Thursday, April 26, 2012

Time To Can It

I found myself wondering today whether the PST's commissioner and CEO, Joseph M. McManus, may have adult-onset oppositional defiant disorder. This disability is usually diagnosed in little kids, and its symptoms include hostility and open defiance of authority figures. 

Maybe this McManus dude just got his case later than most? 

The idea of No-Let squash is good; the idea of No-Letting-Up criticism of anyone and everyone in the overall squash community is bad. No one likes to hear a crybaby.

The PST sends out a little weekly squash e-zine that I receive, which has featured a few pointed criticisms of squash luminaries in the past, and the animosity seems to be ratcheting up. Not long ago McManus' e-zine poked fun at Alex Gough, CEO of the Professional Squash Association, belittling his financial smarts. The criticism was harshly delivered, I thought, and the reason was obvious: the PSA's ongoing feud with the PST over letting the former's players play in the latter's events. Concern over financial matters is not a one-way street, however, and after this little diatribe I found myself wondering about the PST's finances. I remember something about offering $100,000 to the first top ten PSA player to bolt and join the PST. But when David Palmer did just that there was no mention of his winning the promised windfall. What's the story with that? And if he didn't get the 100K, what did he get? And what do the players earn at these PST tournaments, anyway? There is never any mention of financial prizes at these events, so out of curiosity, how much do they get? Are there appearance fees given for the stars, and what are they? Which players qualify, and how might other players earn qualification? What do the lower-ranked losers get for their efforts? How sound are the PST's finances? Dunno, but I found myself wishing I had more information. 

Then, more recently, the McManus e-zine thought it would be funny (I guess) to refer to Kevin Klipstein, CEO of US Squash, as "napoleonic" and the association's "little general," apparently in reference to Klipstein's height. While no giant, I've met the man and he doesn't qualify as notably diminutive either. Again, McManus is upset with a CEO in the squash world and has decided to take it out in petty, defiant, bullying ways. Apparently US Squash has some legal action against PST over wording of one of their tournaments. I am actually the one tasked with overseeing copyright legal matters at the publishing house where I work, and believe me, companies everywhere are concerned, often rightly, when another company in their industry starts using, and branding, language similar to their own. I don't know the facts behind this legal skirmish, but wouldn't it have been better to argue this away from the public eye instead of embarrassing yourself and your organization with childish name-calling? 

I don't get it.

Mr. McManus, I think the no-let concept is a good one, but advertising yourself as a crybaby who lashes out at other squash organizations, and the people behind them, does nothing for your product, and may even provoke antipathy towards the PST in general. Focus on your product; it's a good one, make it better! The other stuff: It's time to can it.


  1. the squash e-zine is done by PST???

  2. I like that he speaks his mind.

  3. So you give McManus a hard time for calling someone names and then call him a cry baby with a personality disorder?

    1. Pot calling the kettle black. And, Kevin Klipstein is very short.

  4. McManus is fascinating to me. On FB, it says he is a Chinese educated, MBA grad, who is a member of mensa. No squash pedigree whatsoever. Yet he is the guy driving change in the squash world, upsetting the conventional order and yes often upsetting the old boy network. So , he called a guy Napoleonic. That doesn't seem like the worst thing in the big picture. I just want to see the sport grow and get in the Olympics. Maybe, it's not the most popular guy in the room who can get it done.

  5. So hard to tell who is good and bad. Maybe McM is speaking true thoughts and others are doing bac behind the scenes. Should we hate on a guy because he says what he thinks. Or should we ask why does he think this?

  6. The Squash E-zine is the most enjoyable squash publication. I get it without fail every Wednesday morning. Truth and Rumors is my favorite section. It's edgy and informative. It does occasionally cross the line or at least walk right up to the line. But I would hate for such strong criticism like we see above to cause the E-zine to become watered down or stop entirely.

  7. wondering if the ezine will cover/report/link this article

  8. squash needs controversy. mcmanus and pst are injecting so much into the sport. building interest. making news. testing limits. trying new things. hope he doesn't stop. the sport needs more people like him. and i'll forgive him for the occasionally unnecessarily honest comment. i don't even think he will be upset with this article. my bet is he promotes it to drive commentary

