Money in football is always a news story to get people angry and agitated. The BBC says Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis will face “intense questioning from shareholders” over his salary .
The BBC says he earns £2.65m a year. Better perhaps to break his salary down into weekly components, much as the media does for players. It’s about £51,000 a week.
The Daily Mailpicks up the story. “Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis faces flak over £1m jackpot,” says the headline. Charles Sale tells of Ivan’s “extraordinary” salary. Is it that extraordinary?
In 2014, the HuffPost told us Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre earns a basic £1,311,975 salary and a £500,000 “supplement” for each full year he completes after his 60th birthday. The Mail’s chief executive earns over £2m a year.
So what is extraordinary about a top executive at a large company earning such a sum?
The Mail told readers in March 2016, Aston Villa’s chief executive Tom Fox earned £1.25m.
Maybe Ivan’s being underpaid.
In 2016, the Guardian reported: “UK’s top bosses received 10% pay rise in 2015 as average salary hit £5.5m.” (Guardian chief David Pemsel gets a £600k salary.)
Sale then takes a flight of fancy:
The Emirates Stadium summit…is normally used by Arsenal fans to interrogate manager Arsene Wenger about his transfer plans. But with the Gunners joint top of the table, Gazidis will be in the firing line instead.
Fans will more worried about the chief exec’s pay than they will playing matters?
Liverpool are keen to prevent the “too much, too young” culture that infects professional football by bringing a wage cap for younger players.
The Telegraph says Liverpool will not allow a footballer age 17 or under to earn more than £40,000 in their first season as a professional.
Too often players go off the rails when they are given the financial power that comes with being a professional footballer, and Liverpool are looking to try and reduce the risk of young and talented players going to waste.
The youngsters will be allowed to boost their salaries with performance-related bonuses and breaking into Under-23 and senior sides.
Is 40k too low? Too high? In 2016 the Daily Mail reported the average wages paid in British football.
Last season, first-team average salaries were around £1.7million a year
Average basic pay in the Championship was £324,250 per player per year
Figure dropped to £69,500 in League One and £40,350 in League Two
Would you prefer to earn £40,000 playing for Liverpool youth sides or the Plymouth Argyle first team in League Two?Should wages be more performance-related?
In 1960, Jimmy Hill was embarked on in his campaign to abolish the Football League’s maximum wage which stood then at just £20 a week. Hill won. A wage bill from August 17, 1960, shows that Liverpool’s Roger Hunt took home £22 after bonuses, tax and insurance. He’d go on to be part of the England team that won the World Cup in 1966. What would he earn in these post-Bosman times?
In The Football Man, Arthur Hopcraft says such wages were“derisive in comparison with what could be earned by entertainers performing in front of much smaller audiences in, say, the theatre or cabaret… [and] small beer to what could be earned on the production lines of the country’s post-war, streamlined factories.”
Nowadays players earn a fortune. In 2009, Premier League clubs spent £1.2 billion on players’ wages in 2007-08, so passing he billion mark for the first time.
The game is rich with TV cash and owners’ money. But if the players don’t get the cash, who will? Will club owners use it to reduce ticket prices or pay dividends to shareholders?
It is obscene, obviously, but it would be more obscene to see the money generated by the Premier League — whether through television, sponsorship or ticket sales — simply sit on the balance sheet as profits go up and up. Football clubs do not exist to make profit. They exist to give something back to communities. Unless the clubs’ intention is to give more and more back to the grassroots, which sadly seems unlikely, then it would be indecent to suggest that the benefit of this latest television deal would not be felt by the players.
He’s right. Footballers can get paid very well. But so do many other workers, top talents in their fields. Do we know what others earn a week, like TV’s Ant and Dec or a soap opera actor? Why do footballer always have their wages discussed in terms of what they earn a week?
The first thought on hearing a player’s weekly earnings is to measure it against your annual salary: why, that little bastard makes more in a week than I do in a year.
The second reason is snobbery. Wherever there is an anomaly in British life, check out snobbery before anything else. The wages of working men — rough types from the working class, you must have heard of them — have always been calculated in weeks.
He notes that the wages are paid by us, the fans who buy the TV packages, tickets and tat.
