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Malcolm Glazer, Manchester United and 'American Ways'
Last uploaded : Friday 27th May 2005 at 06:18
Contributed by : The Editor



Most Americans will have no idea who Malcolm Glazer is at this writing, although they may get to know about him if the many Britons threatening him with death have their way.

As usual, the American media, obsessed with judicial nominations, John Bolton, the menace of the Christian Right, American Idol and the Michael Jackson trial are missing out on stories that could shake the world and explain (God forbid) the next, much worse, 9/11, Bali or Madrid.

We have already written about George Galloway (only US-based Briton Christopher Hitchens has written with gravity about this popular and deeply dangerous demagogue) and his extraordinary day in Washington. We have already written many, many times over many years now about the calls for Jihad on the streets of London and other British cities. We were not shocked by 9/11 because we had seen the murmurings of this kind of visceral America-hatred for decades, long before it became fashionable to hate Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

To its credit the Philadelphia ?Evening Bulletin? put the Glazer story on its front page on 16 May. It has been a major event in the United Kingdom and further illuminates the catastrophic deterioration of the ?special relationship? between the UK and the USA.

Here is the Glazer saga:

Malcolm Glazer, a billionaire entrepreneur (his enemies would say ?goniff?) who owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team, decided earlier this year to purchase the legendary British soccer team Manchester United. This caused instantaneous fury and pandemonium in Her Majesty?s Kingdom. Effigies of Glazer have been burned in Manchester and soccer fans across England have been expressing outrage that an American (?scumbag? as one fan called him) could be allowed to venture into the hallowed world of British sport. Thousands of posters of Glazer with a bullseye across his face have proliferated across Great Britain. Even well-spoken Britons were telling interviewers they were (unrepeatable) about the Glazer venture. Having been at the receiving end myself of scary vitriol from the mouths of otherwise genteel Anglos the attitude did not surprise me.

There is something about the combination of ?American? and ?Jew? that causes paroxysms of rage in Europe these days. The fact that poor old Malcolm, aged 75, could invoke such malice across the British Isles is due largely to his being an American. Interestingly enough, Russian-Jewish Roman Abramovich bought and runs Chelsea soccer team, but his purchase angered few. 'Chelski,? as he is known, is a rabid soccer fan but Glazer has never set foot in a British footie stadium. This is a form of sacrilege to fans of a team that is, it must be said, truly of legendary status. Glazer is accused of endeavouring to attach massive debts to the assets of Manchester United, and in turn the fans are determined to boycott the turnstiles. Whatever Glazer?s shortcomings and motives, the rhetoric and epithets being used to denounce him have had all the earmarks of the abuse an increasing number of expatriate Yanks get in London and other European cities these days. ?Piss off!? is the basic starting point.

One accusation that amused was a British fan?s comment that Glazer will bring unwanted American ways to England. Having attended countless sporting events in the United States from my early childhood in the 1950s I cannot recall one instance in which anyone was drunk or disorderly. Last month I attended the opening of the Washington Nationals season at Philadelphia?s main stadium and then the home season opener at Robert Kennedy Stadium in the nation?s capitol. Both occasions were packed to capacity and not one incident of hooliganism occurred. Tiny children sat on their parents? laps drinking milk and the grown-ups cried when the Star-Spangled Banner was sung by a beautiful African-American vocal artist. A huge American flag was unfurled by men and women of the armed forces, provoking more tears, followed by a flypast of fighter jets. The ?Philly Phanatic? entertained the tots and a trivia quiz kept everyone occupied during the seventh inning stretch.

Such are the ?ways? Americans like Glazer would bring to alcohol-sodden, violence-ridden and wholly malevolent male yobbo-only sporting events in England. On the Metro after the Washington game, thousands of Americans of all races and backgrounds piled onto the immaculate, pretty and air conditioned trains and little ones chatted with their parents. Not one person was drunk, nor was there an ounce of malice between fans of opposing teams.

Malcolm Glazer may be a ruthless operator but his actions have triggered the sort of anti-American frenzy that is not far removed from the scenes last week in Grosvenor and Trafalgar Squares, when the American flag was burned by various groups. Were a Briton to wish to buy an American team one would expect excitement and the usual awe with which ?I am British? invokes on these shores (we are reporting from Washington.) Americans have a regard, generosity of spirit and affection for Britain that is not reciprocated these days.

Now that Glazer is reported to be receiving death threats one wonders where the wave of anti-American hate will end. Frankly, I wish Glazer had put his millions into another American team. One British commentator, explaining to his readers who Glazer is, said he owns ?the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whoever they may be.? Well, they ain?t nothin.? If that British journalist knew anything about American sport he would be aware of the improved Buccaneers? standing. They only happen to have won the Super Bowl.

It appears that the Jewish Yank Glazer has provoked the ugly side of the Englishman -- not a pretty sight.

One can only hope he has adequate protection when he goes to Manchester. Who would have thought it, sixty years ago to the day, when brave American soldiers once more marched into Europe to sort out its hideous, blood-curdling disputes, that in 2005 an American is threatened with death?

Considering that a few weeks ago Scottish football fans jeered when a moment?s silence was requested for the dying Pope, one hopes the Brits might look to America for better ?ways? to conduct sporting events.

The Glazer episode has been shameful. Tony Blair?s Britain is the one whose ?ways? need improvement, not America.
Photograph of Washington Nationals/Philadelphia Phillies baseball opening game April 14, 2005 by Carol Gould.

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