Glazers, Glazers, Glazers. If you are thinking they, and several types like them, are good for football, then you might need some guidance. Iain Macintosh went to the Library for his.
I like being a Southend fan. We’re refreshingly rubbish. I never hear people discussing us on radio phone-ins, national newspapers don’t run polls on the future of our manager and we never have to worry about being the last game on MOTD. Granted, we’ve been served with more winding up orders than a clockwork soldier, but we’re still here. It’s MY club. I don’t know if I’d feel that way if I supported Manchester United. I don’t know how I’d feel as a small part of something so public. This is why is it’s a good thing that Daniel Harris’ ‘On The Road’ landed on my doormat a couple of weeks ago. His chronicle of a year in the life of a United fan makes for a fascinating read.
Harris is one of many United fans to have declared war on the Glazer regime. He refuses to buy tickets for home games, following the club only when they travel in an effort to minimise his contribution to their debt repayment plan. A former City lawyer turned writer, his story of the 2009-10 season is also an exercise in myth management. Legends spring up about United supporters, more so than any other club, but Harris dismantles them with admirable gusto. They are not fairweather fans, they aren’t all from Truro and they are just as passionate and susceptible to bitterness as their rivals.
Indeed, Harris is no exception. There are numerous attacks on Manchester City and Liverpool in this book. Some are fair, others seem less so. The jibes detract from any delusions of objectivity, but then this book was never meant to be a balanced critique. It’s not for Liverpool or City supporters. It’s a United fans’ journal, by a fan for the fans. But that doesn’t mean myopia. Harris doesn’t have much time for his rivals, but he has less for Sir Alex Ferguson, who he deems to be complicit in the betrayal of the club.
Harris is at his strongest when he attacks the Glazers themselves, notably when he finds his beliefs questioned by his fellow fans. He skilfully dissects complaints from supporters who see three consecutive league titles and are blind to the mounting problems on the balance sheet. He hammers home exactly why the Glazers are a cancer and where their leadership is likely to take the club. As the season progresses and the lack of investment begins to tell, it becomes increasingly obvious that he’s absolutely right.
And this is why Harris’ book works. It’s fiery and uncompromising. And why shouldn’t it be? Despite everything the Glazers have done, it’s still HIS club. If it’s your club too, this will be right up your street.
IN A NUTSHELL - Manchester disunited and disenchanted.
Iain Macintosh is the UK Correspondent for The New Paper in Singapore and will happily review anything football-related for IBWM. You’ll find him (@iainmacintosh) and Daniel Harris on Twitter.