What do we get from all this money? Not much. Only beauty. Only incomparable skill. Only great bravura performances of mental and physical strife. Only individual and corporate levels of brilliance and defiance. Only the chance to identify with such people, to revel in the fact that they belong to us, that we are part of them and they are part of us.
Only the opportunity to watch as the myths and legends of our times are forged before us. Only the chance to participate in great dramas of will against will, skill against skill. Only anguish, only elation, only inconceivable joy, only the chance to taste despair without any actual suffering. Only the chance to drink down Life in great big gulps.
Do young footballers get too much too soon? Yes. Some do. But we enable them to get it. We invest in them because unlike most of us, these tyros have a chance to shine at something many of us would pay to do.
What does it mean to be working class? Aditya Chakrabortty knows. Having analysed the 17m people who voted to leave the European Union and found them “delusional”, he tells Guardian readers what it is to be working class:
What the pound’s weakness will chiefly achieve is to stop Britons buying as much. The middle classes will swap the wonders of the Alhambra for a week in Anglesey. The working classes will find Zara 15% more expensive.
Tops, shits, hobnail boots and hats by Zara. Grime: models’ own
The working classes rather enjoy packages holidays to Spain. But, yeah, shopping at Zara is just what defines the working class, those people employed in the blue collar trades who having put food on the table and coins in the gas metre can’t afford market-stall schmutter and catalogue shopping and are forced to do with Zara fashions.
PS: In April the Guardian increased its cover price in the UK by 20p, taking the cost of the weekday print edition to £2 and Saturday edition to £2.90. The working class should form an orderly queue at the newsagents.
Good news and bad news in the Daily Mail. The good news is that apartheid in South Africa has well and truly ended. The bad news is that South Africa is not a very rich country and productivity is low enough to mean poverty grips blacks and whites. No longer protected by a system designed to give them the biggest slices of pie and privilege over blacks, South African whites are free to fall.
Chris Summers is shocked.
The WHITE ghettos that blight South Africa: 20 years after the fall of apartheid, how it is now white people who live in squalid camps?
Answer: see above.
While the black South African middle class has grown and many live in big houses, with swimming pools and drive around in BMWs like their white peers; many poor whites live in squalid squatter camps just like their black peers.
There were poor whites before Apartheid ended, but the system meant they were elevated above the blacks. You whites might be poor, but you’ll never be as poor as the Untermensch.
Around 42,000 of the 4.5 million white South Africans are thought to live in poverty, which equates to 0.9 per cent. But 63.2 per cent of the country’s 43 million black South Africans also live in poverty and around 37 per cent of ‘coloureds’ – people of mixed race.
Most first-time visitors to Cape Town are mesmerized by the majesty of Table Mountain, and wowed by the vivacity of the Victorian-era waterfront. As a new visitor myself last month, I was captivated by both. But what has lodged most in my memory is something very different.
Driving from the international airport, I was struck by the sheer wretchedness of Cape Flats: the series of black townships, comprising mostly shacks with corrugated steel roofs, that stretch from the highway almost to the horizon. Few people — tourists or locals — want to talk about the Cape Flats. But there is no better starting point for a discussion of the state of contemporary South Africa.
Adam Johnson, the former Sunderland, Manchester City and England footballer jailed for sexually abusing a 15-year-old fan is a lowlife. But the Mail is shocked and amazed by his life in prison. The paper declares:
Paedophile footballer Adam Johnson is still earning £5,000-a-week despite being locked up for sexually abusing a teenage fan.
Is there some sick trade in a celebrity paedo’s image rights? Maybe, because the Sun says a little ambiguously: “Disgraced footballer Adam Johnson is still raking in £5000 a week while behind bars for child sex offences.”
The Star makes it sounds as if Johnson is getting paid to be a lag: “The ex-England footballer will pick up £250,000 for every year he is locked up on child sex charges.” The longer the sentence, the more he earns?
Back to the Mail, which thunders:
The winger, who was capped 12 times for England, used to earn £60,000-a-week while under contract with Sunderland. The Black Cats sacked him after he plead guilty to the child sex offences, but it has emerged that Johnson will not be strapped for cash when he is released from prison.
