Glazers could reignite fan battle



It is now almost 18 months since Old Trafford was first bathed in the green and gold of protest. The Glazer family’s decision to borrow more than £500 million on the international bond market sparked a new wave of supporter protest, and a level of anger not seen in Manchester since the reclusive Americans first appeared in the city. Yet that protest has achieved very little bar a thousand headlines and last summer’s season ticket prize freeze. Small fry compared to the regime change that became supporter groups stated aim.

But with next year’s ticket prices shortly announced, will Manchester United’s executive management stick or twist; fending off protest for the summer or provoking another wave of anger?

Indeed, the decision to raise prices (or not) at Old Trafford – rises have been announced by both Arsenal and Chelsea recently – will have already been taken, despite disingenuous claims by the club that it has not. The imminent announcement on ticket prices will be the first salvo in another summer-long battle of wills between supporters and United’s ownership.

Last summer’s price freeze bought the regime few friends, with thousands of fans still walking away from season ticket ownership, but the relative absence of green and gold at Old Trafford this season has marked a lull is supporter protest. The Glazer’s decision to raise, lower or freeze prices for next season could add new verve to the protest. Or perhaps kill it stone dead. Another freeze will buy the regime more time; price rises could spark yet more anger and another call to boycott season ticket renewals.

And although the regime has not once lowered prices in six seasons in charge at United, there is precedent at the Glazer’s NFL franchise. In fact, with attendances at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers falling so steeply that the team’s TV coverage was blacked out by the league, the Glazer family chose to cut ticket prices by up to 30 per cent. It was a move born of financial necessity – blackouts, designed to keep attendances high, are costly to franchise owners, and the regime had been forced to buy its own tickets for many matches last season.

The family made the most of its decision though, claiming the owners to be supporter-centric in a time of financial hardship in the United States.

“Our organization has spent a lot of time listening to our fans at this time when our team is thriving and our economy is not,” Joel Glazer recently said recently.

“As a result, we are now offering several pricing changes in response to our community’s needs.”

The move has raised hopes that the Glazer family will similarly reduce costs at Old Trafford, which have increased by 50 per cent in aggregate since the Americans took control. Unsurprisingly, the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) has called for fans in Manchester to be afforded the same treatment as their counterparts in Florida.

“Joel Glazer said he’s listened to the Tampa fans. Well it’s about time he listened to Manchester United fans and responded by cutting our ticket prices too,” MUST Vice Chair Sean Bones said in a statement.

“Manchester United supporters should not feel they are subsidising the Glazers’ American Football Franchise as well as their debt. After the huge price rises our fans have endured while the Glazers have been taking out millions of pounds from our club if anything we deserve bigger price cuts than the Tampa fans.

“Anything other than an equivalent cut in prices at Manchester United will be seen as a slap in the face for United fans.”

There are, however, key differences between the financial model at Old Trafford and that in Tampa. First, and certainly most important, there is no TV blackout system in the Premier League. There is, therefore, no chance United’s TV revenue will fall sharply under the current rights contracts, unless the club fails to make the Champions League. With that possibility remote, Old Trafford bean counters are under no financial pressure to act on ticket prices.

There is also little pressure on attendances in Manchester. While thousands of supporters have given up season tickets, the scale of United’s support is such that matches are mostly sold out or as close to it to make very little financial difference. The family’s decision to increase individual non-member match ticket prices this season, and retain the despised automatic cup match ticket scheme, underlined the Glazer’s confidence is continuing to sell in volume.

Indeed, the evidence supports a rise in prices at Old Trafford this summer, backed by another aggressive marketing campaign aimed at selling season tickets. Already, the club has marketed its non-existence ‘season ticket waiting list’. While the list is nothing more than an email marketing database – offering no priority tickets to supporters who sign up – there is also no shame within the regime about using every available tactic to sell tickets. After all, how can there be a waiting list when United failed to sell all available season tickets last summer?

Still, the question for the regime is whether it feels the need to pacify United’s supporters with price cuts and star names, or not. History points to another summer of promises over money available for transfer spend spending; and misleading statements that United is a club built on ‘making stars, not buying them.’

If the close season also includes a price hike, green and gold may also return next season.

