Smirking From Home

Turning ideas into words.

A United Front

It’s ironic, in our current recessionary times, to know of at least 100,000 individuals who are wholeheartedly throwing their support behind a group of wealthy financiers and hedge fund directors. A small lump catches in the throat writing that sentence as I have previously tended to favour the public lynching approach when it comes to bankers. However, I’m not scribbling today about how they and their ilk have unapologetically knackered our lives for at least the next 10 years. We all have enough to think and worry about on that front. Today’s concern is about collective action in pursuit of a common goal and the case in point is Manchester United.
 
With full colours nailed firmly to the mast I’ll readily admit to being a Red of the devilish kind. United inspire devotion and loathing in equal measure. Recent years of phenomenal success have exacerbated that fact, which makes for many a lively conversation across dinner-tables and in workplaces the whole country over. The major question is though: could that loyalty and enmity come together with the aim saving the bleeding soul of English Football? It’s extremely unlikely but there are times when tribal feuding needs to be put aside to vanquish the foreign invader. It’s unfortunate that the blinkered attitude of many rival football fans will probably prevent such a groundswell of protest and action ever producing tangible results. Yet something has to be done and this week I offered my support to a group who are at least attempting to lead the revolution.
 
The Manchester United Supporter’s Trust (MUST) are openly recruiting fans, home and abroad, to sign up to their campaign to force the Glazer Family from their ownership of the team. IT’s common knowledge, that by buying the club in 2005, the Glazer’s have currently loaded over £700 million of debt onto Manchester United, a figure that will continue to rise. The potential ramifications are huge, of that there’s no doubt. Luckily, MUFC are a highly profitable sports brand and as such are currently buffeted against immediate financial collapse. IN the current economic climate nothing is certain and that’s the major concern. Vast sums of money are leaving the club, which ultimately will be detrimental to the team and the club’s legacy. There are many out there who would relish the collapse of United. Whilst I may be naive in thinking that this could solely be limited to affairs on the football pitch, it would be churlish for any opposing fan to wish for the total destruction of one of their most hated rivals. As a United fan I derive constant amusement at the obligatory “this is our year” jabberings from the Scousers every August but I could never countenance them disappearing down a financial black hole, a perilous situation which they also face. That’s a no-win situation for all fans of the beautiful game.
 
So on Wednesday I signed up to the MUST website and offered my support to the campaign. The process was relatively simple although I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed by the quality and functionality of the site. I imagine that their incoming web traffic must be causing some technical issues so I can understand any problems they may be experiencing. The main aim however to generate interest in the idea that through pressure and ultimately, financial backing, the Glazer’s can be returned to Florida, tails between their legs. The irony of this being, is if they do, they’ll be returning even wealthier, possibly through selling the club to the Red Knights. Whether the whole plan is feasible, plausible or credible is irrelevant at this point in time. The main fact is that enough fans of united come together to show their support for the initiative. Yes, United is a cash cow, and will be for any investor but surely it’s better for the supporters and the club that the investor’s are (a) well known as fans of United and (b) will not have the club as debt laden as it presently is. Is the grass greener on the other side? Well, I’d like the chance to find out.
 
An interesting sideshow to all this is happening in Liverpool. The Spirit of Shankly group is trying to force their own Yankee Doodles out of their club as well. I wish them luck although I was disheartened by the following comments made by their spokesman, Jay McKenna, with regards to mutual co-operation between the two organisations in respect to their campaigns. 
 
Angry as the group is though, there is little chance of them linking up with Manchester United fans, many of whom are equally incensed by the American ownership at their own club, when the two bitter rivals face each other at Old Trafford on March 21.

“It is a complete non-starter,” McKenna added.

“The idea that Liverpool and Manchester United fans will walk down the same road together is never going to happen.”  

 
Whilst I can understand the mutual loathing between the two sets of fans, surely the greater interest of both parties should take preference. The idea of two bitter rivals sharing a platform towards a common goal could only send a clear defiant message to the powers that be. Stranger things have happened although the police may have something to say about the feasibility of such a congregation.
 
Let’s just wait to see how things pan out over the coming weeks and months. 
 
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March 5, 2010 - Posted by | Sport | ,

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