United fans blue amid green and gold campaign

MANCHESTER - Manchester United fans are confused, upset, depressed and angry about the American owners of the club yet, despite the 'green and gold campaign', the overwhelming feeling is one of impotency.

The campaign - in the colours of the Premier League club's forerunners Newton Heath - is certainly eye-catching.

It reached a new level when David Beckham donned a green and gold scarf as he left the pitch after United beat his visiting AC Milan team 4-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Whether it will have any influence on the Glazer family, the Americans who have repeatedly said they have no intention of selling the English champions, appears highly unlikely.

Other tactics, such as a mass late arrival for matches and non-renewal of season tickets, are similar pea-shooter efforts against armour-plated owners who the fans claim have made season ticket prices so high that the waiting list has shrunk.

The result is that the followers of the best-supported club in England, and arguably the world, are left without much hope.

A drowning man will clutch at any straw but are the so-called 'Red Knights' the answer?


A loose affiliation of about 40 rich men with an interest in running United, but with probably as many varying views on how best to do so, appears a recipe for more confusion.

"If you've come here looking for answers, or expect me to tell you what to do, then I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place," read a long, sometimes emotional, editorial in the club's independent fanzine "Red News" this week.

Desperate to escape the Glazers but wary of jumping into bed with a new set of suited financiers, the 23-year-old magazine's editorial line was one of confused fear - "Who are these people, what are their plans, is it a pipe dream?

"What makes us so sure they would create this Utopian United many Reds seek and not exploit any desperation we have to get rid of the Glazers just to create an alternative ownership model that is not ideal, just not as bad?"

The letters page of Red News, local papers and the radio phone-ins are dominated by the subject of the Glazers, the debt and what, if anything, the ordinary fan can do.

"If I give up my season ticket, the most important thing in my life, and nothing changes I'd feel betrayed and devastated," wrote one fan.

"I've supported United for 40 years through thick and thin, why should I punish myself because of something these absent Americans have done?", wrote another.


On the streets of Manchester, among United fans at least, the seemingly unanimous view is that nobody understands how one of the world's richest clubs can almost overnight become more than 700 million pounds in debt.

Even if the Glazers decided to sell the club a lot of fans are not quite sure who or what should replace them.

"The whole thing should never have been allowed to happen," said newspaper vendor and 'lifelong fan' Stan Rooney - no relation to the club's prolific striker Wayne.

"They're killing this club and nobody in the Premier League or the FA or UEFA cares."

It was not so long ago that United fans were queuing up to complain about their Plc owners, before the Glazer takeover.

Prior to that former chairman Martin Edwards was being criticised for the way he ran the club and his blocked attempt to sell it to Rupert Murdoch's Sky organisation.

For many non-United fans the uproar sounds rather hollow.

"United have been courting financiers for years," said Birmingham City fan Brian O'Leary. "They've set themselves up as the so-called 'world's richest club' and they think they have a divine right to the biggest slice of TV money.

"But I don't remember their fans showing too much concern when small clubs up and down the country were going into administration."