At the joint MUST/IMUSA meeting last month various ideas were discussed as to what we could do to get rid of the Glazers. Boycotting was a popular idea, with some fans suggesting that nobody should show up for the AC Milan game. The obvious problem with this is that the 56,000+ season ticket holders have already parted with their money for this game, as part of the automatic cup scheme.
It was also argued that over 30,000 people had already chosen not to renew their season ticket since 2005 but that isn’t reflected in the weekly attendances. Whilst there are some games where attendance is lower than expected, this is a trend seen around the country, with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Villa and Spurs amongst the majority of clubs who are suffering from lower gate numbers this season compared to last, which may be explained by the recession.
Keith Harris, the former Football League chairman and man behind a proposed £1billion buy-out of United, has argued that the way to get the Glazers out is to boycott the games. Whilst I’m not going to start preaching as to whether I think an individual should or shouldn’t attend matches anymore, that is up to them, I can say that based on the evidence we’ve seen so far, failing to renew your season ticket will not have any financial impact on the Glazers. It simply means you don’t get to go to games and usually some knob head, who doesn’t love the club half as much as you, will fill your seat. But the seat will be filled, just as the 30,000 people who gave up their season tickets before you have seen their seats filled.
To send out a strong message, just like the green and gold campaign has done, it was suggested that fans missed the first ten minutes of the AC Milan game, but Harris isn’t impressed.
“Turning up to games 10 minutes late and things like that just doesn’t do the job,” Harris said. “The green and gold protest is fabulous, a symbolic and significant message to the owners. It is like the white handkerchiefs in Spain. But that won’t force the Glazers to sell to us. However, if enough people – and I am talking about thousands – stop turning up to matches and do not renew their tickets, then that does it. The supporters have to hurt the Glazers in their pockets. They have to be prepared to take the pain of not watching their club in order to achieve a long-term gain. Supporters have to be galvanised to say, ‘We will not come. We will not buy programmes and merchandise’.”
You do have to wonder if Harris is motivated by lowering the price for his clients as much as he trying to get the Glazers out of the club.
Still, this is a positive sign that the future of our club may well be put in to the hands of people who have our best interests at heart.
“I would not talk about this if I didn’t have full confidence in our ability to raise the money to do this,” he continued. “I never talk publicly unless I have confidence. Getting the money together is the easy bit. But we can’t make an offer until the Glazers are placed in a position where they are forced to consider it.”
Go without a pint during the game, resist buying a programme, don’t invest in the latest strip and we can see how much of an effect this has. Being an irritant to the Glazers is maybe the best approach we can adopt, with them sooner or later getting tired of the battle and finding a more compliant “franchise” to put their money in to.
Then Harris can get his lads in and we can expect price reductions/freezes so all our fans can return, right? We shall see…