10 Jun 2005
Manchester United fans (a sensitive bunch) have been less than enthusiastic about Malcolm Glazer’s takeover, but it may be particularly worrying for web-savvy followers.
The Glazers were responsible for an infamous, rather amusing episode in dot-com history. One of their companies, Zapata, was originally formed by George Bush Snr. to drill for oil but had ended up primarily dealing in fish oil and sausage casings. In 1998 they boldy announced their Zap.com portal was destined for the big time; the plan involved buying up various barely-known niche sites (following a “Zap will buy your Web site” ad campaign) and then, er… sitting back and waiting for that sweet internet money to roll in, I suppose.
It was arrogant and inept, they were rightfully mocked, and of course it failed (to be fair though, companies such as Excite, which they attempted to take over, crashed more spectacularly and pissed away far more money).
Malcolm Glazer’s son Avram, who headed that farcical venture, is now on the United board. If you’re a fan, you’d better hope that this time around his business plan isn’t inspired by the Underpants Gnomes.