English football is in the thick of it.
The thickest, most horrible, urine soaked and disgusting mess you could think of. And all of this…with the Premier League at the height of its powers. More money than you could shake a stick at. But with a fit and proper owners test that is neither fit or proper, our Football Association has allowed a pollution to occur. It’s like watching a ship of oil, damaged and leaking into the deepest ocean…and turning your back on this to enjoy the scenery of the land.
The IPO is the first huge step forward for the asset stripping of Manchester United by the Glazers and their brood of merry men. The fans are helpless. On the south coast the name of Portsmouth football club is about to dissolve into liquid and trickle into the drain. Go north of the border, and one of the biggest clubs in the world have been embarrassed by pathetic ownership and a lack of ethics. But between those two clubs….is us.
We tried in vain with the Green and Gold. And that just turned into a great little enterprise for those selling the clobber. Fans on their yearly trip to Old Trafford now buy them with their Chicharito sombrero and their matchday programmes. I fully supported the G&G when it was launched…but mainly because I thought it would be the start of a tactical plan to protest and fight against the Glazers. But it was ultimately hollow. MUST didn’t give the leadership I had hoped. The emails they send out just frustrate and annoy me now.
As I said in my last article on this site, it feels like we are at a crossroads. It is time for action again. But lets not kid ourselves. Simply marching around Manchester, looking menacing and tribal wont get us anywhere. This is a political struggle (yep I hate politics as well!) not a football one. This struggle must be one that not only frees United from its own tyranny…but reshapes the business of football in this country. One that allows the commercial activities of clubs to support themselves, and not be reliant on a billionaire playboy or the credit of their debts.
So what can we do?
Well the next tactics lie in 1959. When one famous man was inspired by another.
We all know about Martin Luther King. We all know about Gandhi. We know that both achieved the impossible. And they achieved the impossible through tactical protest and reshaped the landscape created by their detractors.
Here me out now. Dont stop reading here.
In 1959 King went to India. Profoundly effected by the methods Gandhi had used to facilitate change King said “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”
King learned that the unbreakable…was breakable. And you didn’t need a stone in your hand, or a gun in your pocket…to force the hand of those that held the key. Now without giving a lesson on American history we know what King achieved. But can we apply this philosophy to us and Manchester United?
The Die Glazer Die brigade have let us know their thoughts. Many have left the club and formed the brilliant FCUM (not for me, but a great idea non the less) Many preach and tell you to throw your season ticket in the bin, whilst showing your militancy. I understand the anger that fuels this. We all feel that anger. But the next move of the supporters of this club must be SMARTER. Intelligence is the key.
The grand truth is that many United fans can’t be arsed. Football is a pasttime. You do it on the weekend. You sing some songs. You drink some beer. But there are many United fans around the world who don’t conform to this truth. It is these people we need to co-ordinate. It is these people who will save Manchester United.
Much of Martin Luther King’s co-ordinated protests were highly strategic and had meticulous planning. But they appeared simple in execution. And it is simplicity that has the biggest effect. Remember…this was all pre internet! Co-ordination now is much easier. A bunch of kids were able to use BBM and organise riots on a huge scale last year! Could we not use similar means to organise a more peaceful and strategic battle?
I totally understand this all sounds a bit OTT. But we are desperate. We have to look outside of the usual football box. Vision is needed.
King said “The purpose of … direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation”
So ripping up your season ticket will do nothing. But what if you kept that ticket…and made sure that seat remained empty?
Well on one hand the Glazers still get their money from your ticket purchase. But what they lose is much more damaging. The Glazer United model is built on partnerships. Companies want to associate themselves with our brand. If we bought our tickets, but on match day sat outside Old Trafford…our seats empty like a busy day at the Eithad…singing protest songs while the TV pictures showed Chevrolet and DHL that their companies are associated with a broken club…one where the fans bought the tickets but didn’t look at their advertising…do you think they would hang around?
The organising behind this is massive. It would also include merchandise boycotting. Rallying from supporters clubs in every country. We would utilise news agencies. We would make the world listen. And we would force the Glazers business model to be compromised. It would take a long time, but lets face it…until this IPO news broke, the objection to the ownership had become weak and tepid.
Manchester United doesn’t belong to the fans. But football is nothing without us. The football family will unite behind us if it is a template for other clubs to save themselves. Would Portsmouth fans like this template if it had saved them? Yes…and they are not the only ones. Football wont escape capitalism. But capitalism isn’t really the issue here. The issue is having a solid structure that allows football to look after itself, and not the businesses of the fatcat owners that take our clubs by force. The FA will be forced to act. UEFA and FIFA will listen. And that’s because if we take the attention away from the game…then their partners and sponsors will start to get cold feet
It’s a ripple effect…until it becomes a tidal wave.
The main point of this article is that there is more intelligent ways for us to stop this slow killings of our clubs. There are ways as a fanbase that we can unite and be heard. The internet gives us communication power. Our numbers are unprecedented as a volume of supporters. We all want Man Utd to survive.
And if we don’t do anything about it…Then it is the end.