THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Will Rupert Murdoch affect Manchester United’s reputation?

Murdoch’s BSkyB is close to completing a deal to take over Manchester United

Murdoch’s BSkyB is close to completing a deal to take over

Manchester United

Matt Tench

FourFourTwo magazine

’Manchester United brings out the extremes in people - it is the single

most popular, as well as the most hated, club in Britain, and Murdoch’s

arrival is likely to make people’s views even more extreme. He comes

with his own baggage, and for those who are not already fans of

Manchester United, his intervention will be just another reason to hate

the club.’

Paul Barber


’From the fans’ perspective, strong leadership, financial stability and

the team’s performance on the pitch are surely what matter most. For

shareholders, the board should be free to recommend any bid if they

consider it to be in the longer term interest of the club. Murdoch’s

arrival could undermine the outstanding reputation of the club because

of the potential for conflicts of interest within the game.’

Jon Tibbs

Hill and Knowlton

’Ever since large City institutions became major shareholders,

Manchester United has not been seen as a traditional family club, run

for the fans.

For at least a decade the club has had a reputation for being ruthlessly

commercial, and Murdoch’s involvement can only increase that commercial

approach. The club’s reputation in the City will improve, its reputation

with its own fans will recover if success on the pitch continues, and

its reputation with other UK soccer club fans will further


Ashley Metcalfe

Sinclair Mason

’I think the deal has already damaged Manchester United’s reputation

with its true fans. Brand loyalty is different to the all-consuming

passion that some people have for their football club. I am sure that

for every genuine fan that they lose, there will be ten customers

waiting to take their place, but if the team’s performance worsens,

could they rely on their fans as Manchester City does? I don’t think


Martin Thomas

Cohn and Wolfe

’Murdoch has paid a premium price for one of the world’s strongest

football brands. To generate value from this investment, he will need to

support the club’s success both on and off the pitch. He will need

Manchester United to be a winning team. Despite the scare stories, the

United brand is in safe hands.’

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