The Daily Star reports that thanks to shrewd property investments and high interest funds before he was convicted, the Premier League star is set to take home around £250,000-a-year without kicking a ball.
Wow! Adam Johnson is the shrewd paedophile, then, the criminal who invested his legally earned money soundly.
Do we expect the State and victims to take control of all a convicted criminal’s investments and money?
As newspaper investigations go, the Mail’s look at the piece of coffee 30,000 feet in the air aboard a plane is weaker than a happy hour cocktail in Riyadh. In “Revealed: How low-cost airlines inflate the price of in-flight coffee by up to 4,000 per cent”, Qin Xie repurposes as bit of PR from Kayak.co.uk, which “looked at the prices for coffee on five low-cost airlines departing from the UK – Ryanair, easyJet, Thomas Cook, Flybe and Jet2 – and compared them with the cost of making the same beverage at home.”
Budget airline unveils new low-cost seats
Unless you live aboard a passenger jet, the relative costs don’t hold water. But undeterred by the obvious, the Mail ploughs on:
For example, the cost of a cup of Lavazza coffee on Ryanair is the equivalent of £2.55 when converted from euros. But if you purchased the same coffee at supermarkets, available in 100g tins for £3, each serving comes in at just six pence.
This means a mark-up of 4,150 per cent was applied to the coffee.
What does a cup of coffee cost in high-street coffee shops, like Nero or Costa, or in a local greasy spoon cafe? Qin Xie doesn’t mention that.
But look out for the Mail campaign for the right for passengers to take aboard their own kettles, coffee granules and mugs.
PS – And look out for other ‘revelations’ on other things that cost more when not bought in bulk and consumed in the home, like, well everything.
England manager ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce wraps the Sun in a choke hold. He’s embroiled in an alleged “dodgy deal”. The FA have launched a “probe” into his affairs.
Allardyce is accused of trying to cash in on his England position – one that pays a mere £3m a year plus bonuses for tournament wins (so that’s £3m a year, then). Undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph posed as foreign businessmen keen to deliver overseas players to England. Allardyce, 61, told the stingers “how they could circumvent FA rules which prohibit third parties ‘owning’ players”.
The key point is not that Allardyce comes across as greedy and thick, but that third-party ownership of players was banned by the FA in 2008 for being akin to “slavery”.
During the meeting with the businessmen, who were undercover reporters, it is alleged Allardyce – who was only named England boss in July – said it was “not a problem” to bypass the rules and he knew of agents who were “doing it all the time”.
It is alleged by the paper that a deal was struck with the England boss worth £400,000, which could represent a conflict of interest if he is paid by a company whose footballer clients could benefit from preferential treatment by an international manager.
The Mail says this is the end of Allardyce who should be “axed”.
But it’s the Telegraph that has the big scoop.
In the “England manager for sale” readers are told
Before he had even held his first training session as England’s new head coach, Allardyce negotiated a deal with men purporting to represent a Far East firm that was hoping to profit from the Premier League’s billion-pound transfer market.
He agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador…
Unbeknown to Allardyce, the businessmen were undercover reporters and he was being filmed as part of a 10-month Telegraph investigation that separately unearthed widespread evidence of bribery and corruption in British football.
It’d been looking iffy for a while. We at Anorak were not the first to notice that MODE media were not the best payers. They routinely paid 90-120 days. MODE got the money into their bank accounts, used it for a while and then paid the bloggers who hosted their ads, typically on a 50-50 split (after their company costs have been paid for).
Now MODE has gone bust. Bloggers – people from all walks of life and businesses – have been creamed.
Putting a lot of energy into building a readership and letting MODE take first dibs at getting ads in front of those readers’ eyes was a mugs’ game.
Bloggers have been told nothing since the company abruptly ceased training last week. Your money has sat in MODE’s bank accounts while their directors and owners knew the company was in peril. All the while they let everyone carry on working to keep their side of the bargain and said nothing.
It’s reported MODE made $90 million in 2015. Mode Media was expected to make $100 million in revenue this year.
Those contracts MODE made bloggers stick to – the ones that commanded their ads to be shows only above the fold and before all others – are worthless.
