IMUSA calls for ST boycott but groups still split

April 29, 2010 Tags: , , Opinion 18 comments

The Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA) has called for fans to renew season tickets late – if at all – as the campaign to force the Glazer family out gathers momentum. United’s oldest supporters’ group has come closest to calling for a full boycott by urging season ticket holders to starve the Glazer family of cash.

IMUSA, which is separate from the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), argues that matchday tickets are readily available, with the sole benefit of a season ticket that “you get to sit in the same seat each week.”

“We all know that hundreds of millions are going out of the club in interest payments,” added an IMUSA statement this week

“What has recently also become apparent is the Glazers’ intention to take upwards of £400 million out of the club for themselves.

“We can stop them doing this but only if we starve them of cash, so that what money there is has to be spent on Manchester United Football Club, not funding the lifestyles of its unwelcome owners.”

The group’s three-point plan urges season ticket holders not to renew and refrain from purchasing anything that will add to the Glazer family’s profit, including on matchdays.

IMUSA’s call is in stark contrast to MUST, which has successfully lobbied the political parties to include football club ownership on the election agenda but made no clear stance on a boycott.

Indeed, the groups have maintained a – friendly – split although it has never been clear why separate supporter group agendas are necessary. Or even productive.

While IMUSA campaigns on fans’ issues such as prices, access to tickets and a long-running safe standing campaign, MUST focuses tightly in on the ownership issue.

IMUSA, founded in 1995, grew from supporters’ frustrations with the matchday experience, while MUST is the evolution of Shareholders United Against Murdoch – the group that successfully lobbied against BSkyB’s bid for the club in 1998.

Sadly, the strength of a single voice supporters’ voice has as yet not been manifested and the split offers only indecision over the issue of supporter ownership. Nobody wants the Glazers but there’s little agreement on how to rid the club of its leech.

IMUSA’s call to not renew is admirable though and behind the scenes it is hopeful that the group is working with MUST and the Red Knights to build a coherent strategy.

Hopeful but somehow doubtful as factionalism and personal agendas dominate.

There’s the rub. While the Glazer family’s overwhelming drain on club resources over the next seven years is without doubt, fans groups and potential bidders alike show no consistency of thought in how to deal with the problem.

Perhaps Smiley’s Red Issue editorial this month has something to it.

“We’ve really shot our bolt now with this green and gold thing haven’t we?” ponders the somewhat defeatist commentator.

“Day-trippers roaming in and out of the Megastore laden with plastic bags and a protest scarf around their neck isn’t really doing any favours.

“MUST will no doubt still be wasting their money on meaningless posters while actually doing nothing of any use while… renewals will be posted back to the Old Trafford ticket office without a second thought.”

While Smiley’s column is symptomatic of RI’s general disdain for MUST, it also represents the split between different factions. And if supporters can’t agree on how to rid the club of the Glazers what hope is there?

“Part those hairy cheeks and grimace,” concludes Smiley.

“It’s quite obvious to anyone who isn’t on the current owners’ payroll that the club’s going to spend 2010/11 getting royally f*cked by the Glazers.”


gazno77 - April 29, 2010 Reply

Great piece. I fully agree that the fragmented supporters groups are not really doing anything but leaving fans confused.

Ed – out of interest are you renewing your season ticket?

I’m pretty torn about that strategy myself. I’m not a season ticket holder and only manage to get to 6-8 matches a year. As much as I’d love to give the Glazers a bloody nose by not buying tickets, I still love watching United live – as we all do – and that factor may well outweigh all else when it comes to a decision for supporters around renewing. I’m not an economic expert and don’t pretend to understand the financial situation in total, but this strategy to restrict cash-flow sounds a bit desperate and can only restrict us from buying in players.

Part of me thinks that while boycotting matches is honourable, unless there’s a takeover strategy in place it’s only going to leave empty seats and have a negative impact on the team.

Also, there must be concerns that once people start boycotting, and the team start a slow decline, it could lead to a situation where we’ll never get those season ticket holders back

Ed - April 29, 2010 Reply

My take on this is it has to be organised, co-ordinated and the call for non-renewal should come together with a Red Knights bid. MUST membership shot up 50,000 in two days once the Knights announced they were forming. If the Knights say – we’re bidding, now don’t renew – and that message is firmly backed by MUST and IMUSA then it’ll have a big effect.

As it is IMUSA is saying don’t renew, well ok renew if you really want but if you do, then do it late and don’t buy beer. MUST is saying sweet FA. Weak, very very weak.

The Glazers will allow lots of silly season speculation about top players just to keep ST holders excited and take advantage of supporter groups inability to organise more than some flag waving.

In the end it’ll come down to cash. The Knights only get United cheaper if the club’s finances are “distressed” – that’ll take a massive boycott. Otherwise it’s all about market price and whether the Knights can find the cash.

RedAlert260599 - April 29, 2010 Reply

OK then lets give in before we’ve even had a chance to see if our protests work. Come on, what does it matter if there are slight difference of opinions and slightly different targets? Let’s get together over the issue of getting shut of the Glazers and concentrate on that instead of wining about why the protests are not going to work. IMUSA – (The People’s Front of Judea) MUST (The Judean People’s Front)- Fkn splitters!
We’re all Red. Lets get shut of the Romans please and no more bickering till it’s done!

tommy - April 29, 2010 Reply


Ambrose Smith - April 29, 2010 Reply

“While IMUSA campaigns on fans’ issues such as prices, access to tickets and a long-running safe standing campaign, MUST focuses tightly in on the ownership issue.”

Seeing as the two factions are concentrated on such distinct targets, why is it so difficult to get together ?

