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Derek Taylor

Derek Taylor

"Derek has been an anchor on the Fox Soccer Report since 2007. His extensive background in North American sports and his fascination with math gives him an unusual perspective on soccer."


Fight the Power

Written by on October 14, 2010 | 35 Comments »
Posted in General, Liverpool, Manchester United, Money Game

If I see another picture of green and gold scarves at Old Trafford, I’m going to lose it.  And yes, that “Built by Shanks, broke by Yanks” banner was pretty funny.  But the degree to which the creator missed the point makes me laugh even harder.

I’ve spent most of my adult life covering sports.  And I’ve been fortunate/cursed to have developed very few loyalties to teams.  So I don’t have a favorite soccer team as you do.

That said owners own clubs.  It doesn’t matter if the money came from porn or how the ownership is structured or where the debt is placed.  The owner owns the team.

In the end what they do with “your” team is not any of your business.  It hurts when they take a once-proud team and cut it off at the knees.  Or take our burgeoning club and stunt its growth with stupid choices.  However, there isn’t much we can do about that.

Think of the pizza joint near your house.  If the owner wants to make Meat Lovers’ the daily special on Friday, it’s his choice.  It’s really stupid, but it’s his choice.  If Malcolm Glazer wanted the cast of Glee—cheerleading AND show choir—to perform at halftime of every game at Old Trafford, it would be so.  I would hate every second of it and it would happen.  And if he wanted to finance it on an FA England credit card, so be it.

“He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

And in therein lies the answer to how you can fix “your” team.

Pick another team.  Pick no team.  Whatever.  Just stop supporting an ownership that you hate.  Every dollar you spend is another vote for the current leadership.  So stop giving them your money.

No ticket, no shirt, no scarf.

If the Glazers were not experiencing record revenues at United this would have been over long ago.  If Hicks & Gillett were not pulling in 43,000 to watch Fernando Torres limp-sprint to goal, their time balancing on that knife edge would have been much shorter.

You have a huge amount power to make changes at your favorite club.  We are the people who helped make Tickle Me Elmo, the pointless iPad and those ugly Ed Hardy t-shirts all the rage.  Our money did that.  So stop paying.

Of course like in any election one vote doesn’t make much of a difference.  But the change can’t be made without your vote.  It would take thousands of like-minded people with the best interests of their favorite team in mind.  The best part is, it doesn’t require any actual effort.  It requires you to NOT do anything

Yes, there would be less attention from the TV cameras on the protest.  But your statement would be much louder.  The important people would actualy listen.  If United was scared about people wearing those scarves when they went to Old Trafford, United would have confiscated all of them or ejected the fans wearing them.  They didn’t, because money is money.

If you want control as fans, take it back.  Piss and moan and pay is the definition of mixed messages.

35 responses to “Fight the Power”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    Quite a dogmatic view when you consider that a football club’s board must first approve a sale and screen prospective buyers. And let’s not compare a cultural institution to a pizza shop (even though Tony’s Pizza in NYC is DELISH!)

    *Covering sport (reading from monitor) and being able to analyze it are two very different skills my friend.

  2. Allan says:

    Good point. If things don’t get better at Liverpool and Man Utd., the fans will eventually stop attending games. This has already been happening at some Liverpool games (i.e. carling cup games). Man Utd’s revenue has dropped as well. How much of that is due to the economy versus discontent towards the owners is not quite clear. However the supporters of both clubs have vociferously expressed their displeasure towards the owners. If Liverpool do not get new owners soon, I am sure the protests will intensify. Your point is a valid one. The sale process could have been fast tracked if the fans simply stopped attending games and purchasing merchandise.

