With U.S. taxpayers now the principal shareholder in AIG, we find ourselves, as Mark Steyn noted early this morning, the principal sponsor of English
socc football powerhouse, Manchester United.
Whatever you might think about the nationalization of the insurance giant (something that never would have happened if Hank Greenberg still had the reins, in my opinion — and I’m not alone), the best way to make lemonade out of this lemon is to affirm Man U. as “America’s Team.” The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys never really deserved that designation (says this American fan of the New York Football Giants — and I’m not alone), as the moniker was earned not on the gridiron but through the busy marketing of a rather fetching group of cheerleaders.
But now, at last, America really does have a team in which we all have a stake (for better or worse) – and it’s the red devils of the English Premier League.
As it happens, Man. U. is on the pitch at Old Trafford right now, defending their Champions League crown in a Group E match at home against Spain’s Villareal. The two teams are the class of Group E — which explains why the match is on ESPN2 at the moment. Alas, Paul Scholes is serving a suspension, and Ronaldo has started on the bench (better there than playing for Manchester City or Real Madrid, what?). But Wayne Rooney is at striker and Van der Sar is in goal. So America’s New Team still has an excellent chance.
(And Go Giants!)
[UPDATE: Ronaldo eventually came on for American’s New Team, and made several very gifted touches. Alas, the game ended nil-nil. Are you ready for some football?]
[UPDATE 2: Readers have suggested that the AIG panel on the Man. U. jersey be replaced by Old Glory — seems fair enough. Or at least four-fifths of that panel, anyway. Another reader suggests the team change its name to Manchester United States. Heh.]