TF Chronicles: Divided we stand, United we fall

There can be no doubt that the Glazer family’s reign at Old Trafford has been one of the most controversial in football history. Never has the subject of club ownership come under such intense scrutiny and attention as the Glazer’s residency at the worlds biggest football club. I’m going to avoid quoting various financial facts and figures as you could find dozens of other websites that you can research the debt and financial misgivings for yourself. Instead I want to focus on the effect that the Glazer ownership and the actions of the club and those connected with it has had on United fans.

The facts are simple, United are in debt, debt laden onto the club from the Glazer’s takeover and without these United would be self-sufficient, able to make enough money to support itself and fund the transfer funds for the spending spree that every fan (and maybe even Fergie himself) crave so much. Instead the debt, interest, and personal payments that the Glazer’s take out of the club are restricting how United can operate and compete at the highest level. It’s fair to say that under the current regime United fans are viewed more as consumers than football fans. The ones that spend fortunes in the megastore and in the ground valued more than those you’ll find up by the chippy’s or in the pubs pre-game.

Since their 2005 takeover of Manchester United, the Glazer’s have divided both opinion and the United fans. So where did it all begin? Those that opposed the takeover in 2005 and made a decision to force themselves away from the club that they loved, the club that they followed to show their disgust at the takeover led to the formation of FC United Of Manchester. This at the time the most public statement of opposition to the ‘ getting their hands on United. And whatever your opinion of FC and the reasons behind it, you have to acknowledge the effort made by them and their followers and their achievements (including being in touching distance of the Third Round of the FA Cup).

As time moved on the Glazer’s invested into the team and many fans opposition was placated by a hat trick of Premier League titles, a few domestic cups and one unforgettable night in the Moscow rain when we won the Champions League. But last season (2009 – 2010) saw the anti-Glazer protest movement gather a juggernaut pace. Spurred on by United’s seemingly insurmountable debt and a lack of investment in the team the fans again said ‘enough is enough’. The lack of investment made even more prominent given the eye watering £80 million that United received for Ronaldo from Real Madrid in the summer of 2009. This mobilised the anti-Glazer movement and their protests gathered momentum and support. Many fans who hadn’t opposed in 2005 now joined the varying supporters trusts, web pages, and Facebook groups in their thousands. Then came the most visual and engaging statement of opposition since the creation of FC in 2005. The Green & Gold campaign. Harking back to United’s roots as Newton Heath this evoked a long since dissipated feeling of belonging to United. It was a marketing masterstroke. The 2009-10 season had seen Love United Hate Glazer (LUHG) banners unfurled at Old Trafford, only for those banners and the people in possession of them subjected to over zealous stewarding, but the club couldn’t stop the scarves. And they came. In their thousands. Before the club knew what to do there was a sea of Green & Gold at Old Trafford, and the bank of red that normally dominated was now aglow of Green & Gold. The literal embodiment of the United fans opposition to the Glazer regime right their in their faces, on the TV and in the media.

The Green & Gold campaign hit a particular high point following the Champions League match with AC Milan when one of the most famous footballing faces (and ex United son) David Beckham adorned his neck with a Green & Gold scarf. Score a massive point for the campaign. But as much as the Green & Gold campaign was in force last season it has undoubtedly lost some of the momentum this season (2010 – 2011). And once again we find United fans divided over the Glazers.

Many of the fans who boycotted and made the difficult decision to walk away from something they loved in 2005 looked upon the protests in 2009/10 with a certain amount of disdain. They wondered why those so vocal at the latter protests hadn’t joined them in the boycott of the former protests, and it’s this line of thought that is still visible now. Only those who boycotted at the end of the 2009/10 season now questioning the ideology of those still attending United games. There is no doubt that there are many fans around OT on matchday who don’t understand the protests, that don’t understand the depth of feeling that those who have boycotted have for the club and the anger they have for the ownership and what they’ve done to United. You can see many a fan walking around OT with their club shirt on, clutching a Megastore bag yet have a Green & Gold scarf draped around their neck. A dichotomy in terms in view of many of the protest movement crowd. But it doesn’t stop there. People who have boycotted calling for those that still go to games to follow their lead and disapproving of those that still want to indulge their love for United.

It is true that whilst United remain successful and competitive then the boycotting will never become a major enough issue to force the Glazer’s hand and get them out of United, out of Manchester and out of the UK. There will always be someone willing to take your season ticket whilst United continue to win silverware. But we now find ourselves at a crossroads. United have been distinctly average this season and with the retirement of Van Der Sar, the age of Scholes and Giggs, and the persistant injuries to Hargreaves and Ferdinand, United need major investment in the team now more than ever. We were told that investment in the team was a guarantee made to Rooney that made him withdraw his transfer request (that and the nice little payrise) and the time for the owners to ‘put up or shut up’ is now looming. The club insist that there is money to spend and Sir Alex insists that there is no value in the transfer market. We’ll never know whether that is his true feeling or a pre prepared line given to him in order to avoid telling us what we all fear. That we have no money to spend.

