I am posting this whilst things still look good for the blue side of Manchester… It’s interesting, but since the writer is an Arsenal fan it misses the central point that soccer has become so expensive you can only expect success if you have a high rolling backer (in City’s case an oil fueled sovereign wealth) in yer back pocket:
The clash of civilisations is being fought out today on the football pitches of Manchester. The implications for the west and for America in particular are troubling.
On the red side of the city, representing Anglo-Saxon capitalism, there is Manchester United. For two decades the dominant power in English football, and one of the strongest clubs in Europe, United is now in decline. The Glazer family, the American tycoons who bought United in 2005, have laden it with debt .
Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best player in the world, was sold for £80m last summer and has not been replaced. United fans, who suspect that financial constraints lie behind the failure to strengthen the team, are becoming uncomfortably familiar with the grisly details of payment-in-kind notes, the high-interest debt used by the Glazers to finance their takeover.
On the blue side of the city, the mood is very different. Manchester City was bought in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of oil-rich Abu Dhabi, who financed a spree of player signings.
Results so far have been mixed, but after Sheikh Mansour converted his holdings of Citys debt into equity at the start of the year, the clubs long-term future looks sound.
When the two teams met this week, the debt-fuelled American financial model was pitted against wealth based on real assets. The result was a resounding victory for the emerging economic power.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty