With the new Premiership season fast approaching, and the Glazer family still firmly in charge at Old Trafford, one question that Manchester United fans must ask themselves is: where does the Green and Gold campaign go from here?
The return of the football season marks a crossroads for the campaign, and it’ll be interesting to see the extent of its popularity once United kick off the season against Newcastle. When the campaign first came about during last season, it made for an impressive sight; a 75,000-seater stadium filled with fans all wearing alternate colours in protest at the financial treatment of their football club.
I guarantee that this is something the Glazers could ever come up against in the NFL, where teams are routinely moved to a different city without fan protest.
What did the campaign mean, though? The sight of thousands of Norwich fans turning up at Old Trafford is more likely to confuse them than get them to sell up. In the beginning, it represented the discontent of Manchester United fans; not a minority of radicals, but United fans as a collective entity.
It is only when you break down that entity into the individuals that make it up that the cracks in the campaign begin to appear. There are fans who come from Manchester, who go to European aways, who have an intangible passion for their football team: the Green and Gold campaign could not exist without these people – people who understand what’s happening to the club, people who care about the welfare of Manchester United.
And then there’s the other end of the scale. The United fan from Hampshire, having his big day out at Old Trafford. This fan wants to appear like the Proper United Fan he wishes to be, and as such, will associate himself with the campaign by buying a Green and Gold scarf outside the ground from some crook for six quid (you can, and should, buy them directly from MUST, ensuring your money goes towards helping the campaign).
Despite his new-found identity as a Proper United Fan, he will not want to waste his big day by coming home empty-handed, so he will go to the Megastore, stock up on as much official merch as possible (pens, mugs, blenders, condoms, surgical equipment etc) and wander round shamelessly clutching his bag of goodies whilst proudly sporting his fashionable scarf. This is what the campaign has descended to: lining the pockets of the Glazers whilst pretending to oppose them.
So what needs to be done? There is one thing that was touted as an idea for much of last season, but never formally organised: boycotting Old Trafford.
It’s a controversial idea, admittedly, and to some will represent the antithesis of what it means to be a football fan. But it needs to be done. Match day revenue is Manchester United’s primary source of income: if fans can convince the Glazers that they would be prepared to deny them this, then this is where they must be hit. The Glazers are on the ropes, after an almost unprecedented price freeze for the upcoming season. But United fans cannot rest on their laurels from here.
The only problem here is: this is Manchester United. The biggest football club in the world. If you get every die-hard United fan going to boycott a certain game, there’s still a million and one idiots ready and willing to take their place. Such a boycott would have to extremely well-publicised and generate a lot of support beforehand in order for it to go ahead. A badly supported boycott would only serve to highlight the division between United fans, and portray a campaign that people have worked passionately and tirelessly on as half-hearted. But the Green and Golders need to at least have a crack at it. Otherwise it’ll be just another season of waving trendy scarves.
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