Feeds

Burmese junta strongman considered buying Manchester United

Wikileaks bonkersness will plainly never, ever stop

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The leader of the Burmese military junta seriously considered a $1bn bid for Manchester United in January 2009.

The Asian republic was coping with the aftermath of cyclone Nargis (which killed around 140,000) at the time, but Than Shwe, commander of the armed forces in the south-east Asian state, was urged by his grandson to mount a takeover bid for the football club they both supported.

The bizarre putative takeover bid - an apparent attempt to divert attention from the country's growing economic and military problems - was recorded thanks to a cable from the US embassy in Rangoon, and leaked via Wikileaks.

Than Shwe balked at the Man Utd bid which might "look bad" in favour of the creation of a national football league.

"One well-connected source reports that the grandson wanted Than Shwe to offer $1bn for Manchester United," the June 2009 cable to Washington said, The Guardian reports. "The senior general thought that sort of expenditure could look bad, so he opted to create for Burma a league of its own."

The general then set about bullying eight leading businessmen into spending huge sums on buying imported players and building new stadiums in return for favourable treatment in government contracts. The general's grandson was to be offered a place in the squad in one of the teams, as part of the fantastically corrupt scheme that has never amounted to much.

The frequent intersection between football and politics is itemised at some length in the Guardian's story. Our personal favourite is that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly hired spies to keep tabs on key football players, and personally fired national team coach coach Ali Daei after a defeat to Saudi Arabia - a move that reportedly went down badly with fans who protested at a later game.

Perhaps in a move to win back the dressing room, Ahmadinejad let the team fly to an away fixture in North Korea using his private jet.

The timing of all this isn't specified but it sounds very much like the 2010 World Cup qualifying competition, which eventually saw North Korea travel to South Africa as one of the region four representatives. South Korea qualified from the same group, which also featured Iran and Saudi Arabia. ®

Bootnotes

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra bought Manchester City in June 2007 prior to a sale of the club to Abu Dhabi United Group in September the following year, pocketing a healthy profit of an estimated £200 million in the process. He was welcomed by fans at the club at first, but relationship soon soured. The purchase is regarded by critics as a failed attempt by the controversial businessman turned politician to divert attention from his political problems.

After personally witnessing Michael Knighton, dressed in full Man Utd kit, playing keep-up in front of the Stretford End to publicise a failed takeover bid back in 1989, we'd believe almost anyone could take over the club - except Osama bin Laden (who famously supports Arsenal), obviously.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.