TRAINING GROUND MOVES
News from Manchester of continuing local opposition to the onward march of Gary Neville’s Barmy Army (subtexts passim ad nauseam). The campaign this time is to protect Turn Moss, a stretch of open green space on the outskirts of Trafford. The Council is backing Gary’s plan to turn this public amenity into the headquarters and training ground for Salford City FC, owned by Gary and his billionaire financial backer Peter Lim.
According to local opposition group Save Turn Moss, this will involve ‘building a new floodlit 3G football pitch with 4.5 meter enclosed fence, building sports changing facilities; the development of a new football training facility including 3 enclosed (fenced off) training pitches for SCFC, goalkeeper training pitch, running mounds, changing/office facility, gym; removing healthy mature trees, drainage, extension of car parking area, highways alterations, erecting bollards at the entrance and other works’. This would then be leased back to Salford City FC, but only after the development costs had been paid for by Trafford council tax payers. Although the plan is for the new facilities to be open for public use, there is considerable scepticism about how much access local residents will be allowed. It has emerged that the new Salford City FC centre will also be the main sports facility for UA92, whose students will have first dibs on use. (Readers may well wonder how all this squares with the noble conservation sentiments expressed by ‘Green Lancaster’ but hey, it’s not on our doorstep).
None of these details were made clear during Trafford Council’s ‘consultation period’, and residents are understandably up in arms about it, catching the attention of local media, including Granada Reports. Nearly 900 objections have been lodged with Trafford Council and it is anticipated that this will reach 1000 by the deadline of 28th March. Organisers hope that the local opposition will cause a re-think by Trafford Council, or at least encourage some discussion about how, as one activist put it, ‘we can get something for people who aren’t Gary Neville or UA92’.
Further information on the plans, the local opposition and the green space under threat can be found at https://saveturnmoss.tumblr.com/
HAIL TO THE FOUNDER
Recruitment firm Anderson Quigley’s search for the ‘Principal and Chief Executive’ for UA92 continues. As revealed in subtext 174, the ideal candidate doesn’t need to have any experience of HE, but being able to provide ‘a disruptive approach to teaching and learning’ is a must. But, needless to say, what will most concern candidates will be the amount of dosh on offer. Perhaps mindful of the public outcry over bloated VC wage packets, Anderson Quigley are somewhat coy about specifying a salary range, which will be agreed with the successful candidate. Other goodies will include ‘a generous holiday allowance, a direct contribution pension scheme, a range of positive lifestyle benefits and perhaps a share scheme’. The recent revelations about VC expenses perks should provide some insight into what ‘positive lifestyle benefits’ will encompass. And a ‘share scheme’ as well!
So far there has been little information on the selection process, apart from the fact that the final decision will be taken by a nine-member panel. Readers will no doubt be intrigued as to how the selection panel will identify the candidate with the most ‘disruptive approach to teaching and learning’. (Candidates could do worse than take a few tips from UUK, who have shown themselves to be the leading experts in this regard). However, it is a very distinguished panel, and includes the VC, the Principal of Trafford College, the CEO of Trafford Council and other Lancaster University senior officers. And top of the list, with the simple but eloquent title of ‘Founder’, is Gary Neville, whose own career as Man Utd and England right-back exemplifies what is meant by a ‘disruptive approach’.
For readers who may be interested in getting a glimpse of those making the shortlist, interviews for the post will take place at the University on 27th April. We’ll let you know when we find out where.
ANOTHER GLORIOUS VICTORY FOR SUBTEXT
In subtext 174, we noted that recruitment firm Anderson Quigley described UA92’s Target Talent Curriculum as being ‘underpinned by 10 principles that prepare UA92 graduates for the workplace’… before going on to list 11 principles. We can now report that, in another glorious victory for subtext, the firm has corrected the error on its website. Eleven was the correct number all along, and the text has been amended accordingly. Which is a relief – the thought of UA92 having to drop ‘survival’ or ‘life skills’ or ‘self and peer group analysis’ from its remit for the sake of clarity just doesn’t bear thinking about.
What is a ‘disruptive approach to teaching’ anyway? We were somewhat glib to suggest that candidates should take tips from UUK, and would like to offer some serious suggestions as to what it might entail.