For online publishers who depend on page views to sell advertising against, MODE have pulled a fast one. We wrote the copy, built audiences and they sold the ads. It was a two-way reciprocal arrangement. We also advertised their company – contracts stipulate bloggers must slap MODE’s log on their sites.
And then they shafted us.
We, like many others, simply can’t afford to lose the money MODE owe us.
We can sympathise with the perils of business. But MODE are cowards. A visit to the company’s website, MODE.com, reveals nothing.
Disgusting. Talk is that MODE also screwed their workers.
We and hundreds if not thousands of others who bought into MODE’s business want our money.
To Fremantle, Western Australia,where Sally is outraged. She’s received a parking fine for not parking within the white lines. She posts a picture of her car with a front tyre barely an inch over the line. Sally says the ticket is a gross “unfairness”. But the traffic warden says Sally is wrong.
His picture shows Sally’s car parked well over a white line.
The warden’s photo
“I see the time on his photo at 6.47pm and I don’t understand that at all,” she says. “I have absolutely no recollection of moving the car and nor do my witnesses. A friend did tell he, though, that he’d seen ‘four big guys’ lift and move her car.
No. The council looked at CCTV footage. Nine minutes after the warden has issued Sally with a fine Sally, four men lifted her car into the centre of the parking bay to allow enough space for their vehicle to park in the adjoining bay.
“We now see this not as case of trying to fabricate evidence, just a really unusual series of events,” says a council rep. “While this doesn’t change the fact the car was illegally parked across two bays at the time of the fine being issued, it does support the confusion Sally would have faced when she came back to her car.”
Liverpool have a new ‘official timing parter’. It’s a brand called Holler. This is how Holler announced the deal on their website:
Yeah, not a single wrist in sight. Odd that a brand specialising in watches would show three Liverpool players not wearing one between them.
Holler describes itself thus:
The Official Timing Partner of Liverpool FC.
Holler was born out of a long history of soul music originating in the 1960’s. Soul is a genre which combines different elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues.
And what is soul music without watches?
And they’re on Twitter. This was how @HollerFC account tweeted about Liverpool.
It looks like Holler announced the deal and then mocked Liverpool for their lack of league titles in recent years, praising Manchester United for good measure.
Like the time when Americans knew nothing about football…
NOTE: Is the @HollerFC account authentic? The Drum says:
…speculation around the legitimacy of the new Holler FC Twitter account in relation to the Holler brand has since circulated. However the @Holler_Soul twitter account, which has over 19,000 followers, had promoted the launch of the Holler FC division in its Twitter background page which read: “Coming soon at HollerFC.com”. This has since changed but a screenshot of the old background can be seen below.
Liverpool celebrate their last last league title win on April 28 1990.
Like millions of you, I’m not buying the New iPhone 7 because: a) they told me the iPhone 6s was the greatest phone ever and could not be beaten, and I beliveed them – still do!; b) the new cameras are so clear they force you see your own life as it really is; c) something about tax and stuff.
In the Guardian, you can read one man’s reasons for opting out:
….because they had pulled the Double Irish, the European commission has ruled, Apple deprived the EU of $14.5bn over the last 10 years. The EU ordered Apple to pay the taxes with interest at the end of August, a decision whose logic the company refutes.
No. The EU does not set tax rates.
This is hardly surprising: Apple is a massive multinational, and behaves like one despite its sanitized image. It has a long track record of looking the other way on suppliers’ human rights abuses, documented by the New York Times and other outlets. And it pays a tax rate lower than that of 99.99% of the human beings reading this story right now – and they clearly work harder at that profit margin and squeezing their supply chain now than they do on their actual technology. And in the last few years it is beginning to show.
Former BBC journalist Paul Mason offers guidance to Guardian readers: “How to blag a job in finance: buy some black shoes and talk like an aristocrat.”
Big news any of my friends who worked on the LIFFE floor – including ‘The Professor’, so nicknamed because he had two A-levels (grades C and D) -, no, it wasn’t sarcastic – and those from very non-aristo backgrounds (hard to fake being a toff if you’re Jewish, black or Asian) working throughout the money markets.
