Sunday, February 07, 2010

Manchester United fans to boycott season tickets as anti-Glazer green-and-gold campaign grows

Source: Mail on Sunday

By Joe Bernstein
Last updated at 10:52 AM on 07th February 2010

Manchester United fans are planning a boycott of season tickets in the summer to try to force the Glazer family out of Old Trafford.

Thousands of supporters hope hitting the owners in the pocket will persuade them to leave after putting the club more than £700million in debt.

The anti-Glazer campaign has already attracted wide publicity, with fans wearing the original green-and-gold worn when the club was founded as Newton Heath in 1878.

It was stepped up yesterday when the Manchester United Supporters Trust distributed 70,000 cards to fans in a recruiting drive on the 52nd anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, and five years to the day the Glazers first tabled a bid to buy the club.
Manchester United

Sign language: Manchester United fans make their feelings known

A protest that denied the Glazers much-needed revenue could have a serious impact on the financial running of the club and the future of Sir Alex Ferguson.

United have already seen season-ticket sales fall from 65,000 to 58,000 this season due to the economic climate and they can ill-afford any further downturn.

Last month, the Glazers had to raise £500m in a bond issue to help repay hedge fund loans they took to buy the club. Fans were alarmed that the bond prospectus allowed the Glazers to transfer £127m into their parent company in the first year.

And there is concern only a small part of the worldrecord £80m transfer received for Cristiano Ronaldo last summer has been invested in new players.

Having previously been staunchly supportive of the Americans, Ferguson has expressed sympathy with protestors in his recent programme notes.
The Glazers at the Emirates Stadium for the Arsenal v Manchester United semi final 2nd leg Champions league match.

Under fire: The Glazers at the Emirates Stadium for United's game against Arsenal

FC United general manager Andy Walsh, who was vilified by many Old Trafford fans when the breakaway club was formed in 2005 as a protest against the Glazer takeover, has said he is aware of major protests being planned by United supporters’ groups.

He said: ‘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.

‘We’ve had many people apologising to us. 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.’