  3. Gus Keri says:

    It’s easy for you to say, Derek, considering that you don’t have any loyalty to any soccer club, according to your own words. But when you spend all your life supporting certain club, the relation between the two becomes more than just sporting thing. It becomes like family. I, for example, have been fan of Liverpool since the days of Kevin Keegan. Liverpool FC and myself have shared a lot of memory. We shared happiness with every English league title or European cup win. We, also, shared the sadness of trophiless seasons and the misery of Heysel or Hillsborough disaster. Now I can’t imagine my day without the fixed doses of Liverpool news. I think the majority of Liverpool fans, and for this matter the Man Utd fans, feel that their club becomes part of their lives. They have to check their news with the morning coffee or watch their games with the afternoon tea or the evening glass of wine. I learned long time ago that in life there are good and evil. It might sound like a script from a Hollywood movie that, sometimes, evil triamphs but its rule doesn’t last for ever and good will prevail agian. Until that happened, you can be sure of one thing, I will keep watching my club and if I have a chance to go to the stadium, I will. I will never abandone it.

  4. I can’t imagine Man Utd fans not going to games or buying merchandise. The team isn’t going downhill at least on the pitch

    I wonder if SAF is being a good soldier by saying he won’t dip into the transfer market because the players are overvalued

    I wish they bring back the green and gold kit like they had in the 90’s. I bet the fans will instantly buy them

  5. marcus says:

    This is a typical point of view from a North American (American or Canadian) with ZERO understanding of the entire culture of supporting football clubs in Europe or Latin America. You don’t understand that supporting a football club is an issue of identity, family background, tradition – it’s built around an entire culture of rituals, club-identified pubs and other merchants, community history. Supporting a football club is something deeply rooted in one’s community, family history, class background, regional background, etc. Of course you would make such a superficial, vapid argument – supporting sports teams in the US is a superficial, vapid pasttime. So stop talking about something you know little about. You’ve never felt this kind of support for anything, obviously. For you, sports is just a nice shallow little hobby. And no, I’m not a Liverpool supporter. BTW, there’s a difference between “fans” and “supporters.” I know you don’t know the difference of course.

  6. Derek Taylor says:

    @Gus Keri–

    Good to see you here. You bring up an interesting point about family. I would wager Liverpool fans (for this example) would more easily disavow a family member than give up Liverpool for what H&G have done. That seems very wrong to me. And seems to miss the point of life.

    My main point here is that you can still support Liverpool with everything else…follow them in the paper, read their website, watch their game Saturday morning. You get to keep all those great memories that you have. But when you give Liverpool your money, you tacitly encourage their current course of action.

    “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

  7. Derek Taylor says:

    @Soccerlogical– I’m not sure what “a football club’s board must first approve a sale and screen prospective buyers” has to do with the point of my post. Help me out here.

  8. Soccerlogical says:

    Marcus – As an American, I DO understand how supporters and the community feel about their local team. Despite what a few blowhards may think or suggest, a middle class dad greatly looks forward to the tradition of taking his kid to the weekend game and the fact that his club’s board (as opposed to a franchise owner) approved the sale and buyers makes it more complicated than just boycotting a local pizza shop hoping they close shop cause you don’t like the high price of their delicious and addictive garlic knots.

  9. Given that some have positioned the article as a “North American” opinion can someone explain to me why similar ideas and suggestions have been put forward by journalists from the other side of the pond? I think Barry Glendenning is a prime example.

  10. everwonthetreble says:


    It’s a personal matter mate. If you haven’t been born into a situation whereby a team has a strong tie to the community then you’ll never really understand the predicament that it leaves the supporters in. Think about how hard it is growing up in a community and supporting a team and then abandoning the only club youv’e know and switching allegiances? I’ve got mates who haven’t been to Old Trafford since the Glazers took over and they go home and away with FCUM. It kills them not to see United at Old Trafford but they’re doing with they feel is right. I don’t blame them for walking away and they don’t blame me for sticking with United. In the end, we’re all from Manchester and no owners good or bad are taking that away from us.

