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May 15, 2005

Fools.

So an American buys a football club off some Irishmen and the fools that rule us decide:

Ministers are planning to change the law to prevent future "hostile" takeovers of Premier League football clubs in the wake of Malcolm Glazer's £790 million acquisition of Manchester United.

Idiocy. Further:

Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP for Manchester Central and a United fan, said: "I want the Government to look into this. There are real questions about how we run any type of industry."

Fortunately, pinhead, you, the politicians, do not run football. If you did, no doubt it would be as successful as the British owned car industry was when you ran it.

It’s simple. If Glaser cocks it up he loses his 800 million. Let him get on with it.

May 15, 2005 in Sports | Permalink

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Comments

As as Laban points out, football is not like any other industry. It has already been saved from itself by government intervention. Without a raft of safety and security legislation I'm sure it could have continued at a low but steady level of success as a host for formalised gang warfare and mass killing, but it wouldn't have turned into the much higher turnover business it is now if it hadn't been for the intervention of those concerned for its long term future and bearing the external costs of its customers' activities. The low-level carnage of football in the 70s and 80s is, in fact, a beautiful illustration of the what happens when you don't have enough "red tape" "strangling private enterprise".

That said, that Labour chappie is talking cock.

Posted by: PooterGeek | May 15, 2005 9:33:38 AM

All Pootergeek is saying with the pseudo-economics talk is that the government finally enforced law and order, which everyone (except some on the left) agrees is the government's job. That doesn't give the government the right to interfere in the buying and selling involved in the game.

And since when is preventing thugs from being able to knife people "red tape"? The state is responsible for protecting us from violence, but that doesn't mean it can come into our offices and tell us who can sell our property to. If I hire a security firm to protect me, that doesn't give them the right to run my business.

Protect me from my neighbour beating me up -- that's what you're there for -- but don't stop me trading.

Posted by: Lance | May 15, 2005 1:13:13 PM

"pseudo-economics talk"

Funnily enough, I deliberately avoided the word "externalities" because, accurate as it would have been, it would have sounded pretentious. Other than that I can't see anything remotely pseudy about what I wrote---and I spend my working life drawing red lines through pretentious guff in academic writing and replacing it with plain English. I even wrote a short book about it. (Of course, what I wrote wasn't consistent with knee-jerk Right-wing 'Blogging ideology, but that's different from actually being difficult to read or understand.)

"the government finally enforced law and order"

It had always enforced law and order, but only in the manner of firefighters turning up at a blaze enforcing fire prevention. It's fire regulations (of the sort currently being objected to by plenty of landlords in England and Wales) that prevent the greatest number of deaths from fire, just like making clubs build properly designed barriers in football grounds stops rival fans from tearing each other to pieces (without acting as surfaces against which they can be crushed to death in an emergency).

"And since when is preventing thugs from being able to knife people "red tape"?"

Plenty of people complained about "red tape" and the government interfering in "fans' freedom to enjoy the game the way they always had" when regulations (a lot of regulations) about seating in football grounds, ticket sales, and even the free movement of football-watching citizens were brought in.

If what I wrote was too pseudy, how about this?:

Sometimes regulations help, sometimes they don't. Good governance is about discriminating between what works and what doesn't on the basis of the evidence, not on the basis of what the latest tinfoil-hat-wearing libertarian loons, or right-on Leftie populists happen to think ought to be.

And, incidentally, I linked approvingly yesterday from my own 'Blog to this piece arguing that anyone could buy Man U and do exactly what they wanted with it (within the law) because it is a public company.

Even more concisely: Think before you post, Lance.

(By the way, I'd say there are more people on the Right who think law enforcement isn't the government's job than there are on the Left, but that's another argument.)

Posted by: PooterGeek | May 15, 2005 3:06:18 PM

>Funnily enough, I deliberately avoided the word "externalities" because, accurate as it would have been, it would have sounded pretentious.

So you used "external costs" instead.

>Other than that I can't see anything remotely pseudy about what I wrote

I was just saying that the economic talk (or suggestions) were unnecessary. I didn't say that what you said was in general pseudy (or difficult to understand - it wasn't, in fact it was nicely-written). So calm down.

>knee-jerk Right-wing 'Blogging ideology

I'll ignore this.

