Contro il calcio moderno

Anyone who has followed English football closely in recent years will have nodded along grimly with last night's Panorama [available on iPlayer for the next 12 months, it seems], which examined the game's worrying reliance on debt. There was little that was new but a few nuggets made the programme worth watching. Reporter John Sweeney focused on Manchester United and the debts loaded onto it by the Glazer family. He explored the Glazer's finances and raised questions about levels of debt across their business empire.

It wasn't surprising that the Glazers and Manchester United refused to speak to Panorama but I was surprised that the FA, the Premier League and the new sports minister all declined to be interviewed. It's a measure of how seriously the football authorities take the problem that they couldn't be bothered to provide a talking head, even to argue that everything is fine.

It was hard, though, to muster much sympathy for the aggrieved Manchester United fans who popped up throughout the programme. Having hoovered up trophy after trophy as the Premier League's Big Four carved up English football among themselves, they're now realising that there's a bill to pay for their gluttony. Sorry lads, that's modern football and it's the monster you have spent 20 years creating.

Club after club has gone to the wall over the last two decades (with surprisingly little protest from Manchester United fans) and football's finances have not yet been reformed. Perhaps nothing will happen until a big club goes under. In that sense at least, Manchester United has my full support.