  11. Everwonthetreble – Thanks for reminding us of the fans that did take positive action at great personal cost.

  12. Gus Keri says:

    Derek: you remind me of the saying: “there are no two exactly similar fingers in one hand”. It goes for fans in general. Also it goes for family members and family tradition all over the world. One fan’s believes doesn’t have to match the others’. Of course, there are fans who value Liverpool more than their own family. It could be because they are trying to compensate for some missing elements in their own life. But also, many of the fans consider the club as part of their family. The club doesn’t replace the family. How many time you see fans dressing their childers with their club’s shirt? What do you tell those children when you decide to boycott the team’s games? Would an 8 or 9 years old child understand what you are trying to do? And for the saying about good men not doing any thing, let me tell you that they are doing what they can or what they think is right. For one, they are voicing their opinion and protesting. As for boycotting games, I still don’t condone it. I don’t wish to see the Anfield empty when my team is trying hard to stay at a top level. It’s not fair to the players or to the fans in general. By the way, I don’t mind boycotting beer, though. Any way, I am allergic to beer.

  13. Ursusarctos says:

    Despite Taylor’s breathless “look what I’ve just thought up” tone, this topic is NOT a new one for LFC supporters – it’s been the subject of a great deal of debate for several years now amongst supporters. The main argument advanced against such a strategy has been that it not only harms the owners’ pocketbook, it ALSO harms the club as an ongoing entity independent of who owns it (e.g., less revenue = less success = relegation etc as one scenario), as well as disturbing the sense of community/ common purpose with the club that is so deeply felt by fans. On that point, the use of the “pizza joint” analogy shows the extent to which Taylor does NOT understand the depth of commitment of fans (Bobby referred to “great personal cost”). Taylor also needs to relearn his social history – marches and public protests (as the Shanks/ Yanks sign) are NOT useless. They are invaluable in keeping the issue in the public eye, rallying support for the cause, and educating heretofore ignorant and wavering potential supporters. Most fundamentally, the premise of the piece (“the answer”) is FLAWED – there are other, more indirect ways to effectively pressure owners … even RBS acknowledged the pressure they received from thousands of LFC fans (including potential boycotts of RBS) to tighten the conditions attached to the Duo’s refinancing, which of course turned out to be the key point resulting in today’s forced sale. Good topic, bad presentation, Taylor.

  14. Ursusarctos says:

    In a media interview post-NESV purchase closing, Tom Hicks lashed out at the part played by “militant internet terrorism campaigns” by LFC supporters in making it more difficult for him to attract new investors … in other words, LFC fan “pissing and moaning” (even while still “paying”) – done the right way – had a beneficial effect on getting rid of the Dynamic Duo once and for all by helping to force the RBS-controlled process on the Duo, by Hicks’ own admission. Care to retract your thesis, Mr Taylor?

  15. Gus Keri says:

    We still love you, Derek.

  16. Derek Taylor says:

    @Ursusarctos–Welcome. Good you see you here as well. Here’s 7 thoughts in no particular order. Forgive me for posting them this way…the site gloms text together…1) The old saying isn’t “follow the rabble-rousing and discontent.” It’s “follow the money.” It is such for a reason.

    2) Your argument that rallying “worked” in this case and thus everything else would not have worked, or would not have been more effective…that is not a conclusion you can logically draw. You have not presented any evidence to counter my hypothesis.

  17. Derek Taylor says:

    3) The “depth of commitment” you speak of it what will get you abused as a fan. If your demand for the product is so inelastic, the producer can do whatever he wants and whatever he wants to you. Ticket prices for Toronto FC, for example, will go up as long as there is greater demand than supply.

  18. Derek Taylor says:

    4) In the big picture do you think the Royal Bank of Scotland cares more about public opinion than its own money? They care about how public opinion affects their money. They care about how their customer service affects their money. But first and foremost they care about their money.

  19. Derek Taylor says:

    5) I’m pretty sure I didn’t come up with the laws of supply and demand (your ‘look what I just came up with’ comment). My only job here to is to point out what is staring us in the face, since so many fans seem to be missing it.

