Last week it was reported that Manchester United fans are planning to boycott buying season tickets, in a bid to finally drive the Glazer family out of Old Trafford. United fans hope that hitting the Glazers’ hard financially will force the American’s out, who have racked up an estimated £700 million worth of debt since they took over the club.
The powerful yet peaceful anti-Glazer protests in recent weeks, which have seen fans wear yellow and green scarves to signify Newton Heath (the name of the club when founded in 1878), combined with the Manchester United Supporters Trust issuing 70,000 cards that encourage fans to boycott the Glazers.
FC United, who were created in the wake of the Glazers takeover in 2005 have stepped in on the debate. Manager Andy Walsh has told the Daily Mail:
“It is only now, after the true state was laid bare in the prospectus to raise the £500m bond, that the fans have taken the veil from their eyes. There is a plan to step up the campaign and hitting the Glazers in the pocket as the next phase.
The green and gold campaign has focused people’s attention but there is an understanding it won’t work on its own. A boycott will hit the Glazers because their business plan relied on them cranking up ticket prices and extracting more cash from supporters.”
United have already seen their season ticket sales decrease this year because of the financial climate, selling only 58,000 compared to the previous year’s total of 65,000, and fans are hoping that a further decrease next season will show the owners how much they are vilified by the supporters.
Last month, there was controversy surrounding the bond issue where the Glazers had to raise £500 million to pay back hedge fund loans taken out when they bought the club. The lack of money spent last summer also angered fans, as from the £80 million they received from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo, only a quarter of that money was spent bringing in Antonio Valencia from Wigan and Gabriel Obertan from Bordeaux. The general perception is that the Glazers are constantly taking money out of the club, and rarely putting anything back in. Sir Alex Ferguson has even sided with the fans, expressing sympathy with protesters in recent programme notes.
Even though you can commend the supporters efforts’ to drive out the Glazers, the season ticket issue is not the way to do it. Yes, it will hurt the Glazers financially, but the huge waiting list of people wanting season tickets at Old Trafford mean that even if disgruntled fans refuse to go to the games, there will be another set of supporters that would gladly replace them and effectively turn a blind eye to events occurring in the boardroom. I agree that the Glazers are making a mess at Old Trafford and should leave, but fans will have to find other ways of making their opinions heard.
What do you think? Will the boycotting of season tickets make the Glazers take notice?
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