Two songs repeatedly reverbarated in the mind when commencing construction of this offering. When will I See You Again and Sing A Powerful Song. The latter being one of a number of emotion-stirring hits for the incomparable Saw Doctors which will forever strike an emotive chord in this seat. Now read on…
Manchester United fans, in their own way, sung the most powerful song possible at their disposal when eventualy causing the postponement of Sunday’s intended home fixture against Liverpool. Their reasoning may have been, to the greatest degree, locally based. Marinated in complete disillusion at the direction in which the Glazer family – and by extension their puppet on a string Ed Woodward – have taken the club. Down. Unacceptably so.
Now, what many deemed the scandalous proposed European Super League gave the Old Trafford faithful their chance to vent what has been snowballing displeasure regarding the direction the club has been going. That has been a recurring issue from the time the Americans seized control of the club.
Looking back, the corrosive impact of the owner’s mismanagement of the once great club was beginning to infest the Old Trafford environment even before Sir Alex Ferguson retired from the dugout. How many top players have the club been linked to in the last decade or so, yet failed to sign.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale and Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland are only a few that spring to mind. Without even pondering what difference one or any of those would’ve made, ask yourself what has the club missed out on by only acquiring the services of Nemenja Matic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani in the twilight of their stellar careers.
Initially at least, it would appear the vast majority of genuine football people understand and empathise with the feelings expressed by the United fans. As best evidenced by similar demonstrations which have been organised by supporters of the other clubs who had been tempted by the Euro signs. None quite as ballsy as forcing the postponement of one of the biggest games in world football. Naturally, the bigwigs in charge of the Premiership were repulsed by such a move. Of course they were. They’ve as much interest in football or those who are essentially the lifeblood of the game – the fans – as has a cow in Bank Holidays. For the individuals and/or companies who now own many of the world’s biggest and best clubs, the bottom line really is the be all and end all.
What they seemingly cannot grasp, though, or simply don’t want to, is that by discomoding the very people who make the clubs of which they are guardians the venerable institutions they are. It is important to pluralise here, for Manchester United are far from alone in that. Stan Kronke and his ilk have had a similarly supressing effect on Arsenal, Venkhys were like a wrecking ball at Blackburn and Blackpool went from being a viable and competitive Premiership team to the brink of footballing oblivian.
The thread linking all the above cases? Owners in the effected clubs who have no interest in or understanding of football. Or, more pertinently in this case, what it means to ordinary people in ordinary places. It’s hardly coincidence that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – also owned by the Glazers – were able to recruit Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski and duly capture the Super Bowl at a time United are seemingly having wads of money taken out of the club.
There are very few owners like John W. Henry who actually apologised to Liverpool fans for his club’s expression of interest in the mooted Super League.
Moreover, surely it’s indicative of the universal displeasure there is felt at the direction the game – or at least certain facets thereof – is going when somebody as staunchly loyal to Liverpool as Jamie Carragher immediately voiced his support for the feelings of the United supporters. If not the manner in which they expressed them.
Whatever about the disruption caused by the manner in which they conducted their objections, the protesters prominent use of green and gold – the colours of Newton Heath F. C. as what is now Manchester United was originally called – the fans have displayed knowledge of, passion about and genuine love for the club. For its history, where it has come from and what it stands for.
It’s time the marauding money makers started to listen.