  20. Derek Taylor says:

    6) From your first response:”(e.g., less revenue = less success = relegation etc as one scenario)”…So you’re more concerned about your club finishing 15th than an ownership destroying everything you hold dear? I think you’re missing the importance of the long term.

  21. Derek Taylor says:

    7) Hicks’ big problem wasn’t “militant internet terrorism campaigns.” It was a global recession/lack of access to credit/lack of cash/bad timing. If he had those factors in his favor, he’d be in the position the Glazer family is…happily in charge of a club that has a big portion of fans that hate them.

  22. Claudine – I am following up with this …..there again if you you are using your I phone this response isn’t really much good!

  23. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Mr Taylor: Agreed that the site’s formatting options are a touch primitive. I’ll reply in like fashion, using your “numbers”.

  24. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Mr Taylor: 1) You say “The old saying … [is] ‘follow the money'”. Exactly – and exactly what LFC supporters were doing with the “rabble rousing” – ensuring that those with the money, in particular RBS and potential Hicks investors, were aware what they could expect to face. You did read Hicks’ complaint about the effect of “militant internet terrorism campaigns” by fans, right? And RBS does a lot of business amongst LFC supporters in GB, business which they saw could be at risk if they did not take a hard line with the Duo … “rabble-rousing” can be extraordinarily useful to educate and rally support amongst potentially like-minded people. As I asked: you do remember your social history for a multitude of examples of same?

  25. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Mr Taylor: 2) You say “Your argument that rallying “worked” in this case and thus everything else would not have worked, or would not have been more effective…that is not a conclusion you can logically draw. You have not presented any evidence to counter my hypothesis.” No, I NEVER said “everything else would not have worked”. I said that YOUR hypothesis (“the answer”) that “pissing and moaning” does NOT work and ONLY direct financial action – in the form of boycotting one’s club – does is wrong. I showed that rallying DID help this time – and with the example of the LFC case, thereby proved your hypothesis wrong as a GENERAL statement (whatever its merits in specific cases).

  26. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Mr Taylor: 3) “The “depth of commitment” you speak of it what will get you abused as a fan. If your demand for the product is so inelastic …” True, if you change “will” to “may”. But to know if that is true … You used the economic concept of demand elasticity, so allow me to introduce that of Utility. To vastly simplify – if as a supporter I value the match day experience more than what I can expect to receive from using the ticket price money for another purpose, then how am I being abused? To a supporter, that is good value for money – and continues to be so until ticket price increases swing the utility calculation in favour of NOT spending it on match day tickets (or shirts, or pay sports TV, etc). Your talk of being “abused” patronises supporters’ individual utility “calculations”. You know best?

  27. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Mr Taylor: 4) “In the big picture do you think the Royal Bank of Scotland cares more about public opinion than its own money?” I’m getting the feeling you did NOT follow the LFC Duo drama in any detail over the past months. That’s fine – they are not your club – but it does mean you should NOT make judgements about the wisdom and effectiveness of fan actions without first getting a much firmer grasp of the facts. Did you not read my point (first post, Oct 15) about: “RBS acknowledged the pressure they received from thousands of LFC fans (including potential boycotts of RBS) to tighten the conditions attached to the Duo’s refinancing”? Bad public (i.e., LFC fan) opinion of RBS potentially could have translated into a loss of “its own money”, which the bank cared about. See my reply to point 1) above as well. Geddit, finally?

  28. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Mr Taylor: 5) “My only job here to is to point out what is staring us in the face, since so many fans seem to be missing it.” And my job here is to point out that in the LFC case – one you used as an example to support your hypothesis – you were “missing it”, not the supporters whose actions contributed to the result contrary to your expectations (see my reply to point 2) above).

