Thoughts of a Manchester United season ticket holder
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Can United fans revolutionise English football?
The first genuine Red Knights announcement is very welcomed by us, the core United fanbase. For the first time I'm now hearing their collective 'nickname' being bounded around in the press...its a start at very least. As I've said this will be a long battle..the Glazers wont just up sticks and swim back across the merry seas. But a sustained use of the press, the Internet and a visual presence at all games will move things in the right direction.
In general, English football is in a great big turgid pile of a mess. Countless clubs have owners that are no longer welcome by their fanbases. For teams like Chester and Pompey, maybe its all a tad too late. Crippled by mis-management and now with a cross to bear that's so heavy it will probably put a full stop at the end of the sentence which is their histories. But its not too late for the rest of us.
I have always been a moderate when it comes to the way football clubs are run. I have always acknowledged that the best way for these clubs to be run is with strict business practices, exploiting financial opportunities and guaranteeing commerce. But the flip side of that is that it must all come back to one single common denominator..and that is that it MUST all be in the name of strengthening the team. Now yes, maybe for a club like United 'Brand Management' is very important, but the truth is without success on the pitch the brand is significantly weakened. The Glazers have provided for that success in recent years..the debt is now shrinking (albeit on paper if not in real terms) But the fact is the business model for the future does not give you confidence that that success will continue. The transfer well seems to be drying up post Berbatov..this could be the beginning of the end.
So now is the time for change for us..and maybe this will show the light for the rest of football in this island nation of ours.
The Green and Gold campaign has only really been here for a handful of games in real time, but has already had the impact we wished for. The message is being translated by tv cameras from Sky and the BBC by the power of a truly visual protest. This is the reason why we cant chuck those season tickets just yet. Can you imagine if every club in this country did the same thing? Rather than kick and scream and vent like naughty children, that they co-ordinated an effective visual protest as we have at United? The news that that would generate? The media interest? My God, the press would have a field day.
Match days have to be the next platform we use more effectively. We have to utilise those few hours around the game kick offs effectively. We have to hold on to our tickets and make sure Old Trafford is near EMPTY. People will say that this doesn't hit the Glazers in the pocket..well I'm convinced those pockets are pretty big..its their mentality that you must challenge.
The bad PR that it would cause the club will effect sponsorship. It would ruin the brand. They will find ways of filling OT if we are not there, even if its not completely full. But if we still hold all the tickets, that place will be a ghost town. AND DO YOU THINK ANY COMPANIES AND BRANDS WILL WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THAT? This is the way forward for us, and any team that wants to revolutionise their club.
The final step will be what happens when the Glazers are gone (and i tell you now that they will go) We must make sure these 'Red Knights' are truly good for our club. Personally i still do not want 'fans' running the club..i want people who are experts in their fields, that will keep the cash circulating through the club, will improve the brand value, and are passionate about the long term future of our teams..i don't want someone that will blow all the cash on players, building a 100,000 seater Old Trafford, and then find that one bad year on the pitch sends us south like Leeds Utd. The grass isn't always greener..
So lets vote with our feet. Lets show English football what can be done. For years we have been labelled as arrogant and glory supporters..lets show that our actions can benefit EVERYONE. From our fellow Prem clubs all the way down to the Non-Leagues. Let us be the trailblazers of a new dawn of English football.
WE are Manchester United. WE will save ourselves. And WE will help save English Football.
Manchester United fan since the age of 9 when he saw Norman Whiteside curl the ball into a Wembley goal in the dying minutes.
He is an Old Trafford season ticket holder in the North Stand Tier 3...and cried tears of joy, on his knees with the many in Moscow.
Rob is a contributing author/editor at Man Utd blogzine 'The Faithful'