Money’s too tight to mention?

WHAT a weekend of conflicting emotions: celebrating uproariously our second four-goal haul in a week, combined with fretting over the flood of stories suggesting that the crowd of vultures who’ve been circling over Malcolm Glazer’s metaphorical and literal sickbed are preparing to eat.

Red Issue’s website first got a tip two weeks ago from a decent financial source that the Glazers were supposedly preparing to sell all their assets, bar MUFC, next year.

I suppose we should be flattered. And then very, very afraid. Last Sunday’s announcement of their multi-million dollar Palm Beach mansion sale would appear to be supporting, if relatively trivial, evidence, as would the brouhaha in Tampa over the sacking of a radio reporter who dared suggest the Bucs might be sold.

Then, during last week, came a rash of stories about ongoing Old Trafford spending cuts, together with news of a “new policy” regarding contract renegotiation timetables that means we risk losing players like Vidic.

Meanwhile, MUFC executive customers were receiving desperate begging letters from the club offering price freezes for their facilities if they renewed by March, and paid upfront: this has simply never happened before.

And whoever you talk to inside OT will give you a tale of woe about some bean counter’s cruelty, some idiocy being perpetrated that is causing staff morale to plunge.

In the midst of all these stories, United suddenly took everyone by surprise and announced they won’t be taking up the £10m option on that Partizan wonderkid after all, despite the copious amounts of hype from Fergie when the deal was originally announced. Apparently United’s “experts” have decided, in just 10 weeks flat, that he’ll never be any better than the players we already have in the reserves. Hmm.

These “experts” on continental players’ potential had previously decreed that Torres would never score sufficiently in the PL and that Pique was “too slow and too easily turned” — something he singularly failed to demonstrate in Rome. One hopes we’re not spotting a pattern here. Still, never mind: we have the wonderful new squad number recipient Oliver Gill to look forward to instead! Anyone caught using the word ‘nepotism’ goes straight to the naughty step.

Partizan, slightly cheekily, consequently suggested out loud that United might be having cash problems, echoing remarks made by Bayern Munich over our non-bid for Ribery. Neither of those interventions was really fully justified, but there is no doubt that many are whispering about United’s possible troubles on this front.

Actually, I do believe the Old Trafford protestations that at least a significant portion of the Ronaldo fee residue is indeed Fergie’s to spend. Not because Red Football Ltd’s finances may be healthier than credited — they are, indeed, utterly knackered — but because everyone knows Fergie would go ballistically public if he were denied the lion’s share of that money.

Alex has swallowed many a humiliation from his bosses down the years, and disappointed many a fan with his seemingly cowardly or compromising retreats, but I can’t believe he would accept a direction that all of the remaining €60 million was to be taken from him.

Villa arrive on Saturday, by some distance the hardest match we will face until the City semi-finals in January, and I’m quite curious to see young Milner perform. He almost joined United once: the masochist in me likes to see ‘what we might’ve won,’ as they used to tease on the gameshows.

Still, we’ve got Gibson now: and I think he might yet turn out to have been the top prize all along...


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