Mason, however, has honed in on investment banking:
There’s supposed to be a war for talent. If so, it became pretty clear last week why Britain’s investment banks are losing it. The recruitment filter, revealed in a report from the Social Mobility Commission, works like this: you can only join the customer-facing part of an investment bank if you went to one of four public schools; got a first from one of five universities; and possess “sheen”.
Yes, sheen. And polish. No matter how good you are, if your tie is not right or your suit does not fit like a glove, you are destined to take your excellence somewhere else.
Big news: people with lots of money prefer dealing with people who grow up at ease with lots of money and who succeed in academic studies. But the best part of this article in the picture used to illustrate the unfairness of it all.
The label on the shirt says “EDE & RAVENSCROFT”. Who are they? Well;
We provide ceremonial robes for all occasions, dress the judiciary (including providing handmade wigs) and ensure that graduates from all over the world look their best at graduation ceremonies.
You don’t wear brown in town. And you don’t wear an Ede & Ravenscorft shirt in investment banking. Of course, had the Guardian’s picture editor gone to the right school, they’d have known that.
Are Nike and Adidas prejudiced against disabled athletes? Yes. Is that prejudice immoral or illegal? Surely not. The Guardian reports on Hannah Cockroft, a British paralympian who accuses sportswear companies of discrimination.
Cockroft, who is expected to be one of the stars of the Paralympic Games in Rio after winning two golds at London 2012 and three in last year’s world championships, is the dominant figure in her sport but said Adidas and Nike have cited her inability to use their footwear in competition as a justification for not sponsoring her.
That seems reasonable. Nike and Adidas are most renowned for making trainers. If you are not known for wearing trainers, sponsorship would be waste of their endorsement cash.
“The real reason? I have been told it’s because I don’t wear shoes when I compete. What do I do with that? I wear a shirt, I wear trousers, I wear shoes on the podium when I’m collecting a gold medal. But apparently because that’s not when I’m competing that’s not enough. I’ve been told this by Nike, Adidas, all the big brands. I told them it was discrimination. It is discrimination.”
Yes. It is discrimination. Of course it is. But it’s about her not it.
Adidas also rejected Cockroft’s claims, pointing out it has designed ParalympicsGB’s kit for the Games. “As a sports brand we have partnerships with teams, including ParalympicsGB, and individuals across both apparel and footwear,” a spokesperson said. “Whilst we will not discuss negotiations with specific athletes we can say we sponsor a number of athletes who don’t wear footwear to compete.”
So why has no big brand sponsored her?
Cockroft has had talks about kit sponsorship in the past but it is understood the companies’ offers have fallen below expectations.
Zoal Budd ran barefoot, but was sponsored by running shoe companies. One of the best known barefoot runners in history, Budd has actually been sponsored by a couple of shoe companies during her career – firstly Brooks and then Newton in more recent years.
Lovely article by Matt Dickinson the Times about the “obscene” sums of money in the Premier League.
It is slightly curious, this looking to football for a moral lead, which the Premier League counters by citing the total tax contribution of £2.4 billion to the UK Exchequer in the 2013-14 season, including £891 million paid directly by players. Equivalent to the pay of 90 per cent of all constables in England and Wales, so it says.
The vast sums paid to players and clubs is, as Dickinson suggests, “probably all part of the attraction”. And as for football taking the nation’s moral lead, well, I loathe the phrase “role model” when applied to a Premier League footballer whose not your dad or big brother.
Lamentably after so much sense, the Times also wrote: “Who is a good role model for young footballers?” The answer is none. But The article invites people to tell the Times who their footballing role model is and isn’t.
Wayne Rooney is an enormous talent but I’m not sure he has matured enough to be a “great role model”.
Ask his kids. They look up to him, most likely. Others wade in:
Rooney is a shocking role model…
Young Mr. Rooney is a disgrace to professional football and to society in general…
A much more suitable role model would be Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen or even John Terry, whose own rehabilitation now appears complete after a few difficult years…
I think Zinedine Zidane is a true footballing icon and should be a role-model for every aspiring footballer…
Danny Shittu, the Queens Park rangers defender, is an excellent role model for young people…
No footballer signed up to a “role model”. Is the Prime Minister a role model? Are other public figures, like MPs, there to offer you moral guidance? Is Prince Harry Baseball Cap your life coach? Is your first thought when confronted with model dilemma to muse, “I wonder what Richard Branson would do?” If it is, seek help. Now.