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Comments

  1. MancsTogether says:

    Glazers might be able to fool Americans with their spin but not us: we’re not that stupid. They said in 2005 they’d not raise prices but have done year on tear apart from this last one. They said don’t judge us now (June 2005) judge us at end of season & we’ll explain it all but then didn’t nor do they now. They said Alex would have a budget of £30m per Window but he’s had to make do with selling more than he bought & has done a wonderful job still winning with less & less – he’s won all this despite the Glazersw not because of him. MUST who are supposed to represent fans’ needs fail to call a boycott finding that membership is more important than action – sitting in a tent getting drunk while shouting at a tv screen is height of their input. The sooner the Glazers go & take THEIR debt/bond with them the better; club is made into IPS & club is fan-owned the better. Glazers, apart from asset stripping & reducing asset value have done NOTHING for us; but plenty for themselves.

  2. The worst thing is that everything is smoke and mirrors. If the club let half a dozen senior pro’s leave and cut the wage bill while buying a few players then most fans will be happy. The reality of it all is that the club is being quite obviously pillaged and there doesn’t appear to be an awful lot we can do

  3. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    I reckon that I’ll soon get to the point of turning my back on football altogether.

    I could never support another club, but this “New United” just stirs my bile… every season, I feel I get a little less enjoyment, and a bit more frustrated.

    I haven’t spent a penny on merchandise in years out of principal, and that alone pisses me off… but I’m just sick to death that the clubs finances are as big an issue as the team and match day.

    I have a sick feeling that we won’t sign anyone this summer… at least no one to get excited about… what we will get, is another load of spin and lies, about value, and youth etc… but what will really piss me off is the number of fans that will not only suck that shit up… but support it, with daft reasoning and naive optimism…

  4. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    I reckon that I’ll soon get to the point of turning my back on football altogether.

    I could never support another club, but this “New United” just stirs my bile… every season, I feel I get a little less enjoyment, and a bit more frustrated.

    I haven’t spent a penny on merchandise in years out of principal, and that alone pisses me off… but I’m just sick to death that the clubs finances are as big an issue as the team and match day.

    I have a sick feeling that we won’t sign anyone this summer… at least no one to get excited about… what we will get, is another load of spin and lies, about value, and youth etc… but what will really piss me off is the number of fans that will not only suck that shit up… but support it, with daft reasoning and naive optimism…

    this sis why you are premier league on rant

    thank me later tubanuts

  5. Green and Gold was non-existent this season. I think this had a lot to do with the news re paying off the PIKS. Fans need to be consistent if they want to get a message across and be taken seriously.

    Will United fans ever put up a consistent message that they want the Glazers out? The same fans who buy their guff from the Megastore but walk around in Green and Gold scarves, who pay money to attend the games and (incidentally) ‘voice their protest’? I doubt it.

    Season-ticket holders make that decision in the summer about whether or not to renew – and then we always do. Glazers know that there are suckers like me who’ll keep going back to United season after season until it’s no longer affordable…and then someone else will step in.

  6. madredmonkey madredmonkey says:

    fans keep paying at the turnstiles, they will never take us seriously till we keep away, but their will always be some other fan to replace us. catch 22.

  7. oh i remember the good old days …
    my 1st game at OT
    March 1984 against B’ham
    Match ticket in the Warwick Road end £3.20 for a seat above the terraces
    United review 30p
    ffs how times have changed

  8. madredmonkey madredmonkey says:

    han said:
    oh i remember the good old days …
    my 1st game at OT
    March 1984 against B’ham
    Match ticket in the Warwick Road end £3.20 for a seat above the terraces
    United review 30p
    ffs how times have changed

    i know Han, standing in the stretford end, swaying, singing, magic days, no fucking seats in their them.

  9. eddieTheRed says:

    I’m not defending the Glazers but the recession is far worse in Florida than it is here in Europe – chances are many of the Bucs fans can barely afford to feed themselves at this time let alone lash out big money for tickets.

    My cousin lived in the US for 20 years; last year he came home and said “America’s finished”. He spent the last 10 of those years in Florida!

  10. Alfonso Bedoya said:
    I reckon that I’ll soon get to the point of turning my back on football altogether.

    I could never support another club, but this “New United” just stirs my bile… every season, I feel I get a little less enjoyment, and a bit more frustrated.

    I haven’t spent a penny on merchandise in years out of principal, and that alone pisses me off… but I’m just sick to death that the clubs finances are as big an issue as the team and match day.

