Protest pearl-clutchers should give their heads a wobble…

Editor F365

The Man Utd protests continue to keep the Mailbox busy. Keep those mails flooding in to…


Won’t somebody think of the children?
What on earth is with the pearl clutching from some of you absolute bores? “I support people’s right to protest but going on the pitch is too far!” Why? It’s a football pitch. Who cares? For football fans waking up the fact that football clubs should at least in part belong to the fans, then why create this performative, arbitrary line that says that those same fans who had the temerity to go on the pitch before a match should hang their heads in shame. I wonder if everyone who calls regular football fans “thugs” realise that they are contributing to the stereotyping and demonising of working class people.
Matt in Berlin (where people understand that protest is a normal sign of a healthy and functioning society).


Congo comparison
I’m still very confused about Sunday’s events. As a Liverpool fan disgusted by the ESL proposal I fully sympathise with the sentiment and the desire to remove the incumbent owners at United but the methods just don’t sit with me. I find it very hard to condone some of the behaviour and cant brush it off with the argument that it’s only a minority. When you go down the road of angry coordinated protests thuggery goes with the territory.

I also don’t see what these methods will help change. I’m all for 51% fan ownership but I just cant see it happening. I watched a program recently on the history of the Congo and while the ownership of a football club does not in any way equate to the struggles of this unfortunate country it did concisely illustrate human nature especially when there’s serious money involved. In the early 1900s huge international pressure was put on king Leopold of Belgium to give up the territory due to his horrific treatment of the people (and his obnoxious pillaging) however as soon as he did the next set of greedy sub humans moved in and started another money grab. The country is still being exploited to this day. Rampant capitalism let loose wont ever stop until everything possible has been exploited for profit.

Yes Barcelona and Bayern (and the Bundesliga in general) are examples of where supporter ownership works however this was in place at these clubs before the big money ever came into football. I couldn’t see it happening at these clubs today given all the money sloshing about, there’s just too much to lose. You could argue that the Barca fan ownership is already being diluted with potential presidents having to put up 10% of the clubs worth to be elected – this seriously reduces your options on the kind of person that ultimately takes control.

I’m also confused with Sky becoming a mouth piece for inciting protests when its completely dependent on the current business model and maintaining the status quo. They have to acknowledge that a huge part of the reason why billionaires decided to buy into premier league clubs in the first place was due to the money they pumped in.

The Premier League, FIFA and UEFA are completely compromised as they have their greasy hands in the till. The only hope is government intervention, it has to be legislated for (they’ve paid enough populist lip service to it). I feel this is where the pressure should come to bear. Mob rule will only end badly, for everyone.


Monday Mailbox: Neville should be sacked; ulterior Man Utd motives


Football is rotten
Once the genie of enlightenment has been released, it will be hard to put back again. Of course, that is what many of the fans want – for the course of football history to be perpetually changed – to something idyllic. Usually being referenced how the game has changed for the worse – and then trying to pick some previously idyllic period.

There were many, including this website, that were lauding those fans that caused the postponement of the match. Everyone has been using some phrase such as “not that I am condoning…” to actually condone what happened. To join this and the paragraph above, I recall going to games when drunken louts would attack fellow fans, opposition fans, heck, anything moving or stationary anywhere close to the ground. I didn’t see a lot of difference on Sunday, other than flet they had a purpose for their smashing everything in sight.

I don’t want us going back to an age when controlling mobs was considered almost impossible and a ‘football’ problem, such that it deterred fans, especially those with families from going within a mile or two of a ground on match days. With people like Gary Neville and Carragher condoning these activities and attempting to degrade or muzzle the opposition, we have now entered a situation where many will see no bounds to their anarchy and protest.

At the same time, we have the EPL and the FA considering options to prevent an equivalent of the ESL by attempting to put in clauses around the ownership of clubs. Really? The FA has been an absolute disgrace of a body for…well, forever. A board that doesn’t represent the diversity of the players and fans and is not anywhere close to being fit and proper is going to help decide what is fit and proper for everyone else?