With the football Transfer Window, Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish assesses the scene in the Times:
There is one price for a club and there is another price for a Premier League club. But it isn’t just the increase in transfer fees we’ve seen. You now have a massive wage escalation, too.
Palace were in for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere but, reportedly, baulked at paying all of his £90,000-a-week wages. They did, however, spend big, agreeing permanent deals for: Christian Benteke (Liverpool, £32m), Andros Townsend (Newcastle United, £13m), James Tomkins (West Ham United, £10m) and Steve Mandanda (Marseille £1.5m). Palace also took Loic Remy on loan from Chelsea, with an option to buy him for £10.3 million.
Palace pay big fees and big wages. Johan Cabaye, reportedly, signed a £100,000-a-week deal on his move to Selhurst Park. With so much money flying around, it’s odd that Palace didn’t stump up for a rare talent like Wilshere, who would have thrived behind Remy, Benteke and Townsend.
The problem is that we’re paying players amounts of money that only our league can afford. I think to myself: ‘Where are these players going to go?’
Answer: China or, like Bastian Schweinsteiger, who refused to leave Manchester United, nowhere.
Former Birmingham City footballer Trevor Francis with his wife, Helen, and Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough at the City Ground Nottingham after becoming Britain’s most expensive player. Date: 09/02/1979
Most Premier League players will be earning £25,000-£30,000 per week. And that is just your entry level for a good solid pro, so if your top, top wage in the Championship — apart from the parachute clubs — is around £10,000, where do they go? There is no European market. That is the problem.
Isn’t the problem with the clubs who offer these wages?
We don’t get value for money, really. You have to buy assets that you can recycle. A club like us, you have to accept that you need to create assets and you have to reinvent, as Southampton have done brilliantly over the past three or four years.
Dan Jones, who works at Deloitte, adds a few words:
If you look around Europe, you will see Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich making big-money signings. But you won’t see that from the mid-table clubs and those involved in relegation battles because they don’t have the money and that is because the TV deals in those countries aren’t as big and aren’t shared equally.
England has the most equal model about how they distribute that money. That means if you are a mid-ranking Premier League club you can compete with all but the biggest clubs in Europe, so it puts you in a pretty strong position.
Precisely. The money goes up when a Premier League club calls because the PL has the most cash. But the team has to woo the player with wages. Do they have to be bigger? Why do they want more?
Geraint Anderson, 38, who was earning a base salary of £120,000 and a bonus of £500,000 by the time he left investment banking after 12 years in the City, took a view:
“It’s like a gilded cage. They earn huge amounts but they have the massive mortgage, they have the high-maintenance trophy wife, they have the kids at Harrow – then they wake up on their 50th birthday and think, ‘What a waste of a life.’ They get into this culture where their worth is valued by how much they earn, so they work ridiculous hours. I’d rather earn £25,000, have the kids at a local school and not owe anyone anything.”
Can we blame the clubs for fomenting the money game?
Denton’s self-starting staff crossed two rich and angry men. One was the wrestler Hulk Hogan, incensed when Gawker published part of a video showing him having sex with a friend’s wife. Hogan took Gawker Media to court and won a total of $140 million in March. Hogan’s suit was bankrolled by Peter Thiel, a billionaire whom Gawker had outed as gay in 2007. At last month’s GOP convention, Thiel told the audience that, “I’m proud to be gay. I’m proud to be a Republican.” Gawker, for its part, went proudly bankrupt.
Gawker, the muck-raking, dirt-digging, mud-slinging internet magazine, has just been forcibly closed down. It was not found guilty of threatening America’s national security, or corrupting the nation’s youth. Instead, Gawker was put out of business for publishing true stories that some people found offensive. One of those offended people happened to be a Silicon Valley billionaire, who used his wealth and power to shut Gawker’s irreverent mouth as surely as if he had been a Third World tyrant sending the cops to close a dissident newspaper.
