There were references to “solidarity payments” and promises from Joel Glazer, one of the owners of Manchester United, of “increased financial support for the wider football pyramid”. But the focus was on the €3.5bn payday that would “offset the impact of the Covid pandemic” for founding teams.
The publicity campaign was organised by iNHouse Communications, a firm that was founded by former journalist Jo Tanner and Katie Perrior, Downing Street director of communications under Theresa May.
Boris Johnson refers to them as the “Fortnum and Mason of communications” on iNHouse’s website. Within hours of releasing the news, the Prime Minister would be leading the criticism.
“Who is going to run the JP Morgan Cup?” tweeted Gary Neville.
Even Sajid Javid, the former chancellor who now works part time as a senior adviser to JP Morgan for £150,000 per year, put the boot in, accusing the clubs of “appalling selfishness, and a callous disregard for their fans”.
Deal insiders argue that regardless of JP Morgan’s commitment to ESG, the social impact of deals are only on one consideration in serving clients.
And while many of the bank’s own employees will be breathing a sigh of relief as the ESL implodes, it retains strong ties with the clubs involved.
Dimon’s primary responsibility is to his shareholders. And although JP Morgan’s association with the ESL may have blotted its copy book with some, its shares have been largely unaffected by the backlash. Meanwhile the share prices of Manchester United and Juventus have see-sawed.
“Shareholder value can be built only if you maintain a healthy and vibrant company, which means doing a good job taking care of your customers, employees and communities,” Dimon told investors a few weeks ago. “How can you have a healthy company if you neglect any of these stakeholders?”
The fans who normally fill Manchester United’s Stretford End or Liverpool’s Kop may ask the same question.