United have so many fans that a consensus is never going to be easy, but what is the raison d’etre for supporters groups but to have the strongest voice possible representing all fans. Grow up lads and get together for the common good.

ja - April 29, 2010 Reply

It is now or never really.
Boycott for short term disruption or bend over and take it up the arse from the Glazers for ever.

aj - April 29, 2010 Reply

disgrace, imusa and must are rtying to ruin us, trying to prevent cash getting to the club and they call themsleves manutd supporters….don’t make me laugh.

disgraceful actions to spite the glazers, and now they are trying to send us into trouble jsu to get in a bunch of poor nits who wants to use debt to make the takeover, jsut like the glazers did all those years ago, but now its alright becuase the nits wants to debt us up and take our cash and dont say they wont, because we know they are sjut like the glazers.

fighting debt and yet supporting people who will put us in debt to take over the club.

real supporters like myself supports the club no matter what, not these idiots trying to ruin us.

give me areal consortium, not the red nits.

red nits.
1. will make a 1.2 b cash bid
2. then it was force the price down to 7oo m cash
3. now it is 7oom and the bond (debt) a leveraged take over jsut like the glazers.

the red nits are no betetr then the glazers adn you idiots cant see it.

you rather sell green and gold and make money at the real fans expense, when you should give it away for free.

or better yet, stops this pathetic protest and grow up.

try supporting manchester united.

aj - April 29, 2010 Reply

and anyone who boycotts, dont even tink of coming back.

and you are only trying to ruin my club, you are a disgrace.

manchester united for-ever, though thick and thin, the good and the bad, the success and hard times, i will always back my club…..always.

aj - April 29, 2010 Reply

we still make loads of cash and are run very well finanacially, and the debt is only 46% of the clubs annual income..not this 75 p of every £ rubbish which would be like 75%.

only 46% goes on the debt…..46% which is not even half the years income.


we are manchester united and we will never die.

Real Red - April 29, 2010 Reply

Hey AJ you’re not a bigot by any chance are you ?

BTW Ed, someone should inform Smiley that the Megastore is owned by Nike since not long after the Glazers took over.

Ed - April 29, 2010 Reply

@Aj – Everybody will make their own decision on not renewing and I’m certainly not going to lecture anybody else on their choices. Just so we’re clear this blog isn’t aligned with any group or the Knights. We try to give an independent and informed view.

But I’d urge you to get real on the debt effect because you’ve got it badly wrong. Try reading for some very good analysis on the debt from somebody who works in the City.

– Total debt is currently at more than 200% of annual turnover;
– Annual interest on the bond is just under 50% of gross profit – you mention 46% but that’s interest on the bond only;
– When the bond matures in 2017 it will still be worth £500m;
– The bond also enables the Glazers to remove dividends and management fees to pay down the £200m PiK debt too;
– The Glazers will remove about £130m in United’s cash this season, which isn’t hyperbole, its in the bond document;
– United made a £6.4m profit last season only because Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid;
– There’s no cash for transfers – only a £75m overdraft facility (more debt).

RedAlert260599 - April 29, 2010 Reply

AJ,Obviously you like to “bend over and take it up the arse”.

CES Chief - April 30, 2010 Reply

Dear all,

This boycott will not be tolerated, I can assure you of that. Anyway, Mr Glazer is currently in discussions with Japanese fans groups regarding season tickets. They would be prepared to pay double the current season ticket price and fly their fans to Manchester if neccessary. Unfortunately the uncertainty around possible further volcanic eruptions in Iceland has delayed this plan slightly. There are also tentative plans to sell Old Trafford to Manchester City and relocate Man U to London. Man U have a significant following in the Southern parts of the country and sell out crowds, at higher ticket prices, will be almost certain. Mr Glazer has everything under control, I can assure you of that.

Yours sincerely,

CES Chief

aj - April 30, 2010 Reply

ok ED, i hear where you are coming from, i jsut dont agree with the way MUST and IMUSA are doing things or the demand of boycotts as we are still a very strong run club and makes plenty of cash every year.

yea i dont mind the idea of news owners as i hate the debt, but are the knights really the way to go?

i’d like a new owners to rid the debt straight away and let fergie get on with business how he does things aswella s keeping all the business sides running strong into the future as the club is looked after and not messed with in anyway.

RedAlert260599, i don’t take nothing up the arse from nobody, i jsut don’t see how boycotting is a good idea, because it is not.

Real Red, no i’am not a bigot.

united rules.

Ram - May 3, 2010 Reply

Good post

MancsTogether - August 4, 2011 Reply

When will this happen? Some ppl, meejah primarily, can’t tell diff between SAF’s success & Gimps fund starvations. Promised 25m/wdw got about 2m/wdw. Gimps have lied consistently now for 6 years, when are true fans / loyal Reds going to do something about it??
How much money has been removed from clun in 6 years? Debt was about 280m @ leveraged (hostile) takeover – remember David ‘Safe Hands’ Gill quoting that Debt is the road to ruin in Aug 2004 – debt is now over 1,000m according to STimes about 4 weeks ago – 990m + 43m in 2010 & 83m in 2011. When are supporters going to stop this feeding frenzy for the Glazers & do something about ridding ourselves of these parasites?

captainhormone - August 4, 2011 Reply

tbf i dont think my 2 year boycott of Old Trafford is doing anything

MancsTogether - August 4, 2011 Reply

amendments – at takeover debt was 280m + PIKs. Clun should read club obv.
numpties should say JCL’s, Glory Hunters, Tourists, no-nowts, Corporate business deal-makers.

The PL & the flawed Glazer model way of doing things is slowly causing clubs to implode from within. The future is bright; let’s make sure MU are there to reap the rewards.

Gimps & Gimp lovers out NOW.

Add your comment