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 Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners

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Rahul
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PostSubject: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:29 pm

A couple of interesting articles from the Times I found.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
It’s time for the fans to fight back


A sticker left on a seat at the City of Manchester Stadium after the
Carling Cup semi-final, first leg saying "Love United Hate Glazer"


From The Times
January 23, 2010
Mick Hume



The banner briefly displayed at Old Trafford last weekend, before it was confiscated and the guilty fans evicted, summed it up: “Love United, Hate the Glazers”. They could easily have shipped it to Anfield and changed the slogan to “Love Liverpool, Hate the Yanks”.

As tensions rise between traditional supporters and the new breed of football proprietor, from Portsmouth to Newcastle, perhaps some enterprising fans might sell a one-size-fits-almost-all version (excluding the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City): “Love the Club, Hate the Owners”.

Whose clubs are they, anyway? Do they belong to the mass of us fans who claim moral ownership and invest not just time and money but heart and soul? Or to the few plutocrats who hold the legal papers?

Do they exist to fulfill our dreams and generate glory? Or to make money and meet debt repayments?

Even as a Manchester United season ticket-holder, I could share the exasperation of the Liverpool fan ranting about George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks on a radio phone-in. “They don’t own the club! Well, all right, they do, but . . .”

It would be historically naive to imagine that these problems began with the arrival of a few foreign freeloaders. It has always been Us and Them. Off-pitch tensions between fans — and, originally, players — who wanted to enjoy football, and owners who wanted to enjoy the rewards, are as old as the professional game.

The railway workers’ team of Newton Heath were renamed Manchester United after they were bought by a local brewer, who paid off the club’s debts and sold beer to the crowd. The armaments workers’ team of Woolwich Arsenal were rescued from financial ruin when they were bought up by a consortium of businessmen who moved the South London club north to a more commercial site at Highbury. But at least those old burghers put their money into the clubs.

Over the past 30 years, what originated as a mass working-class sport in Britain’s industrial age has been taken over by new financial capitalism, in which debt-financed buyouts, bond issues, sponsorship, brands and other money-circulating chicanery have become almost more important than “the product”.

The FA opened the door in 1981, altering its rules to allow club directors to be paid for the first time and shareholders to receive fat dividends. This enabled the likes of Martin Edwards, the chief executive who turned United from an FC into a plc, to take millions out of Old Trafford long before the shareholders sold to the grisly Glazers.

Now, with the billions from TV contracts sloshing around the Premier League, we have the new class of socca capitalists, borrowing money to buy and sell clubs to which they have no more attachment than a Kraft executive has to a bar of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut. Like the over leveraged private-equity players in the City, they have been badly burnt in the financial crisis, leaving clubs in peril.

No doubt some reports of imminent meltdown are scaremongering, but the scale of the problem is clear. United ended last season — having won the Barclays Premier League, the Club World Cup and the Carling Cup, and reached the Champions League final — deeper in debt than ever, the Glazers keeping their charmless heads above water thanks to the £80 million sale of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Faced with mounting debts, rising prices, rumours of ground or player sell-offs, what is the fan in the stand to do? Marches, meetings and protests are being staged and there are even murmurs of solidarity between fans of opposing clubs. Some want the United crowd to start wearing green-and- yellow shirts — the old Newton Heath colours — to show solidarity with the founding spirit of the working men’s football club.

Whether these prove much more than token protests remains to be seen. In practical terms, fans might be desperate to make the bad owners sell, but to whom? There is talk at some clubs of supporters making a bid. That is fantasy football finances. It was possible for 20-odd thousand people paying £35 each to buy Ebbsfleet United, but a big club are out of our league.

Suppose you really could persuade, say, 5,000 fans to pay £5,000 a head — that would give you £25 million, or not quite enough to buy Wayne Rooney’s left leg. So is the best we can hope for really to see another sheikh or oligarch lording it over us, as at City and Chelsea, or a more benevolent-looking billionaire, as at Aston Villa – or maybe a local-boy-made-pornbaron, as at West Ham United?

