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On the other hand

Submitted by on March 17, 2010 – 7:37 pm4 Comments

There has been a fair amount of criticism on here of the Green and Gold campaign. Here’s my take.

Wresting Manchester United FC from the clutches of the Glazers is a tall enough order. Doing so in a way which leaves supporters with a proper say in how their club is run may seem well-nigh impossible. But it surely, surely has to be attempted. It’s not only the best chance since the take-over, it’s the last chance. It has to be tried.

Some of the recent criticism risks, to me, sounding a bit like sour grapes. At the very least the fact that the issue of debt in football is now so high profile has got to be worth a cheer. And what does it really, actually matter how many e-members MUST claim to have? So what if Sean Bones is on the radio a lot? The fact is that there is momentum to the campaign, ok five years too late for many of us, but what good does it do us to comment churlishly when people finally start to act in ways we always hoped they would? People in South Stand blocking stewards from getting to lads with LUHG flags? I’m choosing to enjoy celebrating such bizarrely surreal moments – while reserving the right to howl at the sight of those who think wearing a green and gold jester’s hat with your AIG shirt is a classy statement, obv.

There’s been criticism that MUST hasn’t called for a boycott, of matches or of next year’s season tickets. Realistically though what would be the point of calling for a boycott at the moment, when the Glazers have got all the money for the rest of the season up-front? If MUST don’t call for a boycott come ST renewal time then, well, yes, FCUM*. But calling for it too early, until more of an alternative plan for what Manchester United could look like if the pieces can be picked up in a post-Glazer world, would just be counter-productive surely.

A lot of us made our choice in 2005. It seems, has always seemed, obvious to us – the way to get the Glazers out is to starve them of cash. Just walk. But the people who didn’t walk in 2005 aren’t (in the main) suddenly going to do so now. Pretty much all the natural boycotters, those who found the strength to walk away from what we loved, left Old Trafford in 2005. So those working on the Green & Gold campaign now maybe have to use tactics which don’t sit easily with those who stuck to their ‘not one penny’ guns and formed the midjmo miracle that is FC United of Manchester in the summer of 2005. I hate compromise, and advocating it doesn’t come naturally to me. Personally, I’d hate to feel I had to reassure people by coming out with compliments about Ferguson, for instance, after his 180 degree turnaround about fans having a say. But, then, rows I’ve had with old mates show that I can’t think myself into the mindset of someone who’s stayed at Old Trafford…

I believe there is already an attractive alternative on offer if you want to protest against the Glazers – admittedly you have to trek to Gigg Lane to find it, but there’ll always be a fellow Red on the 135 to chat to on the way. But sadly, for the majority still at Old Trafford, for whatever reason FC United hasn’t seemed a viable alternative (and yes, it has always been a source of great distress to me that MUST could not despite many entreaties be persuaded to alert its members at least to FC’s existence…). What this means –painful but true – is that, when thinking about how it just might be possible to persuade some match-going Reds to take action, thinking in FCUM boycott mode really isn’t going to work.

I’m not saying any other mode will necessarily work either – I’m not being totally naive about all this, when eyeing yellow and green jesters’ hats I too despair of getting the Old Trafford hordes to do anything more radical than twirl a scarf. I’m just pretty convinced that there’s little point in us making strident statements about what it seems logical to us that others should do, and sniping about how the campaign should be run. The FC United Board’s official statement on the Green and Gold campaign a few weeks back said ‘we did not seek the moral high ground five years ago, and we should not aim to occupy it now’. We’re small but mustn’t be small-minded. Green and Gold may all go pear-shaped. It probably will. But if there is even the faintest possibility that it might come off, I believe it’s worth a go.

* And even then, yes, this will stick in the throat of those who were brave enough to hand back their STs in 2005 with no such safety net on offer. But that can’t be a reason not to try it.

4 Comments »

  • Nefred Felman says:

    The problem with a wait-and-see argument is the existence of the laws of motion. There is momentum now but we don’t live in a vacuum. The momentum isn’t always going to be there.

    What momentum there is right now is a momentum of PR. Pictures of G&G scarves, TV footage of songs, etc. Nothing practical has yet happened.

    Singing “Glazer Out” and unfurling banners at the Milan match got a lot of media attention. Doing it towards the end of the Fulham match also got media attention. But, if there’s one thing we know about the media it’s that it’s easily distracted. Something else will come along in football and the media will lose interest in the G&G.

    There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune.

    My worry is that when MUST or whoever get round to calling for action, the tide will be on the ebb.

  • jstand says:

    Elsie,

    Very fair comments and division only favours those twats from Tampa. However, your point about a boycott being pointless mid-season doesn’t stand up in my opinion.

    If you look at where the momentum is coming from it is the noise and colour at games that’s getting people going. Before we know we’ll be in April and then with United still going for the EC and PL titles people will be focussing on the team. The season will soon be over and renewals will be in the post to ST holders. If between now and then we have no call for a boycott then there’s a huge risk that it will fall on deaf ears if such a call is made during the summer (not that I think MUST are cunningly holding back on making such a call, as you seem to suggest) because you will not have the platform of games at Old Trafford to give such a boycott the sort of exposure it needs.

    There is far more chance of a boycott working if it is made now because it gives ST holders the chance to sit alongside fellow reds at the remaining games, look them in the eye and know that they’re not on their own when making what for them is a very difficult decision. You won’t have that during the summer when the easy option will be to renew your book for another season to wait and see what happens next.

    What’s needed is some strong leadership now so that people have a good few weeks to come to terms with their decision. Making a call in May / June so that United fans have a couple of weeks would be a huge waste of a big opportunity to do the Glazers some damage.

    If MUST claim to a) represent such a huge number of United fans and b) want the Glazers to fuck off then they should make the call now for the only think that is going to make the owners take note. “You’ve worn the scarf, you’ve sang the songs now make a one season sacrifice and hit the Glazers where it really matters – in their pockets. Your seat will still be there for you when we’ve made them see they’re having no more of our money and they’ve sold the club”. It’s the lack of such a statement that’s pissing people off because that is the only way G&G is going to go from tokenism to something which achieves what we all want for United.

    • Elsie says:

      I wrote that MUST needed to make the call to boycott at ST renewal time. There’s maybe 4 weeks till renewal letters hit doormats?, and I reckon that period is better spent sorting out the best way to encourage the greatest number not to renew, rather than calling for a boycott now with no (new) alternative in place.

      Certainly if it’s left till May/June, yes, I agree that’s way too late. And obv if no boycott call is ever made, well…I’ll leave it there.

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