The decline of the Green & Gold campaign has left many wondering what is the next step for the opposition movement, and this remains to be seen. Whatever the next stage is we must ensure that United fans are united in the campaign. Those that have made the decision to boycott and those that haven’t shouldn’t be opposing each other but coming together in their love for the club and their desire to see it support itself, and above anything else give something back to the fans that adore it.

About Steve Ferguson 886 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.


  1. For me as much as I loved seeing Becks adorn the G&G scarf I wish he hadn’t. Sure the picture was everywhere and it was seen to have a big message but did it?
    Nothing changed did it?
    I think the campaign died a bit when people realised even a G&G scarf worn by a former red didn’t even make the Glazers buckle…

    Also have you seen how much stuff in the Megastore now is in G&G colours, The Glazers are cashing in on their own campaign. Quite clever really…

    Still want them out though obviously. Or at least for them to talk to the fans. We deserve better, much better.

  2. I agree Sarah. The G&G campaign reached a crescendo with Becks but it seemingly didn’t cause a ripple. It remains to be seen where we go from here, but I agree that the fans need something back from United. We’re not treated as fans but as sources of income, I don’t think that this is just a problem at United but at least with other clubs they have some sort of way of giving back to their fans. Even City have loyalty programs in place.

  3. great post mate. just a small question, didnt we play AC Milan in the round of 16 last year? the germans came in the quarters

    I mentioned reiginiting the Green and Gold campaign in my post today. have a quick read.

    cheers and Come on United

  4. Yeah we did, I’ll hold my hands up with that one, should have known better I went to both games! Thanks for reading though. I read your blog, Dubai reds in effect eh?!?

  5. a good read.

    although i think the perceived lack of transfer investment isnt wholly accurate.

    my issue with the Glazers is that i’ll go nowhere near the ground/merchandise when i know its paying off their personal debts. I simply cant live with that thought, but that’s just me personally. I’m happy to take the potshots from people saying why lining Martin Edwards’ pockets was any different.
    I think year on year, Ronaldo money apart, theyve bankrolled us really well. Fergie has always had money, and even the Bebe/Hernandez/Smalling/Lindegaard money adds up from the last 12 months. To be honest (and again this is a personal thing) i’d rather we continue to pursue youth and build our own stars, rather than join in the ludicrous Citeh/Chelsea/Liverpool spending sprees. We do NOT want to be a club that does a £35m untried kid (Carroll) or a shot £50m striker.

  6. i know its tiring to see people with megastore bag or wearing the new kit ( with green and gold scarf on! ). i saw many on the telly every home matches.

    we did many campaign about the LUHG here in Indonesia and the result weren’t that good. i tried so hard to tell them what we can do as worldwide fans are stop buying the new kit, stop buying any club’s merchandises, stop going to the Man Utd Bar and Restaurant. and i even quit on buying Inside United, the only magazine here that capable to give me the whole club news.
    We produced our own G&G scarves and sell it to our members.

    but what happened: people still buying the new kit, scarves are out of stock everytime i checked into the Nike stores, i found only me that quitting the Inside United.

    Many of our fans didnt get what the campaign is all about.

  7. Firstly, ,The G&G campaign was never supposed to oust the Glazers. It was about showing our visual disdain of their ownership. MUST took the mantle on after the initial idea and the truth is they made a bit of a hash of it, which was/is disappointing. The Glazers were never going to shift because of fan reaction, but that doesnt mean we shouldnt have done it.
    Secondly, I agree with Mike..i think theyve bankrolled the manager in the correct fashion…but this is also out of necessity because of their investment and brand value. I too am not interested in United spending Torres like money on one individual player when you can get 5 Chicharitos in exchange.
    Personally, I dont think the Glazers are in it for the long haul now. Too much is going on behind the scenes. If the Qatar consortium come up with the right price then they will sell…because cash is now king, not long term investments and has been previous financial prudence. We will all dance a jig the day it happens, but sometimes its better the devil you know than the devil you dont…..but one thing is for sure and that is that MUFC must get rid of this debt. As fans we will have to accept any owner that can relieve us of that. I will continue to go to matches…but i will not buy the kit, the programmes, the food, the megastore tat, etc. This is my own way of dealing with the fact that I cant fully give United and my ticket up. Ive always believed that every little counts towards the cause.

  8. Andreas, good to see that your keeping the fight going in Indonesia. Don’t lose hope.

    Rob, I agree with you there mate. I don’t want to give up my ticket as first and foremost I love going to see United. The investment is an issue though, for every Hernandez we’ve a Bebe, Obertan and Diouf. The team needs 5 or 6 players and although relying on youth would be great to conquer Europe again we need players of proven quality and high calibre.

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