Thursday 24 March 2011

The world's "richest club" sues one of its fans - but where's the damage?

The Telegraph has today revealed what many involved in opposing the Glazers have known for a while, Manchester United is taking a single fan to court over the leaking of the names of 400 corporate hospitality clients last April. The supporter in question was arrested during a police investigation into the leak, but was released without charge. The club itself has failed to track down the source of the leak (not surprising given that the majority of staff at Old Trafford detest the owners and there must therefore have been a lot of suspects).

The Telegraph report that United's High Court writ says that the leak caused "loss and damage" to its business. This does not tally at all with the club's public statements on executive and hospitality sales.

In its third quarter 2010 presentation to bond holders published on 28th May 2010 (available here), the club said:
"Season ticket & seasonal hospitality sales processes initiated. Trends consistent with prior years."
Almost two months later on the 23rd July last year, the BBC website quoted United's official spokesman as saying that:
"Executive sales are exactly in line with last year"
So publicly and to bond holders, the club has been adamant that all was well with executive sales.

Why then are they suing this supporter?

How much money is the club claiming it has lost through this leak?

Obviously it has not lost enough money to make it worth mentioning to the holders of its bonds... Or was it trying to play down the impact of protests and direct action on its business?

Whatever the answer, this litigation smells horribly of action being taken out of spite and that makes me ashamed of my club.