Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Real Arabs In The Area

It is said that Birmingham is England's second city.
This is not the case.
London is...

And On The Sixth Day God Created Manchester.
It is still God's-Own-City and has extensive claims to be the One-True-Universal-Metropolis.
What Manchester does today, the world does tomorrow.

Abu Dhabi United and Manchester United - the world's two biggest football teams.
All of you, follow our arrogance and our example.
We even did FC United of Manchester while the rest of you were still gazing over your prawn sandwiches, trying to gain an elementary grasp of the economics of oligarchical autocracy.

"Welcome to the new powerbase in world football" squealed the Manchester Evening News.
And, for a complete rag, for once they are absolutely correct.

Of course, none of this is even remotely related to the world of football as a sport.
But, it is a Spectacle.
And it is entertaining.

So, are the fans of Abu Dhabi United right to be swinging from the lampposts in their gutrahs?
Hold onto that image...

And, more to the point, will they be able to stifle their 'towelhead' xenophobic humour base now that they are owned by a very rich 'towelhead' indeed?

Assuming the next fortnight does not throw a spanner in the works, which it won't, because a country entering a deep recession will always welcome foreign investment, the future of Abu Dhabi United looks very bright indeed.

There is a stability to the new investment at Eastlands - a marked counterpoint to the era of the Gangster-Cowboy who, outrageously, stays on in the capacity of Honorary President.
There is only one bigger institutional investor in the world than the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), and that is the Bank Of Japan. With over $500 billion of assets, ADIA makes Abramovich look like a grave robber, which, to an extent, he is.
The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG) is part of the sovereign-wealth fund of ADIA. For the uninitiated, a sovereign-wealth fund is an investment vehicle, generally utilised for investments abroad rather than domestically, which uses money raised from the selling off of government assets for proprietary projects for the privileged.
The power of the sovereign-wealth funds is growing markedly. We posted earlier in the year that Shinawatra was talking with several such funds about raising investment for Manchester City (as Abu Dhabi United used to be quaintly known). For example, prior to approaching ADUG, The Murderer of Muslims had contacted DIC, the Dubai-based investment company.
The discussions with ADUG began three weeks ago and we knew something was going on when representatives of the sovereign-wealth fund accompanied the Smiling Assassin to home match against West Ham United.

Sulaiman Al-Fahim is fronting the ADUG operation on behalf of Sheikh Mansour.
He is a bit of a celebrity, in the way that the fabulously wealthy can afford to be, as they don't ever have to get their hands dirtied by the murky machinations that define their empires.
It is not the fault of the United Arab Emirates that they sit on oceans of Black Gold. Spend it wisely.
But it is the fault of the UAE government that democracy doesn't even pretend to exist there. It is also a UAE policy to be part of a global cartel that games the oil markets for proprietary advantage - supply and demand is a nice earner when you are able to control the supply. The UAE also has to offer explanations for the charges that Amnesty International bring against them.
And, beyond all that, is it valid that money made from the selling off of what are, in effect, public assets, should be used for the investment strategies of the hyper-rich dictators who disenfranchise these populations?

Who needs public investment in Abu Dhabi when you can have private investment in Harpurhey or Miles Platting or wherever the ground is?

As this new entity will have about as much to do with Manchester as Cheshire does ie nothing, what should the sovereign-wealth vehicle be called?
Abu Dhabi United is not valid for obvious reasons?
The favourite among us traders is Half Man Half Abu Dhabi...

There are some other aspects to this colossal deal.
Sheikh Mansour is married to the incredibly-long-named daughter of the equally long-winded Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the man behind DIC.
It is our projection that the Manchester City deal will speed up the takeover of Liverpool by this very same DIC.
As global money migrates eastwards, the institutional venture bodies will use their wealth to compete in global games.
Check out horseracing where Godolphin and the various other Middle East concerns have dominated the 'sport' in the last decade or so. In many high prize money races, virtually all the horses are owned by one Emirates paymaster or another.
Similarly in Formula 1, where ADUG has close links with Ferrari, while, at the same time, ADUG and DIC battle directly to have Grand Prix races in their countries.
They also battle fiercely in falcon flying, well you would, wouldn't you, and camel racing, where four year old slave children do the business instead of Frankie Dettori.

Its like a couple of hyperhumans playing their private games with our cultures and our sports.
With our realities...

There was a certain irony to the timing of the announcement of ADUG's interest in Manchester, for it coincided, almost to the minute, with the announcement of a state of emergency in Thailand.
Anti-Shinawatra protests have been gripping Bangkok for days, as crowds demand both the return of The Gangster to face murder charges and the removal of his former party, the Orwellian-named People's Power Party (PPP), from government for fraud and electoral shenanigans.

