PLANET SPORT: The stuff we couldn’t make up…


Fools’ Gold?

April 2009 – Birmingham co-owner David Gold tells the Guardain: “To have an impact in these difficult economic times we need to reduce ticket prices by 50%. This couldn’t be done overnight as all clubs have contracted expenditures and overheads they need to see through, but it could perhaps be introduced for the start of the 2010-11 season and be carried out incrementally at roughly 17% per season for three seasons. Based on past experience, I genuinely believe this would eventually result in crowds rising by at least a quarter, maybe more.”

October 2009 – Gold tells Radio 5 live: “The model for reducing prices doesn’t work. In the event that you cut your prices in half you don’t double your attendance. Fans will love him (new owner Carson Yeung if he reduces ticket prices) but he will get relegated because it doesn’t work.” He added: “Often fans say if you cut your prices you will fill the stadium – it is not true.”
January 2010 – Gold, now West Ham co-owner, tells the Telegraphy: “If Man United are paying £50 million a year in interest, if they didn’t have that debt, then they could use that £50 million to reduce ticket prices.”
March 2010 – Gold tells the BBC that he would love to reduce ticket prices for the fans but – despite being co-owner of West Ham and responsible amongst other things the ticket prices at his club – it is not his responsibility to set entry prices, maintaining the Premier League should be leading the way.

Red Knights or Red Devils?
A group of “City experts” are planning to buy Manchester United and save the club from owners the Glazers.
Among the group are:
Paul Marshall – co-founded of hedge fund Marshall Wace. According to the Independent, the hedge fund “hit the headlines selling short the shares of the struggling Halifax Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock, and then in front of MPs defended the hedge fund industry and short sellingMPs defending .
Jim O’Neill – chief strategist at Goldman Sachs. “Think massive bonuses for staff only a year after the global banking bailout, think advice to Greece on how to circumvent EU borrowing rules, think investment bank famously dubbed as a ‘great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity’,” says the Independent.
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