How to alienate your fan base

When football clubs are run by money grabbing Americans who are intent on filling the club with debt while having no sense of what a British football club means to its supporters then two things happen.

One is the club ultimately goes bust, but meanwhile while this is happening, it alienates everyone and the supporters start revolting.

Both Liverpool and Manchester U are now in this position

When the Glazier Family took over Manchester Bankrupt they were not bankrupt – exactly the opposite in fact. Now they can’t pay the interest on their debts and unless an Arab or Russian firm buys them out, they will go bust simply because in this day and age, banks don’t say, “oh sure fine, no problems, you carry on, pay us when you can”.

When the take over happened a group of fans formed FC United – and they are still there, rising up the leagues. I have the highest regard for them because they stuck by their beliefs and did something. I have the same feeling about AFC Wimbledon.

But what of those who stayed behind? They have now reported Manchester Bankrupts to the Office of Fair Trading have sent official papers to the OFT.

The complaint starts with the awful compulsory cup scheme, which forces season ticket holders to buy tickets for didlly widdly cup games. The scheme this year excludes Carling Cup games but includes everything else. The supporters also claim that price rises contravene promises made by the Americans when they bought the club.

The complaints are:

Season ticket terms and conditions are in breach of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999;

The automatic cup ticket scheme is in breach of The Competition Act 1998, Part II, Section 18(2);

Pricing policy is in breach of The Competition Act 1998, Part II, Section 18(2)(a).

Not to be outdone by this Liverpool Insolvency – a company in such a dire mess that it is looking that it might fall apart as early as next July, has now tried to register the liver bird as a trademark of the club.

The council has said no chance and lodged an appeal.

Of course trademarks and logos are important, and clubs and players do trademark what they can. Arsenal abandoned the old crest with the Latin motto because they could not protect it – which is why we got the new badge. But Liverpool has always gone further and has registered “You’ll Never Walk Alone” on its badge as its own, even though it was created by the fans.

The city council is taking legal advice over the trademark application and will lodge an objection. I am not an expert in this field – but from my perspective as one who tries to protect copyrights, trade marks and the like, I don’t think Liverpool Insolvency has a cat in hell’s chance. All they have done is alienated yet more fans.

Arsenal might have some problems on the field this season, but at least we are not trying to register Tower Bridge as a copyright (which would be the equivalent of Liverpool’s issue).

Copyright (c) Tony Attwood 2008 (thought I would put that in just in case Liverpool tried to nick it

4 Replies to “How to alienate your fan base”

  1. I think Sidwell said it all when he said teams play Arsenal and know they can get something at of it, even when Arsenal is at home. No one is intimidated by Arsenal anymore. We have been way too soft for far too long. I also don’t think Wenger is the man to get us back to that level that teams go to Arsenal and know they cannot gain anything. I think an article i read said it best.

    “The time has come for Wenger to dispense with fantasy and replace it with a game plan that will give his club the success it craves. The glory, glory football should only be on show when games are in the bag, but they are a long way short of considering any showboating on this evidence.”

    Our style of beautiful football will always make us beautiful losers in today’s football. As the person who wrote the article said, there’s a time and a place to play beautiful football and in a close game, its not the time. We need to be able to dig out wins, in games we probably don’t deserve to win. Arsenal have not proved they can win ugly over the last 3-4 seasons and until then, no one will dread playing Arsenal. As i said, I don’t think Wenger is the man to get Arsenal to that point. Stubbornness is NEVER a good quality to have in a position of power. He is just too stubborn to change.

    A draw at Man City would be a good result, but Man City is a team in real need for a win to take pressure off their manager, so i wouldn’t be totally shocked if we lose again. Esp if the squad consists of Denilson and Bendtner.

  2. Good question Jim. Absolutely nothing.

    Good stuff on the Bankrupts and Insolvents, but I wish you’d start writing about Usmanov. Latest news is that he’s very very close to a blocking share, he’s been buying up shares furiously, at premium prices. With that kind of power he could start asking for dividends and influence other shareholders to ask for dividends. Worrying times.

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