But this is more than an outrageous tale of a thin-skinned rich boy. Gawker’s demise is only the headline in a bigger story about a campaign to tame press freedom, online as well as in print, and to sanitise the news media. It is a campaign being led on both sides of the Atlantic, not by old-fashioned censors, but by a new alliance of illiberal-liberal prigs who want to ‘ethically cleanse’ the media of whatever is not to their refined taste.
Nick Denton (Gawker publisher):
Peter Thiel has achieved his objectives. His proxy, Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, has a claim on the company and my personal assets after winning a $140 million trial court judgment in his Florida privacy case. Even if that decision is reversed or reduced on appeal, it is too late for Gawker itself. Its former editor, who wrote the story about Hogan, has a $230 million hold on his checking account. The flagship site, a magnet for most of the lawsuits marshaled by Peter Thiel’s lawyer, has for most media companies become simply too dangerous to own.
Peter Thiel has gotten away with what would otherwise be viewed as an act of petty revenge by reframing the debate on his terms. Having spent years on a secret scheme to punish Gawker’s parent company and writers for all manner of stories, Thiel has now cast himself as a billionaire privacy advocate, helping others whose intimate lives have been exposed by the press. It is canny positioning against a site that touted the salutary effects of gossip and an organization that practiced radical transparency.
As former Gawker developer Dustin Curtis says, “Though I find the result abhorrent, this is one of the most beautiful checkmates of all time by Peter Thiel.”
That crisis and the editorial changes that followed it did almost as much as the Peter Thiel-funded Hulk Hogan lawsuit to illustrate that what made Gawker great also made it vulnerable. In a word: money. (And an internet that’s become increasingly responsive to it.) Gawker was able to be what it was because it existed at the whim of an eccentric millionaire, not beholden to corporate interests, who was interested in what journalism could be. It was only a matter of time, perhaps, before other eccentric billionaires (like Peter Thiel and Frank VanderSloot) would come along who were more interested in what it couldn’t.
That Thiel succeeded in destroying Gawker by secretly funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit is a serious sign in a media landscape that’s already lost most of its biodiversity. But Gawker’s closure is a loss for its own sake. And ours.
Until the news broke that tech billionaire Peter Thiel was funding former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan’s suit against (now-defunct) gossip blog Gawker for outing him as gay nearly a decade ago, most people were unaware that third parties — traditionally, hedge funds — could bankroll a lawsuit against a person or business
As a result, start-ups in the field of litigation-finance investment have gained prominence, with a simple pitch to investors: Put up as little as $5,000 to fund lawsuits, and make money.
When the Sun led with news that Liverpool’s American owners had rebuffed Chinese attempts to buy the club we enjoyed the headline “You’ll Never Wok Alone”.
Readers were told that “Liverpool chiefs will reject moves from the Far East to buy a stake in the club”.
It all looked an exercise in PR. Liverpool’s foreign chiefs are much more in tune with the Reds than other foreigners who want to be chiefs. The club is in safe hands.
The Chinese are a “state-backed group called Everbright”, who “value the club at £700m”. Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, part of the Fenway Sports Group, says the club would work with the right partner and offers are made “just for the publicity”.
Today the Times has more.
Liverpool, or Liwupu as it is rendered in Chinese, has received admiring glances in China. Over the weekend it emerged that China Everbright, a state-backed investment company, was looking into making a bid with Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners.
You wonder how these things emerge?
The club has also caught the attention of Fosun and Dalian Wanda, Reuters reported yesterday. Both are Chinese conglomerates with a proven taste for western consumer brands with Chinese cachet, counting Club Med and a Hollywood studio among their most recent deals.
How depressing to have your beloved football club bracketed with Club Med and cinema chains.
Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, insist that the club is not for sale despite the £800 million approach said to be in the works. However, leading figures have indicated that they would take a proposal for a minority stake seriously from investors who could open doors for the club commercially.
£700million has now become £800m. That figure could go up and up.
Nick Davis, chief executive of Memery Crystal, a law firm that advised on the sale earlier this month of West Bromwich Albion to Yunyi Guokai, said that Chinese interest in Liverpool was part of a trend established at the top of the Chinese hierarchy. Xi Jinping, the president of China who last year posed for a selfie with Sergio Aguero, the Manchester City striker, has said he wants China to become a “world football superpower” that could win the World Cup by 2050.
China buys Liverpool. China picks the Liverpool team?
