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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

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United not for sale

Manchester United is insisting that the club is not for sale and that there have been no secret talks with the Qatari royal family.   That does not, however, rule out the possibility of talks involving intermediaries.

Qatar bid for United moves forward

Ever since they won the right to stage the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has been looking for a Premiership club for their trophy cabinet.   Manchester United would be the ultimate trophy, particularly given that another emirate, Abu Dhabi, already owns Manchester City.


Talks started last month with an investment group owned by the Qatari royal family.  However, they were put off by the high price demanded by the Glazers.   They wanted £2bn, whereas Qatar Holdings was prepared to pay £1.5bn max, and arguably that is an over valuation.

Is Vancouver a soccer city?

Vancouver is one of my favourite cities, as it is for many people.  But is it a soccer city?  That question will be soon answered as the Vancouver Whitecaps join America's MLS as its new franchise in March.  That is in spite of the fact that last season they played in America's answer to the English conference.


In the heyday of the NASL the Whitecaps attracted big name players, among them Alan Ball, Terry Yorath and Peter Beardsley.  But when the league folded, they dropped down the pyramid to keep their name alive.

West Ham 'happy' with half empty stadium

As the race for the Olympic Stadium enters its final phase with the bids submitted, it has emerged that West Ham's plan is based on the assumption that it will be half empty for most of the club's matches. A combination of an athletics track and a half empty stadium is not going to create a great atmosphere.

Fifa backtracks on winter World Cup

Under pressure from European clubs, Fifa is backtracking on the idea of staging the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter.   It has put the ball in Qatar's court, stating that any decision would require an application from their national association to the Fifa executive.   It is likely that Qatar will shelve a final decision until after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Brad Friedel declared bankrupt

Aston Villa and former US goalkeeper Brad Friedel has been declared bankrupt at a court hearing in Macclesfield.   How is it possible to go bankrupt when you earn £40,000 a week?   It was nothing to do with high living.  Friedel put a large amount of his fortune into a soccer academy he set up under his name in Ohio.   

Argyle in real danger of disappearing

Plymouth Argyle football consultant Peter Ridsdale has delivered a stark warning that the Pilgrims are in financial meltdown and that the club is in real danger of going out of existence.   He does not think that fans realise how serious the situation is.

Japanese directors need to come to aid of Argyle

Peter Ridsdale has said that Plymouth Argyle's Japan-based directors need to come up with some cash quickly to keep the club afloat.   The Pilgrims' football consultant has been a controversial figure in football, but many of the Green Army see him as a voice of relative sanity compared to George Synan and Yusaki Kagami who are not popular with many Argyle fans.

Experts criticise Dome Mark II

Experts on stadium construction are increasingly giving the design of London's Olympic Stadium a good kicking.    For example, Radio 5 had the architect of the City of Manchester stadium on air this morning and he reasonably made the point that an athletics track destroys the atmosphere from a football point of view.

Corruption concerns in Indonesia

Concerns about corruption regularly surface in football.   They can take a variety of forms: 'bungs' over the transfer of players; money laundering; tax evasion; allegations of bribes to officials etc.   However, in some developing countries these problems can be more endemic, possibly because the government itself is thoroughly corrupt and is not interested in checking corruption in civil society.  Occasionally countries are compared to kleptocracies because ruling elites or families appropriate large portions of economic output for themselves.