Manchester United chief executive David Gill has promised that Sir Alex Ferguson will have money to spend on transfers this summer despite fears over the amount of debt the Glazer family has built up at Old Trafford.
This of course is great news for the Red Devil’s fans, but is it a coincidence that this promise of a healthy transfer budget comes during the same week as calls for supporters to boycott season tickets in an attempt to hit their American owners where it hurts most, their pockets?
Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez have already agreed deals to join the reigning Premier League champions, but many fans would have felt the manager would have been working with a reduced transfer budget for next term because of the debt run up by the hierarchy at the club.
About the pledge to provide Sir Alex with sufficient funds Gill said: “I can look you in the eye and tell you straight that we have the transfer funds available to the manager.
“Targets have been discussed already, but it’s not our style to talk about names and it never will be.”
The transfer pledge came shortly after last week’s events when the Independent Manchester United Supporters’ Association wrote to United’s fans urging them to boycott the Glazers by not renewing their season tickets for next season, in a show of collective fan mutiny. According to the Guardian a recent poll suggested that 59% of their fans would consider giving up their season tickets.
However, the club claims it has a hefty waiting list for season tickets and will probably be able to replace the holders that they may have lost. But this is not the point, the supporters are unhappy with their owners and they are entitled to express their dissatisfaction with the current regime. Many of the Old Trafford faithful wear green-and-gold scarves (which have been much mocked by their rival fans because of their resemblance to Norwich’s colours) in a show of hatred towards their American owners.
But the Manchester United chief executive is unmoved by the green-and-gold movement and believes it has not affected the players or club this term.
Speaking to the Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association magazine he said: “I’ve asked the players and they say they are not distracted.
“But if your question is ‘Would I prefer all red and white instead of gold and green when you have a full stadium and are playing host to famous opposition?’, of course I would.”
Although we mock the scarves the reason is rather admirable as many of the club’s fans have become united over the issue, but I didn’t hear too much complaining during their last three title victories and a Champions League win against Chelsea in May 2008. I’m not accusing the movement to usurp the owners of being a fickle one, but many of the fans seem to be from an outsider’s point of view as the flare up has come during a disappointing campaign in which they are currently second and the weakening of the squad following the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo (whose sale just about kept United in the black) to Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez to bitter rivals and neighbours Manchester City.
It seems as though it will be an interesting summer at Old Trafford as it would for many clubs and it seems like the ownership issue will rumble on and on.
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