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Qatar Royal Family Plan £1.5bn Takeover of Manchester United


The “Qatar Royal Family reportedly plan on a £1.5bn takeover of Manchester United,” screams a British tabloid.

The problem is that the newspaper reporting the news, The Mirror, is renowned for printing gossip without a sliver of truth to it. And in this particular case, the article in question is devoid of any sources or any semblance of fact. It just sounds like a sensational headline and nothing more. It’s one of those rare stories where you can learn everything there is to know by the headline itself. The remainder of the article is fluff as demonstrated by a quick dissection of the article as follows:

  • Number of words: 581
  • Sources attributed: 0
  • Number of words actually discussing Qatar Royal Family’s “planned” takeover of Man United: 115
  • What do those 115 words say? Nothing really other than what the headline already says.

So could the Qatar Royal Family actually be planning a takeover of United? Quite possibly yes, but the lack of any quotes or additional information from The Mirror makes the story appear very unlikely.

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  1. The Gaffer

    December 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Man United has insisted there is “nothing” in reports that the club could be sold to Qatar Holdings:

    No response from The Mirror yet.

    The Gaffer

  2. farlieonfootie

    December 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    It’s interesting: if you parse the headline of this story in a Clinton-esque manner, it could be literally true. The Qatari family may indeed be planning to buy Manchester United. The problem with the story lies in the fact that it’s highly unlikely that the Qatari royal family has told the Glazers about their plans, or that the Glazers might act on any such plans…. Much like many other stories in the British tabs, there’s probably not more than a shred of truth in this one.

  3. anon

    December 19, 2010 at 9:01 am

    NOT TRUE !!!

    Qatar would never buy united nor would any other Arabs, it would be see as a direct rivalry between them and Manchester city. The Arabs are very much into respecting the richest sheiks, not competing against each other as this would be seen as an insult/challenge.

    • Hussain

      December 19, 2010 at 10:50 am

      Haha. Welcome to the 21st century. They can buy the club with big smile. Almost all of the big local clubs owned by the royal families and yes, they want to win against you and win big.

      They’ve already deal to sponsor Barcelona. They’re following Emirates Airline footsteps.

      All seems to be an early advertisement to the world cup or even to land few high profile competitions.

  4. cj

    December 19, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Bah, I do feel like the other posters that the headline of this article is misleading and trying to garner more hits. I would never have opened it if I had known that this is just a rehash of what some British tabloid said! (And British tabloid in printing crap story is hardly news)

    Maybe change the headline to something less sensationalist?

    • Simon Burke

      December 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

      I agree, I’d have never bothered to click on this from my twitter feed if I knew it was only this. Your point is good gaffer but because you’ve got an incorrect sensationalist title your point is also lost.

      • The Gaffer

        December 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm

        It’s the same headline that The Mirror used except I removed the “World Exclusive:” proceeding the headline.

        The Gaffer

        • Simon Burke

          December 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

          Put a title up along the lines of “Mirror in baseless story allegation” then I’ll know what it is before I read it…. your title was basically theirs and made me think the article was Qatar were buying United.
          The article is good but the title misrepresents it.

  5. Robert

    December 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Yesterday it was Newcastle, today it is ManU, tomorrow it will be Chelsea, and the day after that it will be Barca. Eventually the Qatar Royal Family will end up purchasing Accrington Stanley.

  6. Carolyn

    December 18, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    If this is gossip, why the article? Must be a slow day for you gaffer.

    • The Gaffer

      December 19, 2010 at 12:12 am

      The article is to prove a point. That some UK stories are as weak as a cup of tea.

      The Gaffer

  7. Andrei

    December 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    And let’s assume for a moment that this is true and at some point they take over Manchester United. Will we all feel better about WC 2022 in Qatar?

  8. JimmyG

    December 18, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    And yet your article uses the same headline, probably in a shameless attempt to get more viewers. C’mon Gaffer. You are no better than The Mirror on this one, and you know it.

    • Joe

      December 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      Shall we also throw in the fact that this site published countless articles alleging that Qatar bribed FIFA to select them for the World Cup without one source?

      • ovalball

        December 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm

        Let me help you with “countless articles”, Joe. Type “Qatar” in the EPLTalk search window at the top of the page. See what you get.

        • Joe

          December 18, 2010 at 10:39 pm

          I include MLSTalk as part of this “site”, since it is created and maintained by the same people. That page couldn’t get enough of flimsy bribery claims for a solid week.

        • Joe

          December 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

          The point is, this blog harping on a newspaper for putting up information without any sources or merit is the pot calling the kettle black.

          I still love this blog (when they don’t spend days posting basically the same boring article over and over again).

          • The Gaffer

            December 19, 2010 at 12:09 am

            Why is it calling the kettle black? We attribute. We get scoops and we back them up with evidence (such as the story about ESPN breaking the record for highest EPL viewing numbers on US TV).

            The Gaffer

      • The Gaffer

        December 19, 2010 at 12:15 am

        Joe, that’s not true. The Times Of London published a story where they attributed the info that FIFA officials had been bribed to a whistleblower.

        The Gaffer

    • The Gaffer

      December 19, 2010 at 12:20 am

      JimmyG, the use of the same headline was for effect, not pageviews.

      Most of the original and investigative research posts we do feature more sources than The Mirror.

      The Gaffer

      • Troy

        December 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm

        Jesus Joe, I feel like everytime I read any of your posts, it’s a god damn bitchfest. Why come back to a site if all you is complain about it?

        • Troy

          December 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm

          *all you do

        • Joe

          December 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

          If you care to read, you’ll notice that I said I love this site when it doesn’t consume itself with endless propaganda and speculation about bribes and any number of background shenanigans it has no proof of. But if you don’t care to read, fine by me. I’ll continue to point out (what you call “bitch”) weak reporting on a site that is otherwise pretty strong.

  9. Joel

    December 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    How funny, considering you lifted their gossipy, fluff headline as the title of your article in order to garner hits for your site.

    • The Gaffer

      December 19, 2010 at 12:22 am

      What hits? They’re going to rank higher than me for the same headline but it was not for pageviews. Sheesh.

      The Gaffer

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