Man Utd enters free ISP race
15 July 1999
It was five years ago today... Today's slurp from the stagnant pool of yesteryear is especially for El Reg hack John "Lips" Leyden, who is noted for being a bit of a Manchester United FC fan. That's the Manchester United who failed to take last season's Premiership title, in case readers had forgotten:
By Sean Fleming
Published Thursday 15th July 1999 13:20 GMT
They'll be scratching their heads in disbelief in Stretford today as news breaks that Manchester United FC is actually giving something away - for free. The world's largest - and richest - football club (that's the game where you kick the ball with your feet, hence the name football, in case our US readers were getting confused - Ed) has teamed up with UUNet to become a free ISP.
It's nice to know that United can afford to give something away in light of the wranglings over Roy Keane's requests for a salary increase - which would allegedly have put him on £40,000 per week. Users will get five email addresses, 20Mb of Web space and an online newsfeed all about the club. Like most of the free services, ManUFree.Net operates a 50p per minute support line. The service goes live today.
David Gill, Finance Director of Manchester United PLC, said: "The aim of the Manchester United Web site is to connect our fans both in the UK and around the world to the club and offer a comprehensive set of online services that they can enjoy." And as any Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool fan will tell you, this is an important service for Man Utd fans as most of them don't live in Manchester. Fans should also be able to buy Man Utd merchandise from the new service, helping them to avoid the queues at the club's souvenir shop, which has long been the Old Trafford cash cow.
Sadly, ManUFree.Net is no more. The club's website is currently running a promotion for the "new" home kit, rightly noted above as the sort of cash cow which ensures that United remain one of the few clubs in world with enough cash to fund its own space programme, were Sir Alex to deem it necessary to Man U's Premiership, FA cup and European ambitions.
So, Alex, whatever happened to the big free ISP give-away? Wages snaffle up the budget? ®