>It had always enforced law and order, but only in the manner of firefighters turning up at a blaze enforcing fire prevention... making clubs build properly designed barriers in football grounds stops rival fans from tearing each other to pieces (without acting as surfaces against which they can be crushed to death in an emergency).

So, in other words, it kept its intervention restricted to methods designed to stop violence, and didn't use this as an excuse to interfere in other aspects of the game.

>If what I wrote was too pseudy, how about this?: Sometimes regulations help, sometimes they don't. Good governance is about discriminating between what works and what doesn't on the basis of the evidence, not on the basis of what the latest tinfoil-hat-wearing libertarian loons, or right-on Leftie populists happen to think ought to be.

This is even less interesting than your first comment. To a degree, this is obviously true. However, there is a limit to the state's entitlement to interfere with other people's private affairs, even if the evidence is that it would be to their benefit for the state to interfere, and there's no recognition in your statement of this (or even any recognition of the existence of this view).

You've also left out the suggestion made in your first post that because the state was justified in interfering in the matter of crowd violence, that gives it a right to interfere in other aspects of football. I don't think the first provides any support for the second.

Posted by: Lance | May 15, 2005 4:05:52 PM

I had asked Tim if I could modify my original post because I had hit the Post button instead of the Preview button while it was still too confrontational, but unfortunately (or fortunately) you replied before I could act on his kind permission to do so. Apologies,Lance, for the tone of my first draft.

So, in other words, it kept its intervention restricted to methods designed to stop violence, and didn't use this as an excuse to interfere in other aspects of the game."

I'd disagree with both parts of that. Firstly many of the interventions were intended to make football grounds more welcoming to "respectable" families, not to prevent violence directly, and, in advance of many of the other changes being made, they were argued against precisely on the grounds that they would cost the clubs money but do little to reduce violence (which the clubs---some would say rightly---could argue wasn't their problem).

Your difficult-to-define distinction would therefore have done no useful work in those debates, just as a landlord and fire warden would disagree about what the warden could reasonably expect the landlord to do to prevent fire on his property. (In contrast, of course, Tony Lloyd just wants legislation so that he and his fellow fans can feel warm and fuzzy inside.) Even now many commentators---most of them on the Right---want government to interfere in the actual rules of the game so that players are made "set a better example" to young supporters with their behaviour on the pitch.

"There is a limit to the state's entitlement to interfere with other people's private affairs, even if the evidence is that it would be to their benefit for the state to interfere, and there's no recognition in your statement of this (or even any recognition of the existence of this view)."

Now this is an interesting question, and one which I think represents the core of my disagreement with you and others like you. I recognise your (and others') view that we should set the extent of state's "entitlement" in advance as a valid one; I just think it's wrong. At the risk of sounding pseudy, it's an ideological belief, not an empirical one. We could swap examples and counterexamples all evening, but, generally, ideology has been the source of most of the worst man-made horrors since humans started organizing themselves into societies. My only universal guiding principle is that all universal guiding principles are wrong. It's a nice rule-of-thumb that the state should keep itself to itself as much as possible, but there's nothing self-evident or absolute about it at all. In my crazier moments I sometimes think that government's highest priority should be to run a secret police force, charged with stamping out ideology whenever and wherever it appears ;-) .

The changes that have taken place in English football over the past few decades, I think, give some examples of why I disagree with you---as do, less trivially, some questions in medical ethics, but there isn't the time or space to go into those properly here.

Posted by: PooterGeek | May 15, 2005 5:31:53 PM

>Apologies,Lance, for the tone of my first draft.

No need. My unfortunate choice of the term "pseudo" gave the wrong impression and was to blame.

I don't see that wanting the state to generally stay out of private lives is any more an "ideology" than wanting them to interfere is.

Posted by: Lance | May 15, 2005 7:30:32 PM

Football clubs should be bankrolled by Russian billionaires not American ones :P
Before Glazer buys Utd their estimated transfer fund is £0. Now it is £100 million over five years, with no talk of having to sell players to raise funds to buy other players.

As for the debt, Man Utd made £60 mil profit last year but has to pay out to dividend holders. Now it can use it to pay off the debt and pay out to dividend holders - I see no difference. If Glazer should choose to not pay a dividend then the remaining shareholders will gradually be compelled to sell.

Posted by: Monjo | May 16, 2005 11:39:22 AM