MARTIN SAMUEL: Some betray the message at Old Trafford but there was nobility in the midst of the massacre
Put those who have abandoned the cause aside for a moment. They fought with the police, who threw missiles, who used legitimate protest as a new excuse to fall on tears.
Forget them, as we must for the sake of the movement. There was nasty, as so often on these occasions; there are those who abuse the right to dissent for their own ends.
Still, despite all the nuisance, inconvenience and inconvenience on Sunday around Old Trafford, this was not the worst football day. It was a good day, you might even say.
Manchester United fans stormed Old Trafford on Sunday, with Liverpool’s game being canceled
Football club owners, including Glazers, cannot ignore this day in Premier League history
Good even without a match. Good, despite the bad. It was a day when many supporters expressed their feelings in a way that really summed up the anger surrounding the Super League sell-off.
It was a day that owners ignore at their peril. This was the networking moment of football. The fans were crazy as hell: and they weren’t going against it anymore.
They certainly had no intention of taking distant, uncommunicative overlords who believe our game is their revenue stream. They wouldn’t see loyalty as a stick to defeat the loyalists.
They weren’t going to say nothing, they weren’t going to have no voice, they weren’t going to take this: what football has become and where it’s going.
Those who took the demonstration too far should be shunned for betraying the message
The cancellation of such a party tent is a crucial message for all owners of the big clubs
Therefore, those who betray that message in favor of bloody combat and entry-level theft and vandalism should be ignored and disowned. This was a bit more serious than getting your self-aggrandizing selfie on top of the goalposts, or getting away with the corner flag.
This wasn’t about throwing a bottle at a police horse. There was nobility in the midst of the massacre. This may have been the start of something special. It shouldn’t change the ownership of football clubs, but if it succeeds, it will change the direction of those clubs. And when it does, it also changes the game.
Pull it off the edge. Save it from the moribund imaginations of the super rich. Manchester United and Liverpool wanted Project Big Picture – and now they have one.
The opposition to the Super League includes the biggest pictures: club ownership, competition, tradition, fair play, culture. The green and gold movement at Manchester United had been eased to the margins in the past by success.
Fans’ discontent with their billionaire owners has boiled over after the Super League’s plans
United started by winning titles, reaching three Champions League finals, and the rebellion fell. This one may not be so easy to calm down. Manchester United won their last game 6-2 to be within reach of a European final; Liverpool came in this season after a Champions League victory and a first Premier League title.
None of these clubs are Arsenal in the center of the table, where rebellion is almost self-evident. In Liverpool, the owners certainly had tremendous credit. Not anymore, it seems.
Yes, there were some stubborn kids walking around the Old Trafford field, robbing their phones and showing off. And there were some dangerous crooks who dumbly threw torches at Jamie Carragher on the Sky stage or chopped law enforcement officers with bottles.
But those who organized this show of organized anger, who want to hold the Glazers accountable for buying and selling their club, are not covered for the hits or the war stories.
They want representation or at least to be heard and taken seriously. They want their support and protection to mean more than a number on a balance sheet. Yesterday’s goal, which was circulating within fan groups, was to stop the match to draw attention to their dissatisfaction.
The little faith fans had in owners has gone, and they want their clubs to be well looked after
Their success was an unlikely victory. It wasn’t as if Manchester United hadn’t been warned. Reports from last week told about 10,000 protesters. Perhaps the club took them lightly, because the way the Big Six felt some carefully crafted statements would make it all go away.
At The Lowry Hotel, where fans gathered to deliver their message to the team and United staff, police told protesters that their continued presence kept players in their rooms and the game stopped.
Rather than being intimidated, those at the edge of the crowd rushed to strengthen the cordon. The law-abiding fans rightly condemned the violence, but were not ashamed of what they had done.
The six clubs have underestimated the depth of the feeling in this country about fairness and competition. They have underestimated how important the right to dream is to the soul of football.
We all know Manchester United will be bigger than Leicester; but we feel passionately that Leicester should have the right to get better, if they can. Even Manchester United fans believe this. Because if your club doesn’t have to earn the status of the greatest and the best, what value is an achievement?
The protests overflowed and it was only a minority who caused the scrapping with the police
So while there was a dark side to the protests, and a light side – two guys in green and gold wearing a big Glazers Out banner, grinning enjoyed mimicking the stewards’ actions, polite cars from the terrain to lead when delayed – usually there was a serious side to it.
The clashes with the police and the field invasion are the most compelling footage – the ground crew were still working on the surface before the match when the first intruders came in – but the vast majority of those in attendance were absolutely sincere in their protests. What hope they have of achieving those goals is another matter.
The Glazers are venture capitalists. If it is no longer worth owning Manchester United they will sell and clearly that point has not yet been reached. What would make it worthwhile?
A simple combination: a buyer with about £ 3 billion and an investment whose value was declining. Still, the second part of that equation requires even more concerted effort than was needed to organize Sunday’s demonstration.
It requires boycotts of merchandise, maybe even ticket sales. It requires supporters to stop supporting. It is very difficult to do. Adidas, however, is not impressed by a dip in Manchester United shirt sales this year. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
There was a lot of support outside for the 50 + 1 ownership model, but not even the most optimistic revolutionaries can see that happening. A conservative government – or any other electable Labor government – is not about to seize the assets of a private company.
The massive brawl from Manchester United fans must be the start of more fan action
People are becoming aware of the value of football to communities and want to take back control
Nor will it interfere with the right to vote to give the fans the required 51 percent say. What can happen if more protests follow – but only if they are peaceful – is that the government feels pressured enough to provide charters or supporter representation at the executive level. Another start.
And that is why the protest movement is at a tipping point. Attacking police officers with bottles, throwing barricades at horses, outbreaks of violence, random vandalism, they are argument losers. These are actions that a party of law and order cannot see that they are surrendering.
Every lurid image of a missile being launched or a punch being thrown plays into the hands of those who believe that football is populated by criminals and deserves little attention in a time of real crisis.
Yet there were also many good people at that demonstration. People who see the value of football to countries and communities, who recognize the attempt to steal it from us for personal gain, as anathema, a step to recognize.
Who saw the selfishness, the greed, the ripple effect that would be felt and impoverish everything but the few elite. And those who stood against it and showed their anger.
Maybe not quite in Tampa, but here, where there is also the power to bring about change. This starts here.