In the process of my request to be granted a spouse team divorce from Manchester United, I have retained Dippy the Pirate Bear to represent me in this matter. He is submitting the following open letter:
Mr. Avram Glazer, Co-Chairman, Manchester United PLC
Mr. Joel Glazer, Co-Chairman, Manchester United PLC
Sir Busby Way
Manchester, M16 0RA
My name is Dippy the Pirate Bear. I have been retained as Mr. Keith Lisenbee’s legal representative in this matter. In order to be as transparent as possible, which is a concept that you know nothing about, I will disclose a few pertinent things. First, my day job is to be a mascot babysitter for children at a beachfront hotel in Virginia. My job responsibilities include the supervision of hotel guests’ children and servicing the needs of their mothers or other female guests in my 14th-floor oceanfront suite in the hotel. I have other duties as assigned at the hotel such as cooking, running the gift shop, taking out the trash, and insect management. For most of these duties, I do wear a pirate bear costume. Second, I am not an attorney, however, I have read most of the first five editions of Jay Feinman’s book ‘Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law’ which has given me a foundation to provide representation in matters involving owners of companies who make horrible products and criminal defense. Third, I am a fan of Manchester City, which is currently owned by the United Arab Emirates and despite this, they are doing a pretty decent job at turning Manchester from red to a perfectly hot blue.
Mr. Lisenbee, the plaintiff in this case, published on this website on September 24, 2019, his case for a spouse team divorce from Manchester United Football Club under Rule 19 of the Code of Being a Sports Fan. As the owner of this “club”, you are the defendant in this matter. See, I know my legal terms, but I digress.
We believe that the case laid out in that aforementioned column was compelling and showed clearly that the preponderance of evidence supports a spouse's team divorce. To remind you, Rule 19 stated that a plaintiff could divorce their spouse sports team if the owners of that team acted in such an “egregious” manner that the plaintiff “cannot take it anymore.” It is the plaintiff’s position that under Rule 19, you have acted in such an egregious manner in running the team that the relationship has become irrevocably untenable. Considering events of the last two weeks, we feel that we must proceed with the next step which is for the plaintiff to legally separate from Manchester United. Our case for this step is outlined below.
Last Monday, Manchester United played Arsenal at home in one of the ugliest matches in recent memory. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, but no one who watched this match will ever get their two hours back and wished they could. United’s xG (expected goals) was 1.13 for the match, which showed that they lacked the imagination, energy, and the player ability to create chances against an Arsenal defense that is known to be as poor as a lost chihuahua in New Jersey. This chart shows their limited attack strategy.
The blue lines with one arrow point are completed passes. The red lines with one arrow point are failed passes. Red lines with the double arrow point are shots off target. Blue double arrow point lines are on-target shots.
United while on possession continued primarily to play the ball side to side in their half of the pitch as this chart shows:
This strategy by United given the abilities of both teams on the pitch was pensive, fearful, and boring. It was designed and implemented as a strategy not to lose. United did not lose but did not win either. This has been Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s strategy since he got hired as a permanent manager and for him to continue this strategy is the definition of legal insanity. He is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
The plaintiff believed that United’s Europa match last Wednesday at the Hague would be a livelier affair. The plaintiff watched most of the match in the worst medical office waiting room in all of human history. It was a waiting room in purgatory in Richmond, Virginia. The match against AZ Alkmaar who is in 4th place in Eredivise was football’s version of purgatory with a side of mind-numbing torture. The plaintiff stated to me that it reminded him of listening to Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond on an endless loop for 45 hours straight with no bathroom breaks. This was intense emotional and physical suffering for a sports fan. It was infinitely worse than the Arsenal match and put professional football back several hundred years. The chart below shows Manchester United’s offensive output.
The chart shows no United goals, no United shots on target, three United shots blocked, and three United shots off target. This chart does not include Marcus Rashford to shoot his 327th straight free-kick at least 50 feet off target and the manager keeps letting him do it. The match played on a pitch which was not fit for any professional soccer match anywhere in the world ended in a 0-0 draw. Liability for all of this lies in the decision making by the defendants.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, in his post-match statements, stating that he was “pleased” with the squad and the result sounds more like insanity than naïve optimism. His tactics were virtually the same as the Arsenal match as the chart below illustrates:
As stated, the blue lines with one arrow point are completed passes. The red lines with one arrow point are failed passes. Red lines with the double arrow point are shots off target. What is worse in this match is that there were only three completed United passes into the opponent’s penalty area. All the completed action happened around that box. This was not only a horrific strategy, but it appears that it was executed with gross negligence by the players on the pitch. For the manager to say he is pleased with the squad for this performance also is legally insane. The defendants (that means you) are ultimately responsible for this gross negligence.