    I have a sick feeling that we won’t sign anyone this summer… at least no one to get excited about… what we will get, is another load of spin and lies, about value, and youth etc… but what will really piss me off is the number of fans that will not only suck that shit up… but support it, with daft reasoning and naive optimism…

    Your one of the crusaders like us Alf. Give the cunts fuck all. All this green and gold gubbins is quite frankly bollocks. Uniteds support is fucked like i said a while ago. The semi at wembley being a prime example. A couple of lads who i know who don’t go home games like myself said they was shocked at just how piss poor our support was. They seen very few of the “regular heads”, all dads with kids and 20 somethings with their girlfriends and Nani shirts. The majority of these fuckers would’nt know Ashley Grimes from Jim Holten. The club have been proper fucking us over regarding away ticket allocations for years. We’d waited 40 fuckin years to play the dippers at their shithole in the fa cup, we got nearly 6000 tickets and practically no cunt who goes the away games got one. I wrote to the club demanding a reason why my application was chubbed. They gave me the usual shite about ballots. But in between the lines they was saying their hands had been tied by the dibble to prevent trouble makers making the trip. Hence the support that day was fuckin pityful, absolutely awful. They don’t give a flying fuck about any cunt. Fergie, Gill, the board, the fuckin tea lady, they’re all fuckin laughing at us. To be honest, i regard myself lucky cozz i seen the good days before it all went to fuck. Apart from the likes of Rooney, Hernandez and maybe Valencia, i would’nt pay to watch the others.

  11. herbie simms says:

    If United do not buy any quality players this summer, the fans need to boycott all the home games, just stay away and send the Glazers a message. Do not buy any home game tickets.

  12. viva john terry says:

    Alf and ted, great posts fellas. I truly value people like you and your opinions, who were around in the good old days before the PL, the influx of glory hunters, the glazers, and before football really lost its soul. Im only 21 now, so in many ways im probably looked upon as the new breed of fan who knows nothing about what is was like back then, and obviously thats true and i dont. But i was born a united fan in good old manchester, son of a life long united fan who was a regular on the terraces since the late 60s, and was a season ticket holder for 12 years before i gave it up, and promised i would never set foot inside OT again whilst the glazers remained.
    It was hard, but it was a sacrifice i was willing to make. Ive even stopped attending away matches these days, as i find myself watching this current lot and thinking to myself have i really fallen out of love with united?
    Its not a nice feeling. Its not nice to sit back and watch this team and sometimes wonder yourself who the hell they are. Because thats what i feel sometimes when i watch these boys. Theyre not the team i once fell in love with, theyre not the team i had the pleasure to watch up close for 12 plus years. Dont get me wrong, as alf said, united are my only love within this game, and its them or nobody, but i sometimes just sit back and think to myself im losing the love for this once beautiful game.
    Im sick and tired of watching this sorry lot play more like a side that you’d associate with stoke city rather than united, and watch fergies smug grin and claim its still a great squad, because its damn well not. Yes were winning, but since the days of sir matt we were taught to win with style. That was what was demanded, that was what fergie continued for over 2 decades until he changed into the glazers puppet. A man who publically sided against the fans and backed the devil, who tried to make out he was a qualified accountant when claiming the finances werent so bad. A man who keeps his mouth shut, and sides with a family who are tearing the very soul of this great club that fergie contributed 2 decades to put right. Its sad really. Sad that the club has all forgotten the men that once made this team great. The fans who made an atmosphere as if it were the colosseum. Men who went home and away, rain or shine, to follow their beloved team. Men who kept united in the family, and meant that future generations would be able to share the experience their father, grandfathers once did. It saddens me to think that in the future, there might not even be a manchester united to take my children to, and thats the truth. Its not doom and gloom mongering, just common sense, that a football club cannot hold these massive debts that never seem any closer to being paid off, forever.
    It will be the fans then that feel the brunt of it. The big name players will have long since departed, fergie will off sunning himself on a deck chair in france, and the glazers will off in their jets will 50 full cases full of cash.
    It really is sad. I just wish i could have been around when you 2 were on the terraces, back in the days when it really was the beautiful game, and passionate men like us who love this club, werent looked down upon because we cant stomach this “new” manchester united side. Its just sad, it really is.
    But anyway i didnt mean this to be so long, i just had to vent my anger and my feelings. Its good to know though that there are other proper united fans out there who arent scared to speak their mind, and feel the same way about this side as i do. I love united, and i always will, but its a love affair that is pulling at my heart strings as each day goes by, and im just getting to the point now where i wonder if its worth it.

