Taking the mantra of the much-mocked “green and yellow scarf brigade” a step further, the Independent Manchester United Supporters’ Association (IMUSA) have called upon Old Trafford regulars to cease renewal of their season tickets at the end of this campaign in order to demonstrate their opposition to the continued ownership of the club by the Glazer family. In addition to this, the group have advised fans to “buy as little as possible in the ground”. Effectively urging a visible form of strike at Old Trafford, IMUSA believe that such a display of collective mutiny will starve the Glazers of their cash flow. Despite the unprecedented level of success at Old Trafford since the Glazers began their association with the club, supporters this season have lambasted their owners’ use of Manchester United as a vehicle for personal profit whilst leaving the club £700m in debt. Although the principle behind this latest form of proposed fan-action is admirable, it is questionable whether its aims will meets its objectives; will a few thousand season-ticket holders refusing to renew their seat really act to the detriment of the Glazer family?
Despite the fact that carrying out their plan of action will also serve to damage the club as well as its owners, IMUSA believe its aims are integral to the ousting of the Glazer family from Old Trafford. In a statement on their website, the organisation asserts that “There are many who have gone down this route already and many more who plan to do the same. We all know that hundreds of millions are going out of the club in interest payments … We can stop them doing this but only if we starve them of cash.”
A recent poll of United supporters revealed that 59% of season-ticket holders would seriously consider giving them up in order to show their support for the cause. Long gone are the days when an Old Trafford season ticket was a highly sought-after commodity, with many tickets being sold on general sale. Up until recently, both of these ticketing scenarios would have been unheard of at the club, thus indicating that the campaign has received a high level of support in a very short period of time.
On the other hand, it seems unlikely that a few thousand supporters deciding to watch the club’s games from the comfort of their armchair will seriously facilitate the departure of the American family. Manchester United were recently named as the most valuable club in the world by Forbes Magazine, being valued at £1.19billion. Factor this in with the fact that they are the best-supported team in England, and it is clear that the club have incredible pulling power. In spite of IMUSA’s claims, it is highly probable that there are plenty of fans who would be willing to snap up the soon-to-be-vacated season ticket seats at Old Trafford. Although the rise of “green and yellow scarf brigade” has demonstrated a growing uneasiness at the Glazers’ ownership of the club, refusing to watch the club’s games would be a massive step that many fans would be unwilling to make. As such, it appears unlikely that IMUSA will be able to galvanise the level of support required to seriously threaten the Glazers’ reign.
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