Despite the past few seasons, Manchester United remain one of the superpowers of the footballing world. It’s not an exaggeration to say they’re one of the biggest sports organisations worldwide, and it takes a lot to run a club of this size. It takes organization, proper management, technical ability, time, money and true dedication.
Then there’s the Glazers.
A large, vocal number of United fans were against the takeover years ago when it was obvious how much debt the club would have to carry, after years of being debt-free. But the acquisition of shares was imminent and soon, the Glazers were full-time owners of one of the biggest football clubs in the world. Without proper management, and with no solid plan to repay an initial $660 million loan, it always felt like a time-bomb with an uncertain D-Day. Remember, this was a club that was debt free before the Glazer takeover in 2005, and had been that way since 1931!
The damage the Glazers have done that’s seen on the surface is but a scratch compared to the true horror show they’ve unleashed within the club. United, owned and financially exploited by the Glazer family, and run by Ed Woodward, the former banker who orchestrated their debt-loading takeover, are floundering. Since 2005, the Glazer “Empire” have drained United more than $1,000,000,000 ( A billion dollars for anyone like me, too lazy to count the zeros ), that’s around the amount Sheikh Mansour has invested into our noisy neighbours. At this rate, it’s not far until we’re the ones with that nickname.
Let’s take a look at the entire financing situation in terms of numbers.
2003 – The Glazer family starts purchasing shares in United through the holding company – Red Football and start taking the club private.
2005 – The Glazer Family takes over, decides a debt of £600 million at the rate of £62 mil per year makes an excellent welcome gift.
2010 – Financial Reports show the debt that the debt was in excess of £750 mil i.e over 1 billion USD. There’s clear dissent from the fans, but not a lot could be done. Glazers start issuing bonds to clear some debt.
2012 – Man Utd shares show up on the NY Stock Exchange. Money from this was used to clear about $100 mil in debts.
2015 – New reports that the club now had around 500 million USD in debt and lack of constant CL football was hurting the club.
Now, with widespread awareness of the situation, coupled with access to social media, and the growing frustrations amongst the fans for the last few seasons, we have a promising campaign on the rise. Now you’re probably wondering, what can a hashtag do? Does posting a tweet a day change anything?
The answer – it will, because it’s the Glazers. They value nothing more than brand image and money. We need to hit them where it hurts, their wallets and their pride.
Social media is an extremely powerful tool to start. The massive wave of #GlazersOut tweets in the last month have been an eye-opener to many in the sports world. At its start, in less than half a day, the movement had gathered 85k tweets and was one of the top trending hashtags worldwide on Twitter. The movement was also recognised and reported by some top news outlets such as Talksport, Daily Star and Fox. This is exactly what we needed – visibility. This negative press on the brand will certainly make our voices heard, but will also have a negative impact on the brand’s image and this will certainly effect the Glazers. The state of this club and the feelings of the fans can no longer be a tweet from a single person or just a couple of comments on a Man Utd post. It needs to have a valued voice of its own, and only when the mainstream media reports this will we have an actual impact on reaching out to the people who care so little about this establishment.
We tried in 2005 to stop the takeover, we tried in 2010 to get the Glazers to sell, but they were just setbacks in this struggle. The biggest one, being that United continued to be successful during those periods, so fans gave up trying. What we need is greater reach at this point, a massive takeover of all social media to make sure this is the most prominent issue seen by everyone. What we need is one strong, united voice from all the fans, for United.
When the season starts, and even in the preseason, we need to be vocal about our absolute disappointment in the management, or the lack thereof. Green and Gold, is a perfect place to start. Scarves, shirts, banners, anything of these colours would bring attention to this cause. Only this time we need to keep it consistent, and not just give up like in 2010. On top of that, everyone should avoid buying official merchandise from the club store, or from any other official stores for that matter. If you like this seasons shirt, by all means by one, but buy a replica from a third party seller. They’re not quite as authentic, but they’re about a third of the price and look like the real thing.
We’re well beyond the point when we can sit silent. The debt goes up, while our league position and trophies go down. Every year we see reports saying Utd is one of the richest football clubs, and then we spend a small fraction of that on players, and the ones that we can actually attract are generally priced higher by their club, just cause Utd seem to be paying up.
However, this movement seems hopeful, and for the first time in years, most of the fans seem to agree on the state of the club, and the changes that need to be made.
Here are some resources you can use on social media and banners to get started on the protest against the Glazers.
The #GlazersOut on Twitter – https://twitter.com/search?q=%23GlazersOut&src=tyah
Together, we can do this. We can do a lot more damage than we could anticipate, and it’s up to us, the fans, the ones paying the high ticket and shirt prices, the ones having to sit through disappointing seasons while our rivals soar, the ones who actually care, to make a change. To make a difference. To make an improvement. And we make it now!