As an old Red in political as well as football terms, my preference would be for fans to storm the stadium gates and occupy Old Trafford as a sort of supporters’ soviet, but that option seems unlikely, in the short term at least. For now, frustration and impotence grow as fans are reduced to individual “customers”. Worse, the customer in football is not always right. Indeed he has no rights, because the clubs assume that supporters will always keep coming back to be ripped off, even for an inferior product.

The ultimate sanction is to hit the owners where it hurts, with a boycott of matches. But it is hard to stage a strike against your club and one hand will always be tied behind your back in such a civil war. Yet the editors of Red Issue, the United fanzine for which I write, point out that there are already empty seats and executive boxes at many matches, and believe it would be possible to push the Glazers over the edge, even if it meant taking the team down with them.

Their latest issue argues for “an acceptance of short-term pain for long-term gain” because to prosper in the future, “the club has to get rid of these leeches”. The question is, how many fans hate the Glazers — or Gillett and Hicks, or Mike Ashley, or whoever — sufficiently to stop loving their clubs for long enough?

Anybody not entirely blinded by nostalgia would concede that much of the football we watch has been better in the Premier League era — but at a price many now think too high. Short of a people’s revolution, there seems no easy, fan-friendly solution, but at least a debate is starting.

And as football fans are all dreamers, we can at least dream of all those all-seat stadiums standing together and crying with one voice: can we have our football back, please?
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:31 pm

The clubs’ fans who are taking a stand on the terraces


From The Times
January 23, 2010
Tony Barrett



On a day when their thoughts should be dominated only by dreams of a repeat of their club’s FA Cup-winning feat of 2008, hundreds of Portsmouth supporters will march on Fratton Park today with nothing but survival on their minds. The protest — before the fourth-round tie against Sunderland —– will culminate in the submission of a petition calling on the club’s owner, Ali al-Faraj, to stand aside. Such activism is growing, a clear indication that desperate fans are demanding a say on the running of their clubs as never before.


Liverpool
Fans group Spirit of Shankly: Members 4,500

Aims To hold the owners of Liverpool to account and to bring about supporter representation on the club’s board — or even supporter ownership.

Tactics Protest marches targeting Royal Bank of Scotland (which provided Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, the co-owners, with the finance to buy the club); a “Not Welcome Here” campaign aimed at the Americans; leaflets and banners inside ground. Embarrassed Tom Hicks Jr into resigning from board after his “Blow me, f***face” e-mail to fan.

What they say “If we stand together and speak with one voice, regardless of language and accent, we can make a difference to our football club, to the city and to the footballing world.”


Manchester United
Fans group Manchester United Supporters Trust: Members 38,000

Aims Fans to take stake in club; lower ticket prices.

Tactics A “Love United, Hate Glazer” banner was unfurled at the Stretford End, only to be removed by stewards. Fans encouraged to wear green and yellow, the original club colours, to show opposition to owners.

What they say “Fans, not absentee investors, are our club’s lifeblood. It is our support, our passion and indeed our funds that propel the club.”


Newcastle United

Fans group Newcastle United Supporters Trust: Members 3,200

Aims Short term: acquiring a minority stake in club with the “Yes We Can” campaign. Long term: 100 per cent ownership.

Tactics Fundraising in an attempt to put together the necessary finance to buy out Mike Ashley, the owner. Now moving away from protests towards “positive action”.

What they say “All we know is that the current farce cannot continue and the trust is a way for fans to have a genuine interest in running the club.”


Cardiff City

Fans group Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust: Members 700

Aims To acquire 5 per cent of shares and force an extraordinary general meeting at which PMG, the major shareholder, would be asked to justify what is going on at the club.

Tactics Using political and business methods in an attempt to influence the running of Cardiff for the better.

What they say “As fans, we can moan and groan as much as we like, but by targeting a 5 per cent stake in the club, we are aiming to make a real, positive difference.”


Wrexham
Fans group Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST): Members 592

Aims To secure the future of the club.

Tactics WST is not a protest group, it is an umbrella organisation that aims to provide a solution to the problems affecting the club.

