Siberian Soapbox

Manchester United have an official pharmaceutical partner in Vietnam. Just let that sink in a moment. When you’re backpacking out of Ho Chi Minh City and you urgently need some United-approved medicine, have no fear. Perhaps you are getting thirsty in Nigeria and you just can’t trust a Chelsea-affiliated beverage? Chivita to the rescue! And just when you thought there was no hope in finding a trustworthy broadcaster to watch those vital MUTV clips out in Botswana, Azam TV comes riding in to save the day.

Dear lord, it’s enough to make the head spin – and not just because I’m on my fourth coffee before 11am. The mind utterly boggles. I have actually been employed by another of the vast array of global partners – the Hong Kong Jockey Club – so in a way I am complicit.

Official Partners of Manchester United

In total, there are 65 official partners listed on the Manchester United website. The most recent addition to this happy family is apparently some Indian bank who are yet to be declared by the club. They insisted on producing the most excruciating advert involving a fucking dab. All of them pay an exorbitant amount of money to have obsequious garbage dripping in corporate honey vomited out alongside the club badge. Last year alone, for example, these deals added up to an astonishing ₤162m.

We all knew the world had gone mad some time ago. A sexually deviant and morally corrupt orangutan effectively rules the world, and even bagged the 2026 World Cup, for starters. Mino Raiola “earned” himself over ₤40m for negotiating Paul Pogba’s return to Old Trafford. Danny Ings even managed to command a ₤20m transfer fee for christ’s sake.

Before anyone gets misty-eyed about the good old days before sponsorship deals and crazy money, just stop. Please, save yourself the bother. We live in a greed-filled world of football whether you like it or not, so just get on board. If you want to get left behind, fine. Just don’t start moaning when your club is languishing in mid-table obscurity or worse.

I think I’ve made my point. The world will laugh at how utterly ridiculous this smorgasbord of pointless partners have suckled on the United teat. Hang on a second, though; why? Is it more embarrassing to have endless streams of revenue or not?

The Glazer’s Butterfly Effect

The Glazer cabal and their village idiot Ed Woodward have a lot to answer for. Those bastards drove me out of Old Trafford by inflating season tickets prices to horrific levels. Like all of us, my love for football grew in the stands, and yet I have been able to attend just one competitive match in the last decade. Partly because I live on the other side of the world, granted, but when I return once or twice a year, I simply can’t afford the membership fees, tickets, travel, program, food and drink and all that jazz.

I cannot believe I am going to utter this next sentence, so I will beg for your forgiveness now. Despite all that shite, Ed Woodward is doing a phenomenal job. To clarify, I am referring solely to the commercial arm of running the club. He wouldn’t know a football if a Mitremax smashed him in his stupid round face. Give him a global brand to peddle, though, and he’s in his element.

Here’s what pisses me off: the cynics. Football’s a business now, so just get over it. Let’s be brutally honest; it was always going to end this way. Any opportunity in history to make money has been taken by someone. Create the most popular and accessible sport, and the revenue generation was always going to explode at some point. So when you see Manchester United lend Ronny Johnsen to some Chinese betting company and write a few lines of business speak in exchange for churning out unreal sums of sponsorship, just think who’s really winning.

Sloppy seconds 

Companies around the world are falling over themselves to throw money at United. Whether the brand of football is soulless and depressing is beside the point when it comes to revenue. If you don’t whore yourself out to every slobbering punter, you’ll be left dancing in the window on your own. Sloppy seconds it may be, but a bloody lucrative one.

The debt accrued to purchase the club in the first place is heinous. Woodward and his gormless grin are justifiable targets for ridicule. But the next time you want to laugh at this disgusting horde of commercial prostitution, ask yourself one thing. Who’s raking in the cash?