When Manchester United was purchased by the Glazers back in 2005, it started a period of major highs and lows within the club. Here in 2019, there are many Red Devils fans who feel alienated by the American dynasty’s involvement, which has reportedly saddled the club with multi-million-pound debts, despite the impressive dividends that some shareholders have been able to enjoy.
#GlazersOut has been a popular hashtag and chant throughout the current season, as fans watch their beloved team face, and subsequently, lose, battles on the pitch that a few short seasons ago they would’ve breezed through.
After a summer of protests (mostly down to the team being unable to land the transfer targets fans were expecting), it was expected that the Manchester United faithful would stage a revolt at Tottenham, as the stadium was the host of an NFL match between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (also owned by the Glazers) and the Carolina Panthers earlier in October. Things were relatively quiet on the Red Devils fans front, but it’s since transpired that fans are getting ready to increase the pressure on the Glazers, vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the much-maligned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a demonstration planned for the next clash against Liverpool.
Old Trafford protest
One of the more prominent #GlazersOut social media accounts shared details of the planned protest following yet another disappointing loss, this time 1-0 to Newcastle at St. James’ Park. The statement, which was shared on the Twitter platform, began by clearly stating that while it wasn’t “an official GOM statement or request for action”, fans are encouraged to participate in planned protests as well as doing “their bit” at the games themselves.
The statement went on to say that on Sunday 20th October, prior to the Liverpool game at Old Trafford, a protest march would begin at 3.30pm starting “from the Tollgate pub down Talbot Road, up Warwick and then up Sir Matt Busby way” to the stadium. The march would involve “anti-Glazer/LUHG” chants, supported by “yellow flares” and “green and gold” anti-Glazer/LUHG flags, scarves and banners.
Comparisons with the NHL
Now that Man United are so closely linked to the NHL, it’s impossible not to draw comparisons between the two different leagues. Under the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, the team was unstoppable, winning a record 13 Premier League titles. Since his retirement in 2013, the team has simply been unable to recapture that magic, bringing to mind (amongst NFL fans at least) the once titanic Teams of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers themselves (they haven’t made the postseason for 12 years and are one of the most inconsistent teams in the roster), the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. All four of these once-great teams are left treading water in their respective leagues as time and trophies seem to move further away.
But there are more than just the negative parallels to be drawn between football on the two sides of the pond. United are still a much loved and respected team, but they’re also one of the most despised teams in the UK for good reason. Their incredible 20 league titles and global fanbase draw jealousy and envy from much of the rest of the Premier League division. It’s a similar situation to the one faced in the NFL by the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are arguably the strongest and most popular team in the NFL right now, and are on track to scoop the title for the 7th time in a row thanks to the dynamic force of coach Bill Belichick and the G.O.A.T himself, Tom Brady. Patriots fans love ‘em, people with just a passing interest in American Football love ‘em, even footy fans on our side of the Atlantic can’t help but be caught up in the spectacle of Patriots Super Bowl, but it goes without saying that there’s dissension within the rest of the league.
As for the Buccaneers, they are often compared to the unfortunate Norwich City after their 2005 Super Bowl win; they had everything to play for but couldn’t quite get their act together. They too have had their fair share of poor management but diehard Buccs fans, much like diehard United fans, see the fault lies more with the Glazers than the players on the pitch.