Manchester United are doing what they seem to do every season, become increasingly awe inspiringly good as we enter a new year. Wayne Rooney has been in the form of his life and on the pitch things are looking increasingly rosy for United. With Chelsea’s surprise knock out of the Champions League their quest for further European glory is looking more likely. Yet off the field the Glazers are coming under increasing pressure to leave the club over its debts. Whilst I do not wish to go into the ins and outs of the well publicised debt, the Glazers are facing a backlash despite fantastic performances by the team.
Only last week the campaign received a boost from Old Trafford Legend David Beckham. He donned one of the Green and Gold scarfs after Manchester United defeated Milan in the Champions League last 16. Old Trafford is now awash with the colour and it does send a powerful message to the Glazer’s. Though I believe this campaign can influence some of the decisions made at board room level. Its effectiveness in terms of new ownership and more fan involvement is probably misplaced.
The problem is Manchester United is such a massive corporate business now. Its turnover exceeds £300 million a year and the club survives by its huge business connections all over the world. As much as Manchester United fans don’t like it, the club is a cash cow to investors. The Glazers have saddled the club with huge debts but they are not football fans, they are running it as a business.
David Gill earlier this month defended the Glazers in statement ‘The Glazer’s don’t want to sell; they have no wish to sell. You have many owners who come in and try to pick the team, be very visible and they have taken the view they are not there to do that.’
The refusal to sell is in reply to the so called ‘Red Knights’ group who I find a bit of a joke to be honest. The name itself is a PR attempt to gain support from the Green and Gold campaign. The fifty or so members we are told it involves who are ‘concerned’ Manchester United fans are men with money who want to own a football club and make more money. Furthermore how can fifty people run a football club? Especially the one the size of Manchester United. The whole thing stinks to me.
I think the campaign is admirable but I would stay away from the ‘Red Knights’. They most likely will ride the crest of the wave of support from anti-Glazer enthusiasts to get into Old Trafford. Then shut the fans out of any involvement of running of the club the Green and Gold campaign may aspire to.
The Glazer’s debt on the club is of a worry. The good years have enabled the debt to be serviced. Manchester United fans worry of leaner years where maybe an early Champions League exit occurs could force the club into financial meltdown are with strong merit. Though I would warn off the support of the Red Knights and lean towards an influencing of the Glazer’s business model which with continued momentum could occur. If the Glazer’s don’t want to sell, then they don’t have to.
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