Sky and Sky pundits telling everyone how terrible it was for the 6 clubs to foment an exit from the European competitions, when Sky spearheaded the EPL breaking from the EFL.

This all just seems to ‘twee’ for those promoting and condoning this dissent to further their causes. If all those august bodies decided to take a deeper look at themselves at the same time they are going to castigate the 6 or 12 clubs, I would be all for it, but they’re not. They are just using this to bolster their own positions on the back of fans who are being used to create havoc in their interest.

In reality, the Glazers have been awful owners and have been taking from the club. But it would be hard to say the other 5 club owners have taken from their clubs any more than, say, Mike Ashley at Newcastle or the many other foreign-owned clubs. In fact, the concern of UEFA and FFP was that those owners would leave the club and leave it burdened with debt from the money owners have ‘loaned’ the clubs. Overspending to fulfill the desires of their fickle fans. Can we claim that all the other 14 owners are also ‘fit and proper’?

Something is rotten with the state of football but it is hard to work out exactly what over the stench of hypocrisy.
Paul McDevitt


Sponsors next
It seems to me that the only way to affect the Glazers is through their pockets. The only quick, effective and immediate strategy is to concentrate on United’s sponsors. All sponsors gain kudos, respectability and profit by being associated with a high status, respectable and cool organisation. That link can be severed immediately if the institution sponsored becomes toxic. We can demand sponsors break their links with United, it should not be difficult to point out that their organisations will no longer benefit from the association with United, which is now a brand in turmoil. If they do not listen we can mobilise United fans throughout the world to join a campaign to attack their products, marketing campaigns, and their owners. Why would they pay to sponsor United when their sponsorship would lead to a harmful effect on their “image” and reduce their profits ?
Don Limon (Stretford)


Violent delights have violent ends
Reading the most recent mails makes me appreciate being in the US and watching the NBC crew discuss matters with more level heads. The 2 Robbies put it best. Instead of us talking about the effectiveness of the protests, we are now talking about the unnecessary violence and the resemblance of hooliganism.


How to provoke change
The fallout from the storming of the footballing castle by Man Utd fans, which has by and large united fans in support, has been interesting.

Immediately following the cancellation of the match, the BBC pundits were unsure what stance to take but took a starting point of exaggeration. Then the calls moved from extreme at one end (picket lines) to the other with armchair fans pitching in with criticisms.

But the split between commentators (not the idiots who talk over the football) and pundits was curious. Most seemed to sense the right place was in support of the principle, though not necessarily the delivery, yet Souness has maybe unsurprisingly decided to go his own way, with his desperation to be Mr controversial. Indeed, he is part of the problem. People like him who make their shilling from the money men, the companies like Sky who have made much of their money from football, who don’t want to upset the goose.

But even with his background, it was hard to believe what he said. That it’s from jealousy, misdirected anger and other bollocks.

The only way things will change is if the people in charge stop having their pockets lined. Stopping football matches, getting players on side to strike, not buying season tickets, not buying the new kits, not paying Sky Sports subscriptions until pundits like Souness are ditched. Money is all they care about and when their pockets are lighter because of their actions, then change will happen.

Will all this get the Glaziers and their ilk out? Who knows, but if it means there are rules about ownership (to prevent the corrupt, the human rights abusers or sociopaths), 50+1% to supporters groups, if ticket prices are capped, if the trickle down from PL is improved, if FA are forced to be better generally, then it will have been a success.

Solidarity is the only way forwards.


