Man You and Me
I remain a loyal supporter
of Charlton Athletic because that was my teenage proving ground, my Saturday away from home.
I also have a fondness for Manchester United because I am of the generation which was alive when the Busby Babes
, the team Matt Busby had built from the club's successful youth policy, were wiped out in what is known as the Munich Air Disaster on February 6th 1958 when they were on the verge of greatness.
It could be said that the club has capitalised on the nation's grief ever since in that few would begrudge them later success, especially as one of the surviving Babes, (Sir) Bobby Charlton, who went on to be part of England's World Cup winning team in 1966, has remained steadfastly loyal to the club ever since.
However, it must be said that although the club remains part of their local community with the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville being 'products' of their youth scheme, the fan base has been increased exponentially with the injection of capital from investors, much of it unsecured*
. When the American Glazer family obtained overall control in May 2005, many disgruntled supporters set up F.C. United of Manchester
, which is now the hundredth best supported football club in Britain.
With its own TV station, fan clubs throughout the world and a chain of Man United Café Bars
throughout Asia, including one in Jakarta, Manchester United are now a multi-national brand. Perhaps more importantly, they remain one of the most successful
and most entertaining football clubs around.
Although I have only met one 'genuine' Man Yoo supporter here - hi to Mark in Bali - Indonesia supposedly has a fan base of 28 million, the club's second-largest fan base in the world, with at least two flash-ridden sites, this one
and this one
This is presumably why United will arrive in Jakarta on July 18 and play a friendly match against a select team at Bung Karno Stadium, Senayan on July 20. The Indonesian team will group 22 players publicly selected by text messaging out of the roughly 480 playing in the Indonesian Super League.
But these had better be quick if they want a ticket. There may be one or two left of the 72,800 tickets on sale, although few can afford them
: Rp.3,500,000 (c.$300)VIP
Category I: Rp.400.000
Category II: Rp.250.000
Category III: Rp.100.000(Very Very Important People)
In terms of the local cost of living, this is equivalent to the ticket prices for the Champions League Final 2009 between Man Yoo and Barcelona on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 which are c.$580 - c.$2,000.
This being Indonesia, the Culture and Tourism Ministry figures that they could capitalise on the visit and are seeking to have their Visit Indonesia Year - 2009 logo on the Man Yoo shirts during its tour, which also includes China, South Korea and Malaysia.
Last Wednesday, Sapta Nirwandar, the ministry's director general for marketing, said the strategy could lure foreign tourists into Indonesia, and it was estimated it might attract up to 300,000 visitors.
However, Man Yoo being Man Yoo, "The club has asked for Rp.496 billion (US$46.3 million) for the sponsorship. It's way too expensive. We are still negotiating it with the club management.
"According to Sapta, the ministry only has a Rp.289 billion promotion budget allocated for this year to help attract 6.5 million tourist arrivals.
I do know that the Jakarta match will be televised and broadcast abroad, but I'm not sure that it will be here. After all, apart from the FA Cup, which, having lost to unfancied Everton in the semi-final Man Yoo will not be a part of this year, few get to see
English Premiership football on Indonesian TV.
One must hope that Indonesia's football fans won't go crazy if they haven't got a ticket and can't get to see their idols. But it has happened before
.................................*Manyoo’s debts at the end of last year were £667m (c.$1.2 billion) and these supporters are certainly not happy.