My Week Seven Days In The Life Of Monica Brady, A Devoted Manchester United Fan
Saturday 12 September 1998
A normal weekend. My partner, Mark, and I went to Bristol to see my sister. In the afternoon Mark heard that Murdoch was trying to buy United. I thought he was joking. When I heard it on the radio I put it down to speculation. We got home to Manchester, had our tea and sat down to watch telly. At 9.30pm, the press secretary from IMUSA rang and said Sky were going to make an announcement in the morning and I was needed at Old Trafford to do an interview for Radio 5.
At 7.30am I did a live interview for Radio 5 under the Munich Clock. 7.40am I did a live interview for Radio 4. 8.04am, I did a live interview for BBC Breakfast News. 8.15am, another TV station I don't remember and then another couple of radio interviews. By the time I got to work I didn't have to explain why I was late because they'd all seen me on TV. The first person I bumped into was the managing director and he was smashing. His only fault is he's a Liverpool fan, but he said, "You can't let them do this to your club, because they'll try and do it to mine next". I was on a different planet for the rest of the day and didn't get much done. Just the thought of THAT man buying my club is absolutely abhorrent. They won't let him get away with it.
Monday was a hell of day - we started off at the ground at 7.30 am and Mark ended up doing BBC News 24 at 11 pm. Today was better. IMUSA said we weren't doing anymore interviews until Sky made a move. I went to work and tried not to think about it all. In the afternoon I got an e-mail from Adam Brown, at the Football Task Force, on an article about a relationship between Elisabeth Murdoch and Mandelson, which was a little worrying. It was a fairly normal day, until 9.30 pm when IMUSA rang and said the club had been sold. I was really, really fed up. Murdoch doesn't know where Manchester is. He doesn't care about football. He's Australian.
I updated the IMUSA web page and in the evening I went to the match. We played Charlton at home. I went with a Brummie friend Mark and I met in Poland, when we played LKF Lodz some weeks back. IMUSA had asked me to hand out some leaflets at the game. It's quite a dodgy business, handing out leaflets anywhere near Old Trafford. They take quite a dim view of that sort of thing. It's not beyond them to take your season ticket off you.
The atmosphere at the game was eerie. Everybody was waiting for something to happen, but nothing was planned. A couple of banners with "No Surrender" were unfurled and there was a streaker, but that was all. For the first half hour I couldn't bring myself to support the team because I couldn't come to terms with the fact United would be part of Murdoch's empire. Then Charlton went in for a wicked deflection and we all concentrated on the game. What was important was the11 men on the pitch, who needed support. And they got it.
I got to work early for the first time all week. I was deflated because I expected something to happen at the match. I got another e-mail from Adam Brown. It was an article saying everything's for sale and everyone's got their price. I found it extremely offensive. I own 125 shares in United and I wouldn't accept anything for them. That's not why I bought them. I'm not against the commercialisation of the game: they can introduce a new shirt for every game as far as I'm concerned because I don't buy them. It's got nothing to do with supporting the team. But an exclusive TV deal is different. The national game should be available to the public at a reasonable price, and Sky isn't a reasonable price. There should be a choice. Murdoch's not having my shares. I'd rather burn them.
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