…Few things I feel need saying here, as a ‘sensible’ United fan:
– Saying the Glazers have spent $X on transfers is the same as having someone walk up to you, punch you twice in the face, take your wallet and throw a couple of bills from it on your prone body as they walk away.
– The idiots that committed crimes and initiated violence yesterday in the protests should be arrested and dismissed by the greater United community as the idiots they are. Don’t give ammo to the naysayers.
– Anyone arguing these are happening because of United being 2nd and ‘safe’ are clearly children too young to remember the enormous protests in the same season as United literally won the league.
– United should be punished. I welcome it. Keep it headline news.
– Nothing will happen without government intervention. There is no market force powerful enough, nor fanbase disciplined enough to change the Glazers mind through protest. Good news is that the current PM seems to change his mind by whatever he reads each morning, so see the previous point.
Ryan, Bermuda


Crime and punishment
Punishing Manchester United as a club seems like a ridiculous idea. They have their own security team and the police have their presence, but unless you think United(and every other premier league team) needs their own riot security, there is not much they could have done.

The security of the facility will surely have to be looked at and modified but this would also be a wake up call for every club in the country as well as the FA and even how police secure games.(They did a good job in fairness)

On this case I am with the protesting supporters outside the stadium but as Richie mentioned, it had shades of Washington DC when it comes to breaking in and smashing things out of frustration in the stadium.

Make things uncomfortable for the Glazers, not the fans, the staff, the team and the kids.
Calvino (200 fans broke in, 1 billion didn’t, let’s not cast the entire support in the same light)


OPINION: Man United are a zombie club; can fans change that?


Relegate us
To start, let’s be frank…Gary Neville is NOT Trump and yesterday’s actions were NOTHING compared to the capitol riot. Anyone who thinks so is A- naive B- a mucking foron or C- delusional to the point of having completely lost track with reality and in desperate need of help

Im and ex-pat who lives in the US. The capitol riot was genuine domestic terrorism. 4 people died on the scene and a few more later. Yesterday, United supporters (yes, SUPPORTERS) got onto the pitch instead of the players and a match was postponed…oh dear. (Actually, now I’ve written this down, I can see the close comparison!)

Ideally,(won’t happen) I’d like to see the league relegate us for our ‘behavior’. Revenue will be down, and it might make the Glazers notice that all is not right in the world. Would we lose some players?? Perhaps, but what’s the long term harm in that? The youth team looks strong and we can always rebuild. Let’s say we’re stuck in the Championship for a few seasons or we go down further…ok then. If that’s what it takes to get rid of the parasitic ownership we have, then so be it. At least we can then look forward to a wet windy night at Stoke!!


Point scoring
The fallout from the protests in Manchester and the bickering between rival fans is a clear indication of why the ESL, or some form of it, will eventually materialise.

Lots of rival fans have praised, or at least supported, the actions of the majority of the United fans in their anti-Glazer protest, United fans were always going to be inventive and organised (?) and it has got everyone talking.

However, the latest comments on various F365 pages have ignored this and descended into point scoring and raking up old, irrelevant wounds, one person even brought up Heysel!

All this shows that it will be virtually impossible to show solidarity between the fans and unless there is a concerted and unanimous collective, the owners will dismiss protests as “just a few idiots in the minority”.

Football fans now have a platform to build on and to try and effect change, but this will not happen if local rivalries get in the way. I have had lots of arguments with fans from other clubs but always with “at the end of the day, it’s only football” firmly in my mind, this isn’t, this is a way of life, a tradition, generations of “it’s only football” and petty rivalries will derail the message.

Put loyalty to one side and make the message clear.
Howard Jones


Manchester United protestors top Winners and Losers


Sticky business
Just wondering on an unrelated note..

I have been a fan of a local chocolate syrup since my childhood. But now they have decided to change the recipe because they are trying to tap a new market. Am I allowed to go protest.

I mean – I don’t own the brand. I contribute nothing towards it except my loyalty up till this point. But I have felt very strongly towards it along with my friends since childhood. Also our distance to the factory is lesser than this new market they want to tap. So surely we are entitled to get together and go rioting around their factories !!!

