, enervated by the soporific fare available out on the pitch, took it upon himself to conduct a head count. Now the directors' box at Old Trafford is one of the swankiest freebies in football, a place generally so crammed with those wishing to see - and more importantly to be seen - Kate Moss would have difficulty squeezing in. But on Saturday, 98 of the usual suspects weren't there - we know it was the regular United followers missing because Coventry confirm they took up all but two of their allocation - and this despite the added attraction of spotting Ulrika Jonsson taking her position in the gaggle of celebs that Martin Edwards likes to surround himself with. It doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to work out why there were the empty acres. The local Manchester establishment are embarrassed by this Murdoch business. For the moment, they would prefer not to make a public show of whose side they are on. You can understand why they are embarrassed. Wider feeling in Manchester is over-whelmingly against the bid. True, there are those who ring phone-ins to say it's going to be great with Murdoch in charge because now Alex Ferguson will be able to buy Kluivert and Salas and how United will win the title every year until the end of the next millenium. But casting aside whether there is any real spectator satisfaction in buying perpetual success, this fantasy argument can easily be dismissed by a look at the figures. The amount BSkyB will be obliged to fork out to own the organisation precludes any possibility of major investment. At a conservative estimate it will cost the company 50 million a year in interest payments alone to bankroll its 632 million takeover. Last year, MUFC plc made a post-tax profit of 19 million. To turn that into a sum big enough to absorb the extra debt charges will take a lot of replica shirt sales. Still, there's one easy revenue raising start they can make. Saturday's match programme boasted that ticket prices at Old Trafford are below average for the Premiership. Not for long they won't be. There are those, too, who wonder why the fuss; what difference will it make? The club is already in the grip of Mammon, it is not exactly a charitable institution as it stands. True enough, sadly, except Murdoch is a uniquely different proposition in club ownership. Both morally - let no one in football forget he is the proprietor of a paper which traduced the memory of 96 innocent people who died at Hillsborough - but also politically. His ownership of United will give him unassailable power in dictating the future shape of the game in his interests. If it didn't, he wouldn't bother. And that should worry everyone interested in any other club. The embarrassed 98 who went missing on Saturday presumably appreciate all this. Indeed embarrassment is an important weapon those seeking to stop the Murdoch are keen to use. Not just attempting to persuade minor shareholders that, if combined together, they have a voice, but also seeking to exploit the Government's dilemma on this issue. The politics of the United takeover are fascinating. On the one hand, this Government constantly makes a populist show of being crammed with grass-roots football fans; on the other leading members of it have shown themselves even bigger supporters of Rupert Murdoch's power and influence. The more opponents of the Murdoch takeover can ask them awkward questions, the more it might propel the cabinet into referring the bid to the MMC. The highest-profile United fan in the Government, the foreign office minister Tony Lloyd, has been deafeningly quiet about the affair. If anyone can answer why that is, they can win a ticket in the Old Trafford directors' box. After all, there are plenty spare at the moment.
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