The very worst aspect of the takeover is that Shinawatra stands to make a tidy gain on the £80 million of stolen money that he invested in Manchester City little over a year ago.
Even more worse than this very worst aspect is the fact that the Smiling Assassin will not only retain 25% of the ownership but also be named Honorary-Fuckin'-President - this is a new title for la crème de la crème of global psychopathy.
The 25% figure is, inevitably, key.
Shinawatra would only be bound by the fit-and-proper-person's-test (FPPT) if he owned 30% of the club.
This means that when Abu Dhabi United become the biggest club in the world (around next February at this rate), The Healer of the Poor will get a huge slice of the various legal and illicit revenue streams.

Still, at least the Sulaiman Spectacle is preferable to Gary Glitter...

So, City are going to bid £135 million for Ronaldo, they also want Torres, Kaka, Messi and Tiger Woods.
After the DIC takeover on Merseyside, the Liverpool versus Manchester City derby will become the world's biggest derby.
Sustainability is the key.
Whereas the likes of the Glazers and Randy Lerner, Hicks and Gillett, Mike Ashley and their sorts, are governed by the declining robustness of the western neo-economic model, the sovereign-wealth funds and their parent power houses are cash rich.
And then some...

Just hours after completing the City takeover, ADUG announced plans to become one of the world's largest film producers, with $1bn to invest in productions to be made in Hollywood, Bollywood and beyond.
The £210 million used to save Shin's skin was merely beer money...

What price Half Man Half Abu Dhabi to win the Premiership this year?
No Champions League distractions and the tapping up of top players over the next few months prior to a January transfer window of extensive trading, City may well be in a position for more than a Top 4 finish.
In the immediate term, no matter how one chooses to view it, Manchester City are potentially bigger than any other club in the world.
Real Madrid? We'll have Robinho, ta very much. And we'll back for Casillas in January.
Manchester United? Where is Ronaldo playing from January next?
Chelsea? We'll have Robinho, ta very much. And we'll be back for Didier Drogba when the snow lays crisp and even.

The directors of the script that is the Premiership even have good fortune on their side in that Manchester City's next match is against Chelsea - The Oil Derby.
OPEC versus Gazprom.
At the very least in the immediate term, the Big 4 is on the verge of becoming the Big 5. With only four Champions League places available each season, this will have three rather obvious impacts.
Firstly, Arsenal and Liverpool (pre DIC takeover) are going to lose out as, effectively, they are going to be competing for one spot.
Secondly, both this DIC takeover and the takeover of Arsenal by the Baby Boiler must both come nearer to hyperreality as a result of the ADUG investment.
Thirdly, it will hasten the onset of the European Super League. The powerful are getting more powerful and they are not going to be willing to mix it with the likes of Middlesboro and Hull.

A further aspect of this affair that is of interest is the suppression of the news story in the mainstream media. Even when the representatives of ADUG attended the City game, the Sky cameras carefully screened the shot to disguise reality.

Throughout this period when the Murdochracy and other insiders were more than aware of what was going on, there was nothing in the press.
Even as The Sun advertisements proclaimed: "We get it first, so you get it first".
More truthfully, this should state; "We get it first, and then we trade it until the news breaks".
The Sun's two other marketing offerings are equally hyperreal:
"Football: we're all over it" - well, at least they've identified the problem, here.
And "You'll know he's been sold before he knows he's been sold". After the amount of utter rubbish regurgitated about Barry, Lampard, Owen, Adebayor and, even though he was sold in the end, Berbatov, this is Murdochian chutzpah of the highest order.

Buy our paper, we tell you shit, we sell you shit. Only 30p.

The final aspect of this hyperdeal which is worthy of attention, are the roles played by the financial system and the currency markets in the formation of football's new hyperinfrastructure.
As capital gravitates eastwards, companies like Empire Asia are going to be typical of the new breed of operator. The Thai members of Man City's board are directors of Empire Asia and they have been of paramount importance in securing the deal for Eastlands. Empire Asia are takeover specialists. They search globally for suitable risk/return profiles in which to invest.
As other clubs are hit by the credit squeeze, these entities are sitting on more cash than they know what to do with. Empire Asia neatly straddles the boundaries of legality from the white to an altogether murkier shade of grey markets, but all in the name of developing a suitable hyperstash to invest around the planet.
To ADUG, the markets are no restriction.

Meanwhile the agents representing the lower tiered Premiership clubs struggle with the currency fluctuations between the Brazilian Real and the other South American countries, for example, trying to project the correct timing on a currency basis for a player to make the internal South American move prior to the big earning European one.

There is no competition.
Manchester City are on the verge of being Number One.

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