Direct action is not for everyone. And there will have been many fans around the world who have been disappointed not to see Manchester United against Liverpool.
Well, hard. The protest on Sunday lasted 16 years and still came together in just under two weeks. And it turned out that the voices of the fans are still being heard and not swept under the carpet. We can go a weekend without a game.
When the Glazer family took over in 2005, United fans warned of the impending borrowed buyout. Both the football authorities and the government have turned a blind eye.
(Photo by Anthony Devlin / Offside via Getty Images)
United fans have since been ignored by the Glazers and the government until a fortnight ago the owners became embroiled in a cartel group trying to join a European Super League.
These protests weren’t about the Super League. These protests have been about the billions the glasses have cost the club, the lack of communication, the lack of investment in Old Trafford and the feeling that the club is being used as a piggy bank for the owners to get on with a sport they play Making money doesn’t seem to care.
Other approaches have failed
United supporters protested in 2005 and got stuck. Some fans even rose and went and formed a new club, United of Manchester FC.
The coordinated protests in 2010 meant nothing and online protests have had limited impact. Sooner or later, the status quo keeps picking up, and you wonder if the glaziers in their Florida beach houses even notice it.
So it was time for the fans to try something different and that is exactly what happened on Sunday.
The fans protested outside the team hotel and prevented the bus from going safely to Old Trafford, while fans also had masses of access to the stadium. The club and the police have failed completely and will ask each other questions.
Obviously we do not condone any violence or vandalism that may have taken place. This is due to a handful of misguided people who may have simply gone a step too far.
The protest on Sunday was aimed at getting a disruption and doing so peacefully. Sky experts, who were all over Old Trafford, told the broadcaster the protests were good-natured, and the majority of supporters left the stadium when prompted by police.
Did it work?
Yes. The maximum impact of the protest was to postpone the game and make global headlines.
United fans did it. The protests were reported in every newspaper and television network, not just in the UK.
In America, where the glaziers are based, CNN and NBC covered the protests, and they were actually referred to as “anti-glaziers protests”. The news was even spread as far as New Zealand.
This was global news that saw television programs cut across the world and one of the biggest games in world football removed from the program for the day. Broadcasters and advertisers won’t have been pleased, and they should have no doubt why it happened: the glasses.
(Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images)
When a small group of supporters protested outside Carrington two weeks ago, they carried a banner that read “We decide when you play”. You weren’t kidding.
This was a case of United supporters showing their collective power. It was a sign of how big and dedicated the fan base is and how strong it is to feel against the Glazer family.
United fans had the right to take whatever action they took. Supporters across the country have been exploited for too long.
It is time for the glaziers and the football authorities to listen. Sunday’s protest was the first of its kind to postpone a game and it may not be the last.
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