We all say things we don’t mean on occasion. But sometimes we say the right thing, and then get ourselves into a spot of bother when political necessities force us to make something of a u-turn. Joseph Stalin in 1939, for example.
Or David Gill today. Manchester United’s chief executive faces some embarrassment as comments he made about the present owners of the club, the Glazers, were dug up from 2004, when the Americans were still in the early stages of their controversial takeover. At the time, Gill said that “debt is the road to ruin”, with the green & gold protesters putting it on a poster displayed at Man Utd’s game against Aston Villa this week.
Digger was surprised to find a revealing question-and-answer session from 2004 still on the club’s website. The interviewee was David Gill, then as now United’s chief executive.
He was being asked why the club had broken off negotiations with the Glazer family, who at the time were mounting a hostile takeover of the club. Reading Gill’s comments, you could almost imagine him having scrawled the protest slogans himself.
For instance, how about: “We’ve seen many examples of debt in football over the years and the difficulties it causes; we know what that means and we think that is inappropriate for this business”?
Or: “We have very vocal fans and one of the key strengths of Manchester United are those fan groups”? (A view that seems to have changed rather over the past four years.)
Or even: “It’s important to note that we don’t have an issue with the Glazer family: it is about leverage”? (The club website helpfully explained that leverage means using debt to finance a takeover offer but United fans need no such clarification today.)
I wonder how long those comments will remain on the United website, as the club have even reportedly fired their own workers for wearing green and gold at Old Trafford.
- Togo have appealed their suspension from the Africa Cup of Nations to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Good luck to them.
- Could the enforcement of free-to-air television broadcasts of national games kill Scottish football?
- Fifa.com takes a welcome look at the origins and development of continental club football tournaments in Africa, with what is now the CAF Champions League about to kick off for 2010.
- Canada’s Voyageurs Cup is set to expand with the addition of Edmonton, and Onward! looks at possible formats and future expansion of the tournament, which determines the country’s entrant to the CONCACAF Champions League.
- Sven look set to spill the beans on the mess at Notts County, now that he has left the club. I imagine he’s getting paid well for it.
- Spain’s joint bid with Portugal for the World Cup finals has hit a rocky patch, with Spanish sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky telling Spanish newspaper AS “I don’t see Portugal overly excited. It seems that those in football are more interested than the politicians.” Isn’t how it’s supposed to be, though?
The Sweeper appears every weekday, and once at the weekend. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.