Thursday, October 20, 2005

Seeing red in England - Manchester United fans' message to Glazers is still clear

Source: Edited from: NY Daily News

Part of the campaign is against modern corporate sport itself. European soccer fans have had the same complaints as many American sports fans: ticket prices are too high, the crowds are too corporate, the athletes too aloof.

"It's not like it used to be, people singing the entire 90 minutes," Bones says.

Some fans have responded by establishing their own clubs. FC United of Manchester, for instance, started playing this summer in a league the equivalent of low Single-A baseball, with donors kicking in the startup costs and more than 1,000 players coming to a tryout. They have drawn as many as 3,000 to some games and will move up to the next division next season if they continue to win.

"FC United came about partly in response to Glazer, but also because of the disassociation of modern football," Houston says. "I've been to a few, and yes, people are reconnecting. They can stand up, drink, smoke, swear, whatever. It's less about the football on the pitch. It's not just trophies and silverware, it's all the people singing at the same time the whole match."

It's a tough tradeoff for some. They don't want the Glazers to succeed, and they don't want Man U. to fail. They want to enjoy the familial, affordable atmosphere of the FC United games, but when they want to watch the best players in the world they turn on the television or watch at a pub.