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Napster

The Horse with no Name⭐
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
35,449
Location
The wilds of Kent
United bans signed memorabilia

Daniel Taylor
Tuesday April 6, 2004
The Guardian

Asking a footballer for his autograph might be a simple enough request but in the case of Manchester United it might lead only to disappointment.

The world's best-supported club has declared a ban on signing various forms of memorabilia, even if it means disappointing its youngest supporters.

Rather than a collective case of writer's cramp, the club says it is to reduce the risk of autograph hunters selling items on the internet. In some cases, the club suspects that dealers are paying children to spend the day outside United's training ground collecting signatures.

Not any longer. Regardless of who they disappoint, the players will refuse to sign footballs, shirts, posters, portraits or anything else that could constitute a collector's item.

Magazines, match programmes and photographs represent something of a grey area, when it is up to the player to decide. The only item a supporter can brandish without risking short shrift from Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy and the rest of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad seems to be a blank sheet of paper.

Children gathering outside the high-security practice ground in Carrington yesterday - the first day of the Easter holidays - found a notice pinned to the gates informing them of the new restrictions. "It's bad enough the place being designed like a prison," said one fan. "But this is just pathetic."

It has also been noted that Sir Alex's son Jason has not been averse to cashing in on the club's name. He did, after all, create the £275 Manchester United shirt in 2001. While the same shirts were on sale for £35 at the Old Trafford megastore, Ferguson and his associates at Elite Sports Group Ltd used their contacts at Old Trafford to get them signed by a United player, framed them and delivered them around the world at exorbitant prices.

The club has apologised to supporters but says the ban will continue for the foreseeable future. "Sadly it's the genuine autograph hunters who are made to suffer," said a spokesman. "We regret that fact - and the players regret it more than anyone - but clearly action was necessary to stop concerted and organised dealers."

With Keane in the dressing room, perhaps the ban should come as no surprise. During his days with the Republic of Ireland, officials from the Football Association of Ireland had to make contingency plans when they were sent shirts and footballs for the players to autograph. They were so worried about asking him that the kit-man, Johnny Fallon, was required to perfect a Keane signature.
 

Barmy Army

Director
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
2,208
Location
Shoebury
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Napster @ April 06 2004,10:16)]With Keane in the dressing room, perhaps the ban should come as no surprise. During his days with the Republic of Ireland, officials from the Football Association of Ireland had to make contingency plans when they were sent shirts and footballs for the players to autograph. They were so worried about asking him that the kit-man, Johnny Fallon, was required to perfect a Keane signature.
Does that not constitute fraud?

What happens if a charity sent them a shirt to sign for a charity auction? I think the buyer may want to know that the Roy Keane signature is fake.
 

Wessex Blue

Manager
Joined
Oct 31, 2003
Messages
1,620
In their defence I read the same faces were there day in day out. They were getting shirts signed and then banging them out on e bay for £100 a time.
 

McScriven

The Ball Boy
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Messages
3,842
I can understand their problem they are only trying to protect their brand. Easiest way around it would be to get fans to send in merchandise etc... and pay a small admin fee for the club to get it sent back to you. That way they'd be able to monitor addresses and see who is trying to get it all the time.
 

Napster

The Horse with no Name⭐
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
35,449
Location
The wilds of Kent
[b said:
Quote[/b] (McScriven @ April 07 2004,13:11)]I can understand their problem they are only trying to protect their brand. Easiest way around it would be to get fans to send in merchandise etc... and pay a small admin fee for the club to get it sent back to you. That way they'd be able to monitor addresses and see who is trying to get it all the time.
But then a way round that would be to get your kids' friends to get stuff for you.

Surely if its the same people over and over again, the players must recognise them and just refuse to sign?
 

McScriven

The Ball Boy
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Messages
3,842
Yeah but eventually you'd run out of people to ask, surely?
 
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