Posted: 3/2/2010


       On the bus into Manchester the sign says Newton Heath, which was the origin of in-the-red Manchester United and their original colours. We pass Eastlands, home to the sky blues of in-the-black, Manchester City. 

      I am on the way to the two day SOCCEREX EUROPEAN, where the leaders of the football industry meet and greet each other at the convention centre. We have a progress meeting of the ENGLAND 2018-2022 Bid. ENGLAND UNITED-THE WORLD INVITED. The room is far too small and most of the four speakers uninspiring and we can't wait until the fantastic buffet feast that awaits us if we don't fall asleep first.

     England's North-West from the Lake District to Cheshire is home to 30 professional clubs, including The four Manchester and Liverpool clubs, plus Wigan, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Blackburn Rovers of the EPL, and a rich football history with the home of the PFA-The Professional Footballers Association, all of which are less than one hour from each other. They generate an annual income of over 800 million with 3,000 full time employees, and if the bid is successful intend to leave a LEGACY.

     The RED KNIGHTS are a group of wealthy United fans who would like to take the club off The Glazers for 1 billion, and send them packing back to Florida. Why is it that such boring guys come from Tampa, which was home the the exciting Tampa Bay Rowdies of the old NASL, with their green and yellow uniforms, their fans -The Fannies, Rodney Marsh and his tricks and the saying SOCCER IS A KICK IN THE GRASS

     In 100 days the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off at Soccer City with South Africa playing Mexico and today there are lots of friendlies featuring the 32 finalists. Get a serious injury now and you may be left at home.

     I went to a session: Financial Prudence: Can Europe's Elite Balance the Books? WELL. NO !!,at the moment at least. We had Ivan Gazidis, CEO Arsenal, Ernesto Paolillo, CEO Internazionale, Jose Marie Cruz Andres, V-P. Sevilla FC, Chris Alexander, Finance Director Chelsea FC, and Esteve Calzada CEO Prime Time Sports. Very interesting with clubs in big financial trouble and spending too much on players. In La Liga 2nd divisions some clubs are spending 150% of their income on players!

    We had a One-On-One with Don Garber, for 11 years the MLS CommissionerDavid Beckham,  Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy, soccer specific stadiums, World Cup bid, whose comments were very well  received.  Then The European Club Association press conference. Chairman is Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, a West German and FC Bayern legend and twice European Player of the Year. Instead of being at odds, they are now working well, or at least much better, with FIFA and UEFA.

    We had a happy hour in The Red Square Lounge, courtesy of Russia 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid serving....Mexican Corona cerveza with lime slices!!  and THE BEAT GOES ON !