  9. I know Joe Kevin and Alex personally and in my opinion they all have huge amounts to offer. It seems sad that they have themselves embroiled in political infighting instead of combining there energies toward the evolution of our sport - which desperately needs to evolve. With respect: we have brilliant athletes who neither understand nor study the philosophy of the game and consequently try to dominate by sheer force of personality and reputation, referees who don't understand the limited amount that the young players do, Governing bodies who are so focused on politics that they have neglected the de velopment of the fabric of the sport [rules,technology,theory etc] and a coaching fraternity that has almost zero empirical evidence for the ideas that they promote [ie they base most of their teaching on opinion and theory stemming from charisma rather than ideas that will stand up to cold logic and sports science].
    As a community we are tiny and we can't afford infighting. We need to ask ourselves how we can work together to move the ball forward - not blandly with meek acceptance, but with searching empirically provable conclusions which will stand the highest levels of logical and scientific examination.
    Of course some of those that trade on strength of personality without substantive evidence for their claims would be exposed if this ever happened - so expect the strongest resistance to evolution in squash from those that have managed to feather their nest without ever exposing themselves.......

  10. Calling someone Napoleonic is hardly childish. Calling someone a crybaby however...

  11. Is anyone going to mention the finances. Where is all the money sponsors have given going to? .....hmmmm? Just asking.

  12. This might sound ridiculous but I feel like some of the replies above me are actually posted by McManus. haha Most of them sound like they have been posted by the same guy and it definitely has a McManus ring to it.
    But I warned you that I might sound ridiculous but again he has a tendency to do so.

  13. Pretty simple:
    Ask the players how much they get.
    Ask Palmer if he got the $100,000.00

  14. Palmer is a stakeholder in PST. He is an investor. Anybody else find it convenient he received the "bonus?" The truth behind the PST is in the numbers. McManus charges a club 10k to hold an event, pays appearance fees to guys like Palmer, White, El Hindi, and the rest battle over $500. He doesn't publish the prize money for a reason and clearly John White (one of the best exhibition players ever) isn't playing to win $200. McManus has found a way to deliver a better product to club for less money. For 10k, they get 2 superstars and a bunch of nobodies who couldn't hack it on the PSA. David Palmer doesn't show up to 10k PSA events because the winner's % doesn't make it worth his while. You can't fault McManus though. He's noticed that USA squash fans have money and are generally uneducated about the quality of what they're watching. If PSA wants to stop him, they need to invest some money and resources in expanding the number of events they have in the states. Clearly there is a market for it.

    The ezine is a little unprofessional and childish, but you can't say it doesn't get people talking. Hopefully the sport doesn't suffer too much before McManus's money runs out. Maybe this whole thing will bring in a little more interest in the long run.

  15. In response to a couple comments above. I was educated in the U.S., but did study in China as part of an MBA program. Chinese educated would be a dramatic overstatement.

    David Palmer has never invested a dollar in PST. We do have some investors in Pro Squash Tour though.

    We are very open on player purse payouts. Reference our website at Anyone who wants to know what we paid our players in a tournament is able to track our points and know the approximate purse for every tournament. We don't spend time or energy promoting money. We promote our players. If I thought promoting money would bring people to watch the matches, I would do it.

    David and Wael joined the tour mid-season this year. They did play several smaller events because they wanted/needed points to qualify for the PST World Championship tournament. In fact, Wael didn't qualify until our final regular season event. John White needed the Albany Open to get his points because he was unable to compete in the American Open.

    PST purses are specific to money paid to players. We do not artificially inflate our purses with phony housing bonuses, streaming bonuses, food bonuses, hotel bonuses, court bonuses, or give money to players and take it back with player levies or tour registration fees. I wish we paid our players more. But we are honest about what we pay them.

    Our fees for a tournament are substantially less than $10k. Our sanctioning fee for a tournament is $500. A club can run their own event and then choose the purse. To date, clubs have chosen to bring our staff on site to manage event logistics.

    We have a textured marketing plan that utilizes several media platforms. Our general media stories are designed to introduce fans to the sport and are informational. We have a similar approach on our website, facebook and other social platforms. The Squash E-zine is designed for insiders who want more of the back story. And yes, of course, it is designed and written to provoke dialogue.

    Although we control the content of the E-zine, we discuss other tours and leagues. We cover the CSA, some junior events, the PSA, WSA, and ISDA tours. If it's interesting to us, we'll write about it. And we closely monitor which parts of the E-zine receive clicks. If fans read about certain stories more than others, we increase coverage of that type of story. Fewer clicks result in fewer stories on that subject in the future.

    Joe McManus
    Pro Squash Tour

  16. For the record, this blog was indeed referenced on the PST e-zine, proving that while McManus can dish it out he can also take it, and indeed do so through his own media. So I have to hand it to him for that. Again, the point of my blog was not to question the concept, just its execution....


Sorry, but due to increasing spam, I've added the Word Verification step. My policy on comments is anything goes, as long as it is about squash and as long as it isn't unnecessarily nasty....