David Shambaugh, a China expert at George Washington University, said that the explanation was partly domestic. “China has so much pent-up money looking to be invested abroad and the Premier League is a very sound financial investment,” he said. “It also offers excellent opportunities to expand China’s ‘brand’ abroad.”
An £800 million valuation for Liverpool compares with the £300 million paid by Fenway Group in 2010.
A series of new laws with a national security focus were drafted or enacted that presented grave dangers to human rights. The government launched a massive nationwide crackdown against human rights lawyers. Other activists and human rights defenders continued to be systematically subjected to harassment and intimidation. Five women’s rights activists were detained for planning to mark International Women’s Day with a campaign against sexual harassment. Authorities stepped up their controls over the internet, mass media and academia. Televised “confessions” of critics detained for investigation multiplied. Freedom of religion continued to be systematically stifled. The government continued its campaign to demolish churches and take down Christian crosses in Zhejiang province. In the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the regional government enacted new regulations to more tightly control religious affairs and ban all unauthorized religious practice. The government maintained extensive controls over Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. The UN Committee against Torture regretted that previous recommendations had not been implemented.
One in four graduates in work a decade after leaving university in 2004 is earning only around £20,000 a year, according to a new study.
Well, so says the Guardian. The average wage in Britain is around £26,500. It’s time to end the higher education push. The only people to benefit are those graduates who went into full-time education – as teachers, administrators and student debt pedlars.
The Duke of Westminster has died. There will be no land grab for his vast estates in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia. Chinese and Russian investors can stable the horses. The Duke, whose family gained their estates thanks to an ancestor’s friendship with William the Conqueror, who took charge of the land after a successful invasion, has left the spoils of war to this heirs. The Guardian is upset that the State won’t get their chunk of change:
…the sixth duke is said to have left an estate worth £9.9bn upon his death this week to his son and yet, despite the fact that inheritance tax is supposedly payable on all estates on death worth more than £325,000, it has been widely reported that very little tax will be due in this case.
He did? No. He left the estate to a trust managed by his son. As the departed Duke said:
I’d rather not have been born wealthy, but I never think of giving it up. I can’t sell. It doesn’t belong to me.”
It belongs to the trust. Indeed, the Guardian adds:
The English legal concept of a trust is believed to have been developed during that era, when knights departing the country with no certainty of returning wanted to ensure that their land passed to those who they thought to be their rightful heirs without interference from the Crown. Trusts achieved that goal and the concept has remained in existence ever since, representing the continual struggle of those with wealth to subvert the rule of law that may apply to others but that they believe should not apply to them.
No. They are using the rule of law to stay legal.
The late Duke had this advice for his heir: “He’s been born with the longest silver spoon anyone can have, but he can’t go through life sucking on it.. He has to see himself as a caretaker, keeping the estates in good shape in his lifetime. It took me ten years just to understand what I had inherited.”
Former BBC staffer Paul Mason is making some sort of point about Sports Direct and Newcastle United FC tycoon Mike Ashley and his underlings:
What is striking, when you consider the modern reality of precarious work and coercive management, is how the concept of human rights stops at the factory gate.
The workers of Georgian England had no democratic rights or access to law. But the 21st century is supposed to be an age of universal rights. Every one of the practices described at Sports Direct appears to not just have broken employment law, but also violated the human right of the citizen not to be bullied, shamed, endangered or sexually harassed.
So things are better now because there are laws and human rights. Sports Direct’s working practises can be tested in a court of law. The workers have redress. Things are much improved. So what exactly is Mason’s point?
To America, where Maximo Cortez has been working part-time in Starbucks in Houston, Texas “on and off over the last eight years, first while in school and now to save up some money.”
Cortez, a transgender man, is trying to accumulate enough to afford top surgery, something that will cost him $10,000. Meanwhile, he also needs to pay back student loans, pay his car expenses, and try to afford his apartment.
“Giving everyone a 5 percent wage increase, from barista to management, that’s a great step forward,” he said. But for him, currently making $8 an hour, that increase won’t mean much. “It won’t even be a dollar,” he noted.
Mr Cortez has a degree he paid for. He works in Starbucks part-time. Join the dots.