  29. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Mr Taylor: 6) “So you’re more concerned about your club finishing 15th than an ownership destroying everything you hold dear? I think you’re missing the importance of the long term.” A lot of LFC supporters were fully prepared (resigned unhappily, but ready) to take a 9 point administration deduction and face the very real prospect of relegation (never mind 15th) … if that was the ONLY way to get the Duo out for the long term benefit of the club. But it wasn’t the only way – a sustained, empowering pressure campaign instead helped to achieve the same result without the additional trauma of boycotting the club. Now THAT is thinking long term …

  30. Ursusarctos says:

    @ Mr Taylor: 7) “Hicks’ big problem wasn’t “militant internet terrorism campaigns.” It was a global recession/lack of access to credit/lack of cash/bad timing. If he had those factors in his favor, he’d be in the position the Glazer family is…” No – Hicks’ big problem was “militant internet terrorism campaigns” in the context of needing new investment in the midst of a global credit crunch. The financial situation is fact – you can’t just pretend it didn’t happen and ask What Ifs if it had not. If you can do that, I can equally ask What If Moores had not blinked and sold to DIC instead? Or What If Anfield had the same room to expand around it as OT, and it had been upgraded to 60,000+ seats a decade ago? Or What If the Riise OG never happened and LFC went on to win CL #6 in 2008, followed up by #19 the next season (both results hinged on the tightest margins) – where would LFC finances be then, even under the Duo? Two can play this game – but we don’t live in an infinitude of alternate universes, we can only deal with the facts in our version … where LFC supporters activism made a difference.

  31. Ursusarctos says:

    LOL @ Bobby … A conundrum wrapped in an enigma that be …

  32. Ludwig(LHJS) says:

    Nice article and I agree with you Derek. If the fans want a say they must own the club. The Green Bay Packers is the only example that comes to mind. I’m a proud fan of the Cheese Heads, they have some-thing special down there. As far as North American fans go I feel we are as attached to our local clubs as the English. Leaf and Canuck fans will fill their respective buildings for-ever; the only way these fans won’t be taken advantage of would be a Law preventing abusive owners from taking advantage of the devoted fan.That would require political will and just society. Oh well…

  33. Jack Vincent says:

    I think Derek’s point is right on. Vote with your wallet, and stop supporting a team if you don’t like… the way the team is managed.

    “Oh, but it’s my home team!”, you say.

    I say, “So what?” Do you know how tribal that is?

    Do you know how difficult it is to profitably run a team? Do you mind when players who have a certain level of talent get gazillions, and all they have to do is show up for three years? Do you mind if those deals run the team’s profitability to the brink of bankruptcy and, then, the owners have to look to sell?

    You might have a comment here or there about this player or that player, but you keep coming, and the players keep sucking the money out of the sport and then, so many of them, live excessively and decadantly.

    THAT is the reality. There are many things I like about the free market and a few things I don’t. But it’s the reality… and I, as a consumer, a buyer, a fan, have choices. Whinging and moaning is one of them, but it doesn’t get me very far.

  34. soccerrules says:

    Basically,the reason why fans in the UK are disgruntled is that the Clubs can’t finance themselves and look to all these “owners” from Persion Gulf,Russian mob,U.S. wannabes etc…To get enough cash.

    The finances are not sustainable in a long term.

  35. Andy says:

    I like your black and white, ‘money talks and BS walks’ analysis and think it’s right on the money. The same is true with these blogs. On that FSR show the other day, Bobby’s blog was mentioned and it took me 30 minutes to find it … since his blog on the FSR website is a year old. Makes me think that FSR is some two bit operation when normal contemporary ‘links’ can help the client out. And we are clients as we watch the show, allowing advertizers to pay your bosses who own the show.

    The other thing is, why the heck does FSR dump commentators so unceremoniously ? Your show doesn’t even mention them on its site, which is a pitiful. Macheda was gone as if abducted, then Teri Lee, then Laura B. Now that woman with glasses is suddenly there. The FSR show is much too mercenary and has absolutely zero consistency except for Bobby M who is probably an owner or CEO or something.

    I feel bad that someday you will also be gone …. poof! … with no trace of you having ever been.

    Where have all the other anchors gone? And why don’t they even get a chance to say Sayonara to the viewers?

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