  13. Will never happen Herbie.

    The Glazers have the club by the gonads, and despite a few mumurs, they have no plans to let go.

  14. A sad state of affairs, and as several of you have stated there is not much we can do.

    I’ve stopped buying merchandise (I have 15 united shirts anyway why do I need another!) and been to 1 game this season.

    Unfortunately we are hooked on United and its one of those things that keeps United worth living.

    Bastards!

  15. Blog Commenter said:
    A sad state of affairs, and as several of you have stated there is not much we can do.

    I’ve stopped buying merchandise (I have 15 united shirts anyway why do I need another!) and been to 1 game this season.

    Unfortunately we are hooked on United and its one of those things that keeps United worth living.

    15 shirts?
    u fucking greedy cunt

    Bastards!

  16. I think I have 5 united shirts including that dreadful grey one. I have one signed by fergie and the whole side from 1992-3 season. My most treasured possession.

  17. Dates back to mid 80s
    Official
    Sharp Electronics red
    FA Cup winning sharp shirt
    Cantona 7 (premier league winners)
    Keane 16 (newton heath)
    Scholes 18 (blue pre le tournoi)
    Grey Southampton game
    Red (Beckham/Butt era)
    Solskjaer 20 (Treble)
    White Away (97-99)
    Black View Cam (Sharpe)
    Red Vodafone (2002-4)
    Red AIG (Vidic)
    Red Vodafone (2000-2)
    GK shirt 97
    White AIG internet rip off (Ronaldo)
    15
    Plus retro shirts (2), t-shirts, hats and sweatshirts!
    Think I have enough for now…:-) Wouldn’t mind a Robson 7 shirt though!!! Quite alot of the above were birthday presents as a kid.

  18. madredmonkey madredmonkey says:

    Lost count of the shirts I have bought going back to the 80′s, cost me a fortune, not got the latest kit, my mini protest,

  19. Yep I won’t be getting the latest one. Vidic 15 AIG one will do. I wear that or the retro cotton TOFFS blue or red shirt.

  20. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    my lads had them all for the past 7 years or more….last few he had were not off me

    no, his real dad bought them ffs……

    ffs indeed

  21. sheesh said:
    Green and Gold was non-existent this season. I think this had a lot to do with the news re paying off the PIKS. Fans need to be consistent if they want to get a message across and be taken seriously.
    Will United fans ever put up a consistent message that they want the Glazers out? The same fans who buy their guff from the Megastore but walk around in Green and Gold scarves, who pay money to attend the games and (incidentally) ‘voice their protest’? I doubt it.
    Season-ticket holders make that decision in the summer about whether or not to renew – and then we always do. Glazers know that there are suckers like me who’ll keep going back to United season after season until it’s no longer affordable…and then someone else will step in.

    Protest is sporadic
    The anger and resentment from the green & gold mob is still there, it’s just not visually represented right now. But if you speak to people on matchday, they’re still fucking pissed off and dismayed at the state of the club.
    So the protest won’t go away so long as the anger is still present, and it is.
    Unfortunately in this country it takes an issue to get people organizing again. We all know the Tory’s are fucking us over left, right and centre but it takes tuition fees or selling off the NHS or taking away disability living allowance before people act on that anger and mobilize.
    Anger would have bubbled to the surface if we were second of third in the league – like we should be with this team due to a lack of investment in quality
    I believe it has to get worse before it gets better. Without investment in summer, we will be way off the pace, it will kick off (especially nowadays with City up our arses).
    But aye, also, it’s possible to follow United and not give the Glazers a penny (so long as you don’t go to games). I’m not perfect cos I’v been to Old Trafford a fair bit the last few years. But yeah, fuck MUTV, stream games, fuck the official website, fuck the merch etc.

  22. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    ^^^
    This is correct… as long as we are winning, too many fans see that as proof that the Glazers are honouring their end… and the Glazers see that as reason to NOT spend unnecessarily.

    A season or two of having to listen to the Bitters, the Renties, or the Verrrmin lord it up as our superiors will kick start the resentment again.