Furthermore, the financials are not in order. The latest financial statement reveals that despite a fiscal year increase in revenue of 6.3% from the previous year (most of which was obtained through a significant increase in broadcasting revenues) there was a $27.1 million loss in the last quarter. This lowered the team’s operating profit to $61.6 million. For a team that is worth in excess of $3 billion, this is not acceptable. The stock in the last year has fallen 23.5%. There is $257.6 million in debt that remains from the original sale of the team. This is indicative of a team in a sharp decline. It shows that people do not want to invest in the organization in the long term.
On Sunday, Manchester United played against Newcastle United, the ugly stepchild that everyone loves and can’t rid themselves of no matter how bad they are. Their owner is the poster child of total gross negligence which is a status that it appears that you are aspiring to. The result? Another loss on the road. That makes eleven straight matches without a win on the road. United’s xG was 0.97 against a team that should be fighting to keep from being relegated. The team’s strategy was the same as all the previous matches, which led to the same expected result. The chart below shows the continued degradation towards legal insanity from the manager.
After eight Premier League matches, United sit in 12th in the table with nine points. This is the same number of points as Brighton and Sheffield United. It is two points from the relegation zone. It would be easy to hide behind the numerous injuries that the squad has suffered to key players. The plaintiff points to the fact that it is the upper management of the organization that made the decisions that led to the current depletion of the quantity and quality of the players the manager has available. You are ultimately responsible for the consequences of the decisions you and the people that work for you make.
In conclusion, this open letter is meant to formally declare that the plaintiff is legally separating from Manchester United. This is in preparation for a formal spouse team divorce under Rule 19 of the Code of Being a Sports Fan. The plaintiff in this action is giving twelve months’ notice that if conditions are not met that a divorce action will proceed. As a result of this action, the plaintiff can interact with other football clubs as he sees fit as if there is no spouse club relationship. This is a clean break separation. It should be noted that the plaintiff has received overtures from supporters of Arsenal, South Ham, and Chelsea to join them. The plaintiff also wishes for you to know that there is a hot blue neighbor next store. In full disclosure, I am a supporter of the hot blue neighbor. Now excuse me, I need to crush these orange Tic Tacs on my hunting knife.
There is really one main condition that the plaintiff is requesting for relief and it is a condition that is in the long-term rational self-interest of the team. This condition is for you to sell the team to a viable buyer. You must sell at least a majority controlling interest in the team to a viable buyer within the next twelve months in order to avoid the next and final step from being initiated. The plaintiff requests that the buyer(s) are considered by FIFA, UEFA, FA, UN, and FSB rules and regulations as a viable owner. If this means that Manchester United is bought by Vietnam, Bayer, Red Bull, MS-13, or Mexico if they are considered viable then this will be considered acceptable by the plaintiff.
The second condition is that the Red Devil Manchester United mascot engages in an MMA style cage match with the blue alien looking mascot of Manchester City. This fight needs to be held at Etihad Stadium as Old Trafford is now a dump thanks to your negligence. All proceeds from this fight must go to the charity of the plaintiffs choosing and must be held before New Years Day 2020.
The plaintiff hereby rests his case. He has formally provided you notice of separation from Manchester United and has outlined conditions and a timeline for deliverables. I thank you for your time and consideration.
Dippy the Pirate Bear, non-Esq.
Author: Keith Lisenbee, mental health professional, writer, and soccer enthusiast is from Atlanta, Georgia by way of Virginia. I was in love with soccer until Agüero destroyed my soul and Manchester United's title hopes in 2012. I came back for the World Cup in 2014 and through the use of DVR, I am back with the force of orange Tic Tacs and IPAs covering the EPL, Bundesliga, MLS, and La Liga. You can follow me on Twitter @keith_lisenbee and Instagram @lisenbeekeith got more random soccer thoughts.