Manchester City fan Mike McDonald is not the most loved figure at Sheffield Utd as Peter Salt explains
Distinguishing features Big reputation, big ego, big car, big company, big money, big mouth, big cigar, big Man City supporter, big chip on his shoulder. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, Big Mac.
Habitat Chairman of Texas plc, an engineering company that started life as a sort of scrap metal merchant. Mike is a self-made man, as he will readily tell you, who works 20 hours a day, seven days a week, 51 weeks of the year (but he always seems to take his holiday in the week of the Sheffield United plc agm). He and his sidekick Lawrie Turnbull have matching number plates on their cars, TEX 1 and 1TEX. Kind of sweet don’t you think?
What use is he? He came in as a conquering hero, ridding the club of the shadow of the Reg Brealey regime. He built the new stand and reversed SUFC into a plc, recovering his loans for the stand on the way. He employed Howard Kendall and gave him enough money to build a half-decent team that should have got into the Premiership, but gradually the wheels came off. Big Mac then sat back and let his hatchet man Charles Green, then chief executive, sell the team. McDonald took flight after a fans’ demonstration, vowing never to return. He is now back as joint chairman and wooing the fans with promises of financial stability and gradual team strengthening. Most fans just don’t buy it.
Who remembers his birthday? He won’t get many cards from Blades fans. He comes across as someone who cannot admit to a mistake. It’s always someone else’s fault, often the supporters – after all, it’s clear that if we packed the stands week in, week out, SUFC would quickly turn into an east Pennines version of Man Utd. What really pisses Blades fans off is his constant harping about the loyalty of Man City fans and how we could do with their type of support.
Quote unquote “I am not interested in a title. I will come back as a tea lady if necessary. I have taken a back seat for the last 12 months because that was what the fans wanted, but sometimes it can be a case of better the devil you know.” (April 1999)
“I want to hand this club to the fans.” (July 1999)
“I don’t care much about the fans.” (September 1999)
Other offences to be taken into consideration His major crime is that he just doesn’t love Sheffield United or its fans. It would be best if he left. Oh, and took the rest of the board with him.
From WSC 153 November 1999. What was happening this month