What they say “A supporters’ trust is the long-term solution for fans to have a say in the future of their club. It is not just another supporters’ club but an umbrella organisation.”


Chester City
Fans group City Fans United: Members 500

Aims Safeguarding professional football in Chester.

Tactics Various protests and boycotting remaining home games this season.

What they say “Local ownership engaging the supporters is the only way forward if the city and population of Chester are to have the viable and sustainable football club that they deserve.”


Portsmouth
Fans group Pompey Supporters Trust: Members Only just registered as a trust, so figures not yet available, but aiming for 10,000.

Aims To support and assist in the running of the club and to raise awareness of its plight.

Tactics A series of marches are planned to show potential investors that the fans still care.

What they say “The owners have no money and are attempting to borrow some, but it’s like buying a house then finding out you can’t afford the gas, electricity or council tax. It’s really a depressing time and this trust should help fans’ views be heard, and listened to, by the club.”


AFC Wimbledon
Fans group Dons Trust: Members 500

Aims League football in 2013-14. Formed in 2002 after plans emerged to move Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes. AFC Wimbledon were formed in response to the proposed relocation, which was carried out a year later and the club renamed Milton Keynes Dons. The trust retains control of AFC Wimbledon and runs the club in a financially prudent manner.

Tactics A constitution lays out the way that AFC Wimbledon are run at boardroom level and a structure is in place, with supporters having a democratic input to the club’s decision-making process.

What they say “An organisation that represents a large interest such as AFC Wimbledon must have governance and accountability to all, both financially and morally. That’s where the Dons Trust does its job.”

------------------------------------------------------------

Check the bold part. The Green and Gold (well yellow here) has got it's first showing in the press.
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:57 pm

woohoo!
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:32 am

Vishal16 wrote:
woohoo!

What's there to celebrate about?

PS: The Green and Gold did get a little mileage at the end when Trevor Francis said something like it's a protest by fans against the owners.
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:42 am

Happy about the fact that this is picking up acceleration wink
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:32 pm

TalkSport mentioned it last night. This movement has plenty of potential.


Glazer Out!
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:35 pm

Yeah few fans were wearing green and gold,actually quite a few
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:16 pm

Vishal16 wrote:
Yeah few fans were wearing green and gold,actually quite a few

There weren't few. I bet around a few thousands were there but being scattered doesn't help. More and more will be wearing those colours for upcoming games. Stores have placed mass orders for the green and good accessories.


The atmosphere was top notch last night. Constant singing and Love United, Hate Glazer chants. Great to see the general fan is aware now.
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:17 pm

Yeah you could hear the chats clearly.
I only saw a few,yeah might be scattered though.
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:20 pm

chats? I couldn't hear any chat tongue


Wesley Brown one was the loudest in early parts of the game. They got My Old Man....running a bit late and a few chants in the middle which were quite difficult to understand tongue


City game must be a cracker!
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:22 pm

chants*
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:26 pm

You could have edited the post :|
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:44 pm

kantal
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:02 pm

i am happy this movement is catching pace
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:13 pm

PS did you send out mails to the tabloids and papers?

The info is here in my thread if you haven't.

Green and Gold movement - Orkut 2939
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:58 pm

I know I did wink
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:20 am

A United Supporter's Open Letter to David Gill



---------------------


An open letter to David Gill with 10 key financial questions




Thursday, 18 February 2010




Following
David Gill's somewhat unsatisfactory radio interview with Garry
Richardson on 31st January (his only formal statements about United's
finances since the bond issue) and the emotional exchange of views he
had with two supporters at Birmingham University last week, I am today
sending David an open letter with ten key financial questions about the
Glazers' stewardship of the club.


The full text is set out below and the letter can be downloaded in pdf form here.



I
have a lot of time for David who is clearly an excellent administrator
in an "industry" lacking in such people. In the plc days I met him on
several occasions. I do however think he is not being straight with
the media or supporters about key aspects of the club's financial
position and my questions attempt to get to these aspects.




