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Ownership of Football Clubs

I just read this on the Sons Supporters Trust Website and thought I’d spread the word. The Co-operative Party has several MP’s but in effect is part of the Labour and Co-operative Party – Labour for short.

ANDY Burnham MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and former Supporters Direct (SD) Chair, this week made his most critical speech yet about the direction football is headed in a month where the Manchester City takeover dominated the headlines, and Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger condemned Premier League football for its over-reliance on billionaires.

In his speech at the Co-operative Party Annual Conference in London on Thursday of this week, said he was “not flinching” from his view that supporter ownership is the ideal model for football clubs, most true to their character as sporting homes of belonging, rather than “global brands” to be bought for profit.

The speech – a wide-ranging critique of the direction of football consistent with his views for many years, and not simply a knee-jerk reaction to recent events – is an important signal of the support for a more responsible and better regulated game as ex press ed by FA Chairman Lord Triesman, and which SD itself has espoused since its launch in 2000.

Supporters Direct responded to the speech, saying, “Like a great many football fans, Andy Burnham is concerned about the direction football is headed in. We support his call for a debate about the direction football is headed – lead by the Football Association, and the views of supporters are absolutely central to it. We also welcome his reiteration of the view that supporter ownership is a viable, valid – and we’d say necessary – step to reconnecting clubs, their fans and their communities.”

And a welcome intervention by The FA, with the game’s governing body saying, “Lord Triesman met with Andy Burnham this week to discuss some of the biggest issues facing the game, and will meet him again soon to move these discussions forward. These issues include fit-and-proper ownership of clubs and the development of home-grown talent.

“Like the Culture Secretary, he firmly believes that clubs must preserve their links with their communities, and shares concerns if clubs are being bought for their short-term investment value rather than their long-term success. These issues, and the need to reconsider football’s regulatory framework in this area, are very high on the Chairman’s list of priorities.”

108 years ago…….

This is Robert Leroy Parker alias Butch Cassidy, who along with his sidekick Harry A. Longabaugh, alias the Sundance Kid, raided the First National Bank of Winnemucca Nevada stealing $32,640 on this day in 1900.

Here he is with the full gang known as ‘The Wild Bunch’

Front row left to right: Harry A. Longabaugh, alias the Sundance Kid, Ben Kilpatrick, alias the Tall Texan, Robert Leroy Parker, alias Butch Cassidy, Standing- Will Carver, alias News Carver and Harvey Logan, alias Kid Curry; Fort Worth, Texas, 1901

Parker and Longabaugh of course were portrayed by Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the 1969 box office smash ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’

‘Of all Western outlaws, none are more fondly remembered in story and folklore than the “Robin Hood of the West,” Butch Cassidy–the alias of Robert LeRoy Parker. Parker was born 15 April 1866 in Beaver, Utah, and was raised by (Scots mother and English father) Mormon pioneer parents on a ranch near Circleville, Utah. While a teenager, Parker fell under the influence of an old rustler named Mike Cassidy. Parker soon left home to ride the outlaw trail.

For the first several years after leaving home, Parker rode the fringe between being an outlaw and a migrant cowboy. He worked several ranches as well as one time in a butcher shop at Rock Springs, Wyoming, from which he took the name “Butch”; and to not bring shame upon honest parents, he added the name Cassidy, most likely in respect for his old mentor. Moving from rustler, for which he served a two-year stint in a Wyoming jail from 1894 to 1896, to master planner of the robbery of trains, banks, and mine payrolls came naturally for Cassidy. With his quick wit and native charm, coupled with his fearlessness and bravery, he never lacked for willing companions to assist in his plans. By 1896 his gang had dubbed themselves the “Wild Bunch.” This gang consisted of several well-known Western outlaws including Harry Longabaugh, known as the Sundance Kid; Harvey Logan, alias Kid Curry; Ben Kilpatrick, the Tall Texan; Harry Tracy, Elzy Lay (who was Butch’s best friend), and several others. Operating around the turn of the century, Cassidy and his partners put together the longest sequence of successful bank and train robberies in the history of the American West.

Successfully eluding the law became ever harder as the West grew more populated and law enforcement became better organized, however. When the railroads hired the Pinkerton Agency to chase down Cassidy, he and Harry Longabaugh, along with Etta Place (who was likely a Browns Park girl named Ann Bassett), went to South America and purchased a ranch in Argentina. After a few short years of trying to make it as honest ranchers, the pair again turned to easier methods of obtaining money. After robbing banks in several South American countries, the pair was finally trapped by troops in Bolivia.

What happened afterwards is the central myth surrounding Cassidy. Some claim he and Sundance were killed, others emphatically believe that another pair of outlaws were killed by the troops and that Cassidy and Longabaugh purposefully let it be known they had been killed. The oft-told stories relate that the pair returned to the West and lived out their lives under alias names and identities. Like many other Western figures, Butch Cassidy has become larger than life. His name still generates fond recollections from many Utah old-timers who love to tell stories about him. Whether he died in South America or died of old age under one of the several identities that are attributed to him may never be fully proven.

See: Lula Betenson, Butch Cassidy, My Brother (1975); Pearl Baker, The Wild Bunch At Robbers Roost (1971); Larry Pointer, In Search of Butch Cassidy (1977); and Doris K. Burton, Queen Ann Bassett Alias Etta Place (1992).’

John D. Barton (University of Utah)

The ‘Wild Bunch’ do look very respectable in the photo above. One wonders what the demeanour and modus operandi of a modern day bank raider would be?

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Yes folks forget the demise of the world banking system, today, September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day For a tutorial on the proper etiquette watch the video.

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