Manchester United do record deal on shirts
Now you may already be wondering why Jakartass, that famous Charlton Athletic Addick and Jakarta expat, would lead off a posting with that headline. Actually I half expected Indcoup
, an AFC Wimbledon supporter, to also carry this story today.Manchester United have secured a British record-breaking four-year sponsorship deal worth £56.5m with US finance company American International Group (AIG). The deal with AIG dwarfs that of Chelsea (with Samsung), which is worth around £10m-a-year.
United had been set to sign a huge £70m deal with gaming company Mansion, but talks broke down after the club raised concerns about being associated with a gambling operation.
"We passed up the opportunity to do the world's biggest shirt deal to do the right shirt deal, one that is right for Manchester United and one that underlines our position as the world's leading club," explained United chief executive David Gill.
Read the second paragraph again and ask yourself who the gaming company Mansion are.
Last month I gave a link to a posting
in Yosef Ardi's blog which pointed out that Internet gambling giants Mansion ... are owned by Indonesian tycoon Putera Sampoerna
. Last year, Sampoerna sold its cigarette production company to Phillip Morris.
So the football club that is a brand name with, believe it or not, a lifestyle cafe here in Jakarta is concerned about its image? I don't believe the vast majority of Manyoo's fans give a flying doughnout as to the logo on 'their' team's shirts, be it for gambling, smoking or drinking.
Whatever, I'm not overly concerned with a club that is leveraged up to the hilt. What I'm more interested in is what Sampoerna could do with the $170m he was prepared to spend over four years.
For a start, he, through Mansion, could probably buy every club and ground in Indonesia and pay the running costs. Or he could sponsor the Mansion Asia Cup open to the top clubs in the region. Alternatively, he could sponsor a programme or three on ESPN. You see, there's no shame in gambling in this part of the world and football matches can be bet upon.
One of the most famous matches that Asian gamblers bet upon featured, you'll be fascinated to know, Charlton Athletic
. It was in 1998 and a Malaysian syndicate plotted to sabotage the floodlights of a match against Liverpool on February 13th (hey, my birthday!).
Apparently, if the lights failed, the score at that time stood as far as gambling syndicates were concerned. The plotter had already blown the floodlights at two other matches, one of which involved Wimbledon.
Back in '99 it was said that match fixing
had long been the scourge of Asian soccer and the Secretary General of the Asian Football Confederation. Peter Velappan, said he believed the problem was spreading to the English premier league which is keenly followed in this part of the world.
So, if illegal
betting is wrong, why not make it legal? Why shouldn't Sampoerna run his betting business here for the benefit of the Asians who've given him his capital?
(Jakartass is a not a gambler you'll understand and I'll only bet on sure things. However, I do regularly win the office sweepstake based on the week's Premiership results.)Footnote
and a story that unites Manyoo, Charlton and match fixing.An early Charlton personality was Arthur Whalley, a centre back who acquired the nickname of 'the Black Prince'. Whalley had been charged with match fixing whilst in the colours of Manchester United, though he did not take part in the infamous game against Liverpool on Good Friday 1915, he was found guilty of taking part in the scandal and permanently suspended from football.
To his credit he headed south to enlist in the newly formed 17th (Footballers) Middlesex Regiment, made up initially of professional footballers this unit went on to serve with great gallantry on the Western Front throughout the war (First World War 1914 -1918). Sergeant F/1930 A Whalley was wounded at the battle of Passchendaele in 1917, in light of this his ban was lifted by the authorities and after a brief spell at Southend United he went onto play 98 times for the Addicks and score 9 goals.Post-Postscript
I've just discovered that Charlton are on the box, again, tomorrow against Everton
. That's 7.30 on Star TV. And you can bet on the game (legally) here
And later in the week, on Maundy Thursday, Charlton have an FA Cup replay against Middlesbrough which will be on live.
What more can an Addick want (apart from a couple of wins that is)?