Candidates who have a ‘disruptive approach to teaching’ may, for example: set off campus fire alarms during peak periods; enter exam halls with an airhorn and casually blast it at random intervals; deliver lectures in a sort of raspy whisper; have open book exams with magic 8-balls instead of textbooks; set group work but in every group there’s a saboteur; set presentations but every time a speaker says ‘ummm’ they get a little electric shock; have everyone come to your lecture but you aren’t actually there and when everyone is seated the doors lock and a voice on a loudspeaker says ‘I’m sorry to have lured you here under false pretenses’; in the middle of a gym session, have an elephant fly out of the score clock with a parachute to see how the students react; set problems which are insoluble due to missing data or logical flaws, then berate students who complain; start every lecture with ‘welcome to logical positivism 101, please leave now if you’re in the wrong room’ (unless you’re teaching logical positivism); respond to all student feedback with ‘I know you are, but what am I?’; arrange for major campus building works during term; set up an electronic attendance monitoring system which doesn’t work and then use up valuable lecturing time logging in students whose phones won’t connect.
We welcome contributions from readers who might have their own ideas on what constitutes a ‘disruptive approach to teaching.’ To the usual address, please.
BAD MARKETING NEWS
Who, really, is UA92 aimed at? A read through the 2019-20 undergraduate prospectus has left subtext none the wiser.
Clearly, UA92 needs to target the local market. Trafford College is a partner institution and it’s easy to imagine UA92 developing as a collaboration à la Lancaster University and Blackpool & The Fylde College. So how will students from Lancashire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester be persuaded by UA92? Well, according to the prospectus, if you come to UA92 then you can ‘do as a real northerner and get stuck into a ‘proper pint’ at a ‘proper pub’ – there are lots of them.’ Erm. Right. Meanwhile, if you like music (from 20 years before you were born), ‘Joy Division, The Smiths and The Stone Roses have all called Trafford their home.’ Quite how this is relevant to today’s applicants is not explained.
How about recruitment from overseas? Given the Class of 92’s much-publicised South East Asian business connections (see subtext 158), careful marketing to China, Malaysia and Singapore will be critical. We wonder, then, what some of Gary & Co’s investors will make of the description of the links between the Class of 92, Lancaster University and Microsoft as the ‘UA92 Golden Triangle’. Let’s look that term up on Wikipedia, shall we? ‘The Golden Triangle is one of Asia’s two main opium-producing areas. It is an area of approximately 950,000 square kilometres that overlaps the mountains of three countries of Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.’ Oh dear.
Come to think of it, the very name ‘UA92’ could have unfortunate connotations in some markets, particularly the USA, where it might be interpreted as a very tasteless pastiche of Flight UA93. Did anyone think of this?
The subtext collective would like to make clear that we aren’t making any of this up. There’re 70 pages of this – UA92-Master-Prospectus-Digital – and we encourage readers to submit their own analysis of UA92’s marketing strategy to the usual address.
IT’S RAINING UA92’S
There’s exciting news for those interested in UA92 Manchester, as detailed information about the project has now been published online. According to the blurb, ‘our academy provides unparalleled opportunities for aspiring professionals to study university degrees in football business, coaching and/or related industries alongside their football training programme, giving them the best chance at a successful career in the beautiful game, whether on or off the pitch.’ Students will be ‘based at our inspiring campus in Manchester’, with direct access to ‘world-class coaches’ including former MUFC assistant manager Mike Phelan, and a number of 100% scholarships available to the best players.
We can see you’re looking a bit confused …
… ah, sorry! Did you think we meant UA92? We were referring to UA92 (see subtexts 171 and 174), the venture backed by Burnley FC director Brendan Flood and his ‘football university college’ UCFB, launched in partnership with Bucks New University: https://www.ucfb.com/programmes/ua-92-manchester/
Whilst we suspect that UCFB’s appropriation of the UA92 name, backed up with several registrations at Companies House as discussed in the last subtext, amounts to little more than gentle trolling on Mr Flood’s part, subtext continues to wonder whether the titans behind Gary Neville University have factored UCFB’s ambitions into their forward planning. UCFB can showcase ready-made facilities at Etihad Stadium and Wembley. Gary and the boys can only respond with artists’ impressions and planning applications. One-nil to the Blues…