‘Red Cartel’ lead Man City boycott talks over ‘sham legal battles’ in post-ESL hypocrisy

Editor F365
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The 'Red Cartel' fans are a bunch of hypocrites.

The ‘Red Cartel’ telling Manchester City fans to boycott their club over the FFP charges and ‘sham legal battles’ is a stunning show of hypocrisy after the European Super League.

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com.


Boycott hypocrisy
I am a City fan. They are my club that I grew up with in the 80s and if you relate to growing up in an urban working class world where football is such a big part of your upbringing and your identity you would understand how hard it is to turn your back on your team. Look at it this way. If you contrasted how many football fans have truly disowned their club with how many have disowned best friends or parents, the ratios would be shocking. Still I am not proud to be a City fan at this moment. I don’t like where this is going and I don’t believe my club are heroes fighting for justice for those outside of the traditional elite. Like the rest they want to come out on top and they will do what it takes.

I loved winning the league in 2012 and we have had some amazing teams, but my idealistic side hoped we would invest in the youth setup, settling into being a self-sustaining entity needing little to no capital injection, with players coming through a La Masia academy. I was happy being part of the conversation for trophies in a competitive league. It’s fair to say it has gone beyond this. It feels more like a marriage often described where the love is dying. They have changed, but you still love the person they were too much to walk away.

Sure there are other city fans who have changed with the club, and some too loyal to admit their club is anything but spotless. They can despise me, I don’t care. So Zdravco, I have a similar ‘half boycott’ in place regarding City. I won’t buy a ticket, their merchandise or sponsored products. I can’t bring myself to spend money on them but I have yet to bring myself to walk away either. Who knows, maybe this time.

But some of those looking in from the outside need to take a real look in the mirror at the colours they wear. “Man City fans should boycott the club because they are trying to destroy the Premier League,” says Zdravco. The implication is that they would do the same if their club were so selfish…

I mean literally a couple of years ago six clubs were willing to do just that- destroy the league. They were halfway out of the door and credit to fans of all who protested, it was a disaster. They would have done it though, at the drop of a hat, with a middle finger to the rest of the Premier league, the Football League, the fans and so the so-called meritocracy/fair competition. Instigated by the supposed champions of said meritocracy Liverpool and United. And they would seek to do it again with all the aforementioned consequences if the money was right and they could get away with it.

To fans of the big 6, our clubs commited the marital equivalent of texting us a video of themselves in bed with the other five, seeing our faces, saying that they’re surprised we are this upset, saying “I’m sorry you feel this way, we pinky swear never to do it again.” whilst not so subtly winking at each other. No sniggering at the back!

But Zdravco, you are still a United fan as you say. How can you continue to support them after their colours have been nailed to a rotten mast, and we all know they are not sorry, right? You also know that United’s owners are one of the only ones to actually take money away from the club, and they take a lot, whilst the club is in debt and the stadium is in disrepair…and they wanted the ‘Big Picture’ proposal to go through and they wanted to be ‘unbiased’ vice-chair of a new superleague. But it’s ok because they have a global fanbase so they can do whatever they like and have the label meritocracy in neon lights above their devil’s horns. Do you like this club? Genuinely tell me their redeeming characteristics. Why are you still associated with them? Oh never mind. Call it whataboutery or something and pick up another piece of rotten fruit from the United barrel to lob at City fans.

READ MORE: Man City explainer: What Premier League rules do they want scrapped? And which rivals support them?


The ‘Red Cartel’
EPL trophies won by the Red Cartel in last 10 years = 1
EPL trophies won by the Blue Cartel in last 10 years = 8 (9 if you include Leicester, but they don’t deserve to be brought into this)

Talking about cartels is just a Trumpian tactic from Man City to deflect attention onto someone else, rather than their own shady dealings. Just like sham legal battles on APT rules to delay the results of PSR cases.

City got 115 problems but a red cartel ain’t one.
Gaurav MUFC Amsterdam


I find it interesting how quickly the term ‘Red Cartel’ has entered the vernacular of the mailbox. I can’t think of anywhere else in football writing where I’ve seen this used. I had a quick dig around google and seemingly it started within the Bluemoon forums for Man City fans. No surprise there I guess.

The notion that Man United, Liverpool, and Arsenal would collude to dominate the market is obviously ridiculous nonsense but as the three most successful clubs in England it got me thinking if there was some correlation between their success and their shirt colour. Again after a bit of google work it seems I’m way behind the times on this because it’s been studied for decades, and there is a definite correlation.

A study in the Journal of Sports Science found significantly better performance of red teams over a 55 year period with nearly all that performance increase coming in home games when they were wearing red. Its not just football either, the effect is even greater in combat sports. Athletes, it turns out, can experience profound psychological differences based on the colour of their sportwear and that of their opponent. Red is associated with aggression, dominance, and danger. So rather than some big conspiracy the ‘Red Cartel’ is actually more to do with the red bit than anything else. They’ve been operating with a psychological advantage for well over 100 years.
Dave, Manchester

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‘Old boy network jealousy’
The continued obsession with trying to prosecute Manchester City has been attempted too many times. If we are going back 10 years, should we go back to Louis Edwards selling bent meat to Manchester education committee. At what stage will we look to the future not the progression from MCFC’ very poor past.Idiotic jealousy from  the old boy network again.
Pathetic Newcastle can look forward to this, as they may become the new target after MCFC’ and PSG. It would be more acceptable if Blatter and Platini new anything about honesty and standards.
Alan Pickles


City boycott reasons
Having just read Alex, Manchester’s second email, he’s obviously delighted he didn’t get much engagement but it’s probably because he’s talking about a different topic to everyone else. 90% of the last few mailboxes are about two things:-
– City’s 115 charges for allegedly breaking the financial rules they agreed to

– City’s attempt to remove the financial shackles preventing them put as much money in to the club as they want

Ignoring any issues people have with who owns the different clubs, the reason people are suggesting you boycott your club is because of the above two points, not because they’ve got loads of money. I have actual distaste for Man Utd, but I have never begrudged them being richer than Liverpool whilst they spent all the money their pot noodle deals earnt them. I didn’t like Chelsea being able to spend so far beyond their means, but there wasn’t much in place to prevent them doing so legally at the time. If City spend within the rules, I still don’t like that they’ve got the extra cash but as long as they keep within the agreed parameters there isn’t much to complain about beyond the rules themselves.