Specifically:

The
amount of interest costs and fees imposed by the Glazers on the club
(including monies taken for the Glazer family's personal benefit) since
the takeover compared to exactly zero the family have invested
in the
club (rather than in buying it). Without these costs, ticket prices
could have been frozen at pre-takeover levels and the club would still
be worse off.




David's
dismissal of a potential sale of Carrington, a prize footballing asset
built by the club entirely from its own resources. Such a sale is
definitely envisaged by the bond document and would be another direct
transfer of value from the club to the Glazer family.




Of
most importance, the crystal clear mechanisms put in place by the bond
covenants to allow club profits to be used to pay down the PIKS, which
totally refute David's many statements that this debt is not Manchester
United's "problem". These mechanisms are the only "benefit" the bonds
provide.





I
don't know whether David will reply to my letter, but in any case I
believe (from a professional point of view as well as that of a
supporter) that my 10 questions represent the subjects on which the
United management and the Glazers must be challenged.


[b][b]LUHG

[/b][/b]
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:22 am

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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:22 am

LUHG
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:34 am

Some cracking questions by that lad. I don't he'll get a reply to all that but a brilliant effort.
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:38 am

Rahul wrote:
Some cracking questions by that lad. I don't he'll get a reply to all that but a brilliant effort.
Well he got a reply from Gill, surprisingly. But the reply was pretty much like Gill saying. "Lad, I know you're absolutely right and we are in deep shite but being an employee of Glazer, I can't open my mouth."



Quote :
So, somewhat to my surprise, I received a reply from David Gill to my open letter in the post this morning. I have to thank David for replying, which he did very promptly after I had sent an email on Monday night giving him my full name and address (having concluded that I would not receive I reply writing under a pseudonym).

Here is the reply:



The letter seems to suggest that:

1. Publishing my questions (and his reply) in public means he is not prepared to answer them (would he answer them privately?); and
2. That all important issues relating to United’s finances and the Glazers were covered in David’s interview on BBC 5Live on 31st January.

I wrote an open letter because I believe there are fundamental financial problems with the Glazers’ ownership of United that need to be aired in public. The supporters have not had any adequate justification from David Gill or the family itself for the pillaging of their football club which is described so clearly in the bond prospectus. The club will not engage with any of the democratically elected supporters groups, despite the government expressly asking clubs to do so. I believe David Gill has a responsibility to communicate with the supporters on major issues concerning the club. A club is nothing without the supporters, they deserve to know the truth.

Turning to the content of the 5Live interview, I can only reiterate what I said at the time. None of the major financial issues were raised in the interview by Garry Richardson. Areas not covered included:

* The scale of the cash costs of interest, financing fees, derivative losses, “management fees” and loans to the family since 2005. The fact that none of these costs would have been incurred if the Glazers had not taken over the club.

* The huge increase in ticket prices imposed to pay these costs with no other benefit to the club.

* The inconsistency in David describing the PIKS as “not the club’s responsibility” when the bond prospectus clearly outlines the intention to use the club’s cash balance and profits to repay them.

* The Glazer family’s inability / unwillingness to pay down the PIKS in the last four years and the questions this raises about their financial position.

* The justification for replacing bank debt with more expensive bond debt, other than to permit the payment of dividends to the Glazers.


I'll say it again, NONE of the key financial issues were covered in the 5Live interview.

At a time of enormous concern among United supporters about the financial position of the club under the Glazers, demonstrated in spectacular style by the huge number of fans wearing green and gold at every game, the Chief Executive of Manchester United does not want any detailed public discussion of the issues. Supporters will have to draw their own conclusion from his unwillingness to enter into such a discussion.

Gill Replies to Andersred
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:39 am



Cracking pic!
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:50 am

Amazing pic
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:31 pm

Classy
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:54 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:37 pm

Vishal16 wrote:

Great
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:41 pm

I didn't like it that much actually.
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:48 pm

Personal opinions differ.
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:55 pm

I didn't know that
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PostSubject: Re: Love United Hate Glazer - Fans vs Owners   Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:08 pm

Okay
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