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Life President
May 29, 2005
I’m not a Manchester United fan. When Freddy Eastwood dispatched a venomous 25-yard free kick past Tomasz Kuszczack in the Carling Cup, I was as ecstatic as every other Southend supporter crammed into Roots Hall. I do, however, own a green and gold scarf.

Supporters are funny groups of people. One minute, they can be great, warring factions deserving of a place in a Shakespearian love story, whereas the second a threat rears its ugly head the division and rivalry is forgotten, uniting to conquer the foe.

The Love United, Hate Glazer campaign has been simmering in the background for a few months now, ready to boil over despite what is amounting to a successful season for the reigning champions.

Ever since Malcolm Glazer and his hostile, leveraged-debt ridden takeover bid wrestled ownership of the club there have been a steady stream of support groups and protests and rightfully so. In a second, United went from being a financially secure fortress to a club crippled by an enormous debt and the interest accrued.

Such is the calibre of the squad that Sir Alex Ferguson has assembled and, in fairness, the ageing talents at Chelsea and the equally tumultuous ownership at Liverpool, the problems at Old Trafford have been glossed over by a concession of trophies. It’s not the present that the Manchester United Supporters Trust are worried about, though, it’s the future...

By obtaining over 100,000 members, MUST contacted the so called ‘Red Knights’, fronted by football finance expert Keith Harris, in order to launch the strongest campaign yet to oust the Glazers from the club. Although no official bid has yet been received, the American Owners have reiterated their stance that the club is not for sale. They might have been able to dispel some of the supporters with a bond £500m bond issue that helped them restructure the debt, but even the most ardent supporter would struggle to cast that in a positive manner.

It’s something that their deadliest rivals are all too familiar with. Liverpool have struggled immensely under the stewardship of Hicks and Gillette, the pair rarely seen within talking distance of each other. Another debt-ridden takeover that has had a disastrous effect on the finances of the club, with the team directly suffering at the hands of penny-pinching.

To see the two biggest clubs in English football suffer so at the hands of meddling businessmen is a damning indictment of the commercial aspect of football today. The blind and almost tribal faith of supporters is so easily exploited with extortionate ticket prices and exhaustive amounts of merchandise; it was only a matter of time until foreign markets saw the money-making potential.

So, when such a threat is posed, a threat that all football fans can relate to, it is drastically important that supporters group together. At the cost of just £5, a green and gold scarf might not seem the most potent of anti-establishment weapons. The message it sends, however, is one that will reverberate around the vacant, Tampa mansions of the Glazer family.

I don’t support Manchester United, but this is a cause every football supporter should get behind.