From the moment it was announced, I was sceptical of the whole ‘Bring Ronaldo Home’ movement.
Not only did it not make sense (even with their feeble attempts to explain it) but it felt small time and whilst I couldn’t care less, left United fans open to the ridicule of opposing fans.
I was astounded that fans would flock to hand over cash to fund such a scheme (5236 at time of writing), so when various people attempted to get to the bottom of said scheme I was interested in their findings.
Sporting Witness‘ attempt to engage the people behind it were met with silence but their insight makes for intriguing reading, especially the part that says that if the whole thing falls flat on it’s face you wont get your £10 back instead a sum determined by the people behind the whole farce.
Red Flag Flying High‘s Justin also attempted to engage the group but after he began probing further, the responses dried up. Justin carried on his investigation though and contacted both the WWF and Save The Children who’s logos appear on the site. Apparently they are unsure about the campaign themselves because both said they would be looking into it! After a month of silence they finally got back to Justin, their answer was more about nothing as they simply directed him to a page on their obscure site.
Fulltime Devils finally managed to nail down one of the people behind the campaign, conducting a brief interview. Whilst a fair bit of it was schtick, the serious parts exposed quite a bit about the ‘United fans’ looking to bring Ronnie home:
Firstly Mr. Dent is as vague and ambiguous as his website is, he mentions the administration fees that many people have questioned but doesn’t actually clarify and then openly admits that as an internet entrepreneur his main concern with the whole debacle is the collection of data and learning of the demographics of fans and where the pledges are coming from.
I may be just an editor of a website, but I know enough to understand that collection of data is usually done with the goal of making money, knowing your target audience. I, like many others, thought the whole thing was about getting Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, but this statement proves that essentially the thing is setting out to do the exact thing sceptics have claimed, line the pockets of those behind it!
Today’s statement from the club is welcome news, hopefully putting to the whole thing to bed (strangely despite the club’s stance people are still pledging?!). Now comes the moment of truth, how much money will the people that pledged get back? Because if the club have distanced themselves from it, the scheme is more or less dead in the water, never mind the fact Ronaldo’s buyout clause is €1bn.
As it stands Dent and his band of merry men are set to make at least £15k from their 5 week scheme if their talk of admin fees and Paypal fees are true, a nice little earner for selling a few gullible United fans dreams if I do say so myself.
So if you have designs of pledging money, don’t waste your time or instead you could put it to a good cause and fund my boozed up trek to Las Vegas that may or may not actually happen (admin and Paypal fees apply to any potential refunds if Chudi does not in fact make the trip).
UPDATE: Save The Children have been in contact with Justin and have now demanded that their logo be removed from the website. So the question remains, how did it actually get on there with the charity’s consent?