    But the problem is, it may be too late by then… We need to get the Glazers out, while Ferguson is still the Gaffer… anyone who think Mourinho could work for the Glazers is dreaming… Mourinho doesn’t settle for second rate talent… he wants the best team available, and the Glazers have never… not once, demonstrated that they are heavy investors in the squad.

    If the Glazers are still here when Fergie leaves… I would not be one bit surprised to see Phelan get the job… with the spin that United likes to promote from within… it’s the United way.

  23. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    my youngest lad is called Ted…and he’s a proper red too

  24. madredmonkey madredmonkey says:

    what ginger

  25. madredmonkey madredmonkey says:

    we could do with another paul scholes.

  26. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    yes funnily enough he is ginger…lol…he loves football and trust me on this…everyone who sees him with a ball is shocked how coordinated he is

    especially since i’m his father

    ffs

  27. madredmonkey madredmonkey says:

    my eldest son is ginger to, and has a room covered in united stuff, and has had every kit of scholes for the last 15 years, his name is mark , but everyone calls him scholes.good player to.

  28. madredmonkey madredmonkey says:

    are we from the same gene pool

  29. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    probably been shagging my missus tbf

  30. The last few kits have been horrendous. I can’t remember the last time we had a decent kit. The home kit with that black chevron was probably the worst. As soon as the nike contract ends, we should sack them off.

  31. madredmonkey madredmonkey says:

    are we to have a new kit for next season, we have only had this one a short time.

  32. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    i wouldnt be seen dead in a football shirt, i thought this was the same for all reasonable thinking adults

  33. squigels says:

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    i wouldnt be seen dead in a football shirt, i thought this was the same for all reasonable thinking adults

    Agree completely

  34. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    i wouldnt be seen dead in a football shirt, i thought this was the same for all reasonable thinking adults

    Yeah, but it’s not just about shirts… is it?

    Don’t forget the jammies, bed spread, lamp shade, cereal bowl and spoon, Giggs poster, and little stuffed Red Devil…

    cunt…

  35. If you really want to see a United shirt,the real,true red of Manchester United and what wearing the shirt is all about then watch “United” on Sunday. My first game? FA Cup Final 1963 United 3 Leicester City 1.Number of shirts bought? 2, a signed no 10 from Denis Law and 92/93 shirt (deserved after 26 years of waiting).Remember who we are and where we come from.

  36. uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    i wouldnt be seen dead in a football shirt, i thought this was the same for all reasonable thinking adults

    Aye, football shirts just aren’t cool, especially at football matches
    And wearing England shirts in summer is just fucking atrocious behaviour
    All black everything, now that’s cool

  37. herbie simms says:

    If United win the Premier league and the Champions league, I’m sure SAF will retire. That would be a good way to bow out, on a high. So if that was to happen, who would be the new manager, Phelan? Mourinho would not take the job as long as the Glazers are the owners because Mourinho will be looking to spend big money to bring in world class players. The job at United will not be of interest to him unless he has lots of money on hand.
    Alfonso maybe right, they may just give Mike Phelan a shot at the job or Chris Houghton. No money to bring in the world’s best manager.

  38. The only United shirt I have is the Sharp Champions League final.

    02-03 Vodafone home/away shirt was also good and the one United wore when they thrashed Arsenal 4-2 at Highbury.

    I just have a high distaste for these new shirts with Insurance company names on them. WTF man?

    Also agree with ‘viva john terry’, I started supporting United in 99 largely due to David Beckham and the team’s success in Europe (you lot can thank Man Utd for making your league famous across the world) and I enjoyed watching them until 02-03. After Beckham’s exit/Ronaldo’s entry, I’ve been growing more and more disillusioned with the team and this season has been painful to watch their matches.

  39. i think viva john terry should get a prize for being the biggest united fan.

  40. Twisted blood says:

    Just some background on the NFL. Tampa is a tiny market. It’s also near the epicenter of the real estate bubble pop in the States. Attendances are down all over the league. Also, for the price of taking the family to one home game, you can purchase a Directv satellite package that will deliver every NFL game via satellite. In the recession, this deal is killing attendance. We should also recognize that NFL teams only host 8 league games a season with a few preseason exhibitions thrown in. It’s nothing like the 30 odd games the Reds host. Matchday revenue drives Premier league club revenue. Not so the NFL. Discounting home games in the NFL doesn’t hurt the owner much. On the contrary, for the Reds, it would be a killer…..

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