In 2005 Malcolm Glazer completed his take over of Manchester United by buying out shareholders; It was a deal that give the American tycoon a controlling stake at the Old Trafford club.
The move was fiercely opposed by supporters of the club because it saddled the club with a massive debt and huge annual interest payments.
Some supporters were so outraged and angered by the Glazer take over of the Manchester club, that it resulted in them refusing to renew their season tickets for the following season under the Americans ownership.
It was a big statement of intent by a certain section of supporters, who disillusioned with the way the club was being run, decided to set up and follow another club named FC United of Manchester, a club that still to this day averages attendances of 2,000.
To give up your season ticket in demonstration of the take over, was considered quite an extreme decision to make. To refuse the opportunity of renewing your season ticket, just meant that somebody on the waiting list would be happy to inherit it and pay the rising annual season ticket fees that the new owners put in place.
So the next statement to make, without giving up going to watch United, was to keep your season ticket, but boycott purchasing any products or sponsors products associated with the club. The most blatant of sins being purchasing official Manchester United merchandise.
Shortly after the take over the “green and gold” campaign was launched. This was an opportunity for supporters who had decided to keep their season tickets, the chance to publicly and visibly, vent their anger and hatred towards the Glazer take over. This was achieved by purchasing a green and gold scarf, the original colours that Manchester United played in when formally known under the name of Newton Heath.
The slogans stitched on the scarves had the initials “LUHG” (Love United Hate Glazer), and “Green and Gold Until The Club is Sold”. To purchase and wear one of these scarves was a statement, you were basically saying that you love united, but are opposed to the owners. It was a campaign that gained much media attention and hostility towards the Glazer family. Supporters launched demonstrations before, during, and after games, that were televised and seen worldwide.
The questions I am asking myself now are, seven years on from the Glazers take over of the club, has the green and gold scarf lost its sense of statement and importance? Do the supporters buying them now realise what it symbolises? Or did David Beckham make it a fashion accessory, by draping one around his neck after a Champions League clash with AC Milan at Old Trafford in 2010?
Any supporter would have noticed that over recent years the campaign has visibly deteriorated from what it was when it was at its strongest. The Stretford End would have been awash with the green and gold colours in the prime of the anti Glazer protest. Today, supporters are no nearer warming to the Americans, but supporters choose to make their statement by wearing plain clothes.
In 2010 following a Champions League clash with AC Milan, David Beckham picked up a green and gold scarf thrown from the Stretford End and wore it around his neck, sparking controversy as the media claimed he was making a statement against the owners. Beckham was quick to talk down the tabloids take on it, but it does make you wonder if he actually made it lose it’s sense importance as overseas supporters suddenly viewed it as the next must have Beckham fashion accessory.
My problem with certain supporters today are the ones who wear the green and gold scarf around their neck, with a United shirt proudly hanging off their shoulders. Or the ones that come marching out of the official megastore with bags in both hands, and a anti Glazer scarf on. Can anybody tell me exactly what point or statement these people are trying to make?
The picture above is a picture I took at Old Trafford on a match day of a supporter in a United shirt and a anti Glazer scarf. Without actually speaking to the man in question, I somehow doubt that he was an anti Glazer extremist, and entered the ground proceeding to sing about how he would cut Malcolm Glazer up from head to toe.
The scarf they wear states that they are opposed to the current owners, it could even say they “hate” the owners on it, but yet they are happy to line their pockets by purchasing official merchandise? In theory It is hypocrisy, they are wearing something that symbolises their allegiance to one cause, and at the same time, financing something that they are opposed too?
The sad thing is that the anti Glazer scarf seems to have lost its sense of importance, status and meaning. Instead of being a symbol of how strongly you feel against the Americans take over of United, it has almost become a fashion accessory for tourists and day trippers who visit Old Trafford on match days. To wear a green and gold scarf with official Manchester United merchandise shows you have a sense of confusion and conflict of allegiance.
By Kevin Ashford @KevinAshford7