Pathetic !!!
Akshay Varma (One of those Asian fans ruining the game)

Man United F365

What next?
Firstly let me say I wholeheartedly support the protest by Man Utd fans on Sunday bar the injuring of any person or any other clearly illegal act. I hope they can one day rid themselves of the Glazers and that all football clubs can realistically strive toward the ownership models we see in Germany.

However, i’m finding the talk around the bi-product of Sunday afternoon – what now happens to the unfulfilled Premier League fixture – rather confusing and quite galling.

The main reason for the postponement of the game were the actions of United fans around and inside the stadium, and apparently in Manchester itself by blockading their own team in its hotel?! On one of the UK’s most popular football podcasts earlier a United supporting journalist who was present at the protest stated the protesting crowd was by no means sober; in a national newspaper article a United fan from one of its most well known fanzines admitted that one of the aims had been to stop the match from being played.

And the other main reason the game was unable to take place as planned was the inability of Manchester United FC themselves to provide the necessary secure environment.

So, with these facts in mind I find it amaz- well actually no I don’t, we all know why the fixture has to be played – money. Because let me be clear, what should happen is that the match and the points are awarded to Liverpool as a 3-0 win (and United pay back all the money owed in the TV contract). Now I don’t expect much sympathy right now for Liverpool the club as one of the Shithouse Six, nor the coaches and players as very well renumerated adults, but on a sporting level Liverpool have had near enough a week of their time wasted by the situation created solely by all those connected to Man U. That week was also something Man U didn’t have, but that was due to the natural, known in advance, course of a season if you progress in certain competitions.

A quick look online tells me that the perceived wisdom is that Liverpool AND West Brom have to bring forward their game from Sunday 16th May to Wednesday 12th May, so that the Utd – Liverpool game can be played on that Sunday instead. Going back to podcasts and papers for a second, on another of the UK’s most popular football podcasts (in fact probs the No.1) today, one of its contributors said there are currently no dates remaining that ‘suit United’ (because obviously that should be a consideration – ?!) and then a United supporting journalist said ‘but Liverpool can move their match to…..’, no mention whatsoever of West Brom.

Now West Brom’s chances of survival are very slim, but we’re not yet at the impossible goal difference to overturn stage. They are currently due to face Arsenal this Sunday then have a whole week to prepare before facing Liverpool the following Sunday. However they now face the prospect of having their recovery and preparation time cut in half, at short notice, due to an issue which they’ve had nothing whatsoever to do with.

From what I can work out looking at the rest of this season’s calendar, the only bordering on acceptable compromise is for United’s fixture v Leicester on the Weds 12th May to be brought forward 24 hours (Leicester’s game before this is a Friday night) and then United also play Liverpool that week on Thursday 14th May. After all there is only one club that should see itself inconvenienced by all this, and it is United.



After the Glazers
I’m curious. If the Glazers decided to sell up, and I can see no reason why they should let go of a money making machine, whom do United fans suppose would buy the club? I think a value of £3bn was quoted in Monday’s mailbox.

It seems to me that there are two types of billionaires. The first is one who, nonetheless, will require outside finance from such bankers as JP Morgan. Necessarily, this means there are second or third parties who will be seeking either repayment, profit on their stake, or both. Which means debt. Again.

The second is the billionaire that can pay for Man Utd outright. That is to say, the likes of the owners of PSG and City. The Saudis maybe? Would that be OK?

Perhaps a cohort of Roy Keane, the ‘Class of ’92’ and SAF himself could buy the Glazers out? No?

My pemise is this.
1. You’re stuck with what you’ve got.
2. You replace like with like. Or worse.
3. The owners you hate leave and you tumble down the leagues.

Football isn’t f*cked now. It has, inevitably, been f*cked since the creation of the PL and the Sky money pumped into it. The ESL is simply an inevitable extension of that greed. Furthermore, any supporter of the ‘other 14’ that thinks their board wouldn’t have jumped at the chance at being part of the ESL should really think twice.

They, the 14 clubs, would. They absolutely would.
Mark (You may replace the above with either the Kronkes, FSG or ENIC). MCFC