There are, of course, valid points to be made about the money in the game, but don’t conflate the two things as some kind of strawman argument to show why everyone else is a hypocrite if they don’t join City fans in boycotting their own clubs. The rules in place are supposed to go someway to slowing down the money pumped in, so although they may not be perfect it’s the very compliance with these rules that is key to prevent things getting worse.
Seb, London, LFC


Start with City
There was an email from Alex, Manchester who said something like ‘I’m a city fan but ok let’s get all money out of football’ and then sent a whiny email about how nobody responded to him so people are clearly just jealous of his team City.

I thought his first email was quite good. I would agree that action across club fan bases would be great to see to drive out the excess of the game. But really the problem did not exist until Abramovic (I.e. Putin) started the sportswashing projects which Man City and Newcastle have also joined up to.

So yeah it would be great if clubs like arsenal, United, Liverpool weren’t owned by ruthless and no doubt nefarious individual owners and I would love to see them driven out of the game too.

But Alex’s campaign should absolutely start with City and then Newcastle. The success of these teams exists solely to support the ulterior motive of creating a positive image for nation states. This means outsized and unsustainable investment which any individual could not possibly keep up with.

So ok let’s go after the money. You first Alex.


City the ‘super virus’
Hi, Alex, Manchester. You use an interesting analogy to describe the current predicament around money in the game and I agree with your point that all clubs should take responsibility.

Who knows what the cause (of this disease) was though? Most likely fans continually wanting their clubs to buy the best players and success but maybe it was Manchester United capitalising brilliantly on success in the 90’s, who cares now.

However, you’re very much blinkered – which I understand completely – to say Manchester City are just a symptom. To use your analogy more accurately a I would describe FFP as a first attempt of a vaccine taken willingly by all clubs but Manchester City are very much the super virus that only have one thing on their mind and that’s their own self preservation. You can see that right?

I fear there is no vaccine that can stop the virus that is Manchester City and will soon morph into a stronger strain called Newcastle United, but fair play to the rest of the league for stalling its spread giving someone a chance to become a hero.
Mikey D, Bournemouth


Fair value?
I’ve tried to stay out and not comment on this round, but the latest emails on Fair Value miss the point of the charges.

Its not that City have got above market value that is the problem, but City funded the sponsorship. The accusation is that Etihad only paid £8M of the £67.5M deal and that City ownership transferred the remaining £59.5 to Eithiad, who then sent it to City as a legitimate sponsor payment.


Grealish a ‘victim of his own talent’
So I’ve been overall a fan of Southgate as England Manager, he’s brought back the feel good factor with the England team and got fans and players alike looking forward to internationals which cannot be underestimated after the dark days of Iceland. I’ll never forgive Hodgson, more so for his arrogant reaction after than anything else. He got off lightly because he looks old and doddery if you ask me.

However I do take exception to his penchant to take issue with supremely talented players like Grealish and Maddison. It feels as though these types of players are always hugely undervalued by countless managers and I can’t help but think it’s because they make it look so effortless and that they are essentially victims of their own talent.

I’ve seen this countless times in my career where “unicorn” type employees have made child’s play of work that others have slaved over for forever and a day but rather than the reaction being praise it’s been suspicion and unhappiness with that individual. There seems to be a common mindset that it’s better to “look” like you’re working hard and therefore “good” at what you do than actually being good at it.

This mindset does a huge disservice to both Grealish and Maddison as the exact reason they make it look so easy is because they have worked so hard but because they are able to do it with a smile and a joke they’re seen as somehow not up to scratch.

They seem to have been doomed way before this because of how Gareth views them which is a crying shame. Look at some of the greats of history Maradona, Gazza, Ronaldinho, Ibrahimovic, all fallible and fantastic in equal measure yet Gareth turns his nose up at Grealish and Maddison because they don’t fit the mould. They should be celebrated and in the squad precisely for this reason.

There’s a familiarity about their imperfect nature that we can all connect with.

Pobody’s nerfect
Anthony, Kilburn

READ MORE: England player ratings v Iceland: Walker, Trippier awful as Gordon and Alexander-Arnold boost chances


Saka at left-back
Your article on the final 11 prediction for England highlights the concern over a lack of a left footed defender. However, everyone seems to be forgetting we do have another one. Saka. He played there before being moved forward and is actually very decent in the tackle still, robust, and can transition well.

By putting Saka there (for the games we don’t trust Shaw in), it opens up the possibility of playing Foden in the right wing position. Not ideal, but it is a problem for England. And without the mighty Benjamin White joining him on the right (that scanned), Saka may not be quite so effective as he normally is for Arsenal. Plus, he’s returning from injury.
JazGooner (Man City acting like a narcissist, doubling down on criticism and going out on the attack. They believe their own reality and don’t care what effect their behaviour has on others)