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Stars And Gripes
Tony Cascarino: While Manchester United fans protest at Malcolm Glazer's take-over, one of their most celebrated old boys has performed a miracle at West Brom
Tony Cascarino, 20 May 2005
I’m all for fans caring about their clubs and having a say, but the reaction to Malcolm Glazer taking over at Manchester United has been totally ridiculous.
To turn round and say like the Shareholders United group have that “They may have to draft in the army to police the Cup Final” is, at best, stupid and, at worst, an incitement to violence.
I said it two weeks ago, and I’ll say it again now – Malcolm Glazer wouldn’t be getting half the flak he’s getting now if he wasn’t American. So what if he’s not fully au fait with the off-side rule? He’s demonstrated by acquiring a 75% stake in Man U that he’s an astute businessman, and an astute businessman knows that the best way to make money out of a club is to be successful on the pitch.
There’s no doubt in my mind that if Roman Abramovich had taken over two years ago at Old Trafford, there’d have been the same bleating from fans as there is now. I bet you a penny to a pound, if Manchester United win the league next season, they’ll be waving the Stars & Stripes and chanting “There’s only one Malcolm Glazer!”
Being opposed to the takeover is one thing, but burning effigies of a man they don’t even know outside Old Trafford, and threatening John Magnier and JP McManus with all sorts because they offloaded their shares amounts to mob hysteria. It’s like the tiny percentage of people in the anti-foxhunting movement who give their cause a bad name by vandalising property and scuffling with police. They’re not level-headed people with a gripe, they’re idiots.
One of the complaints is that he’s going to put ticket prices up. Well, given that United fans pay half what Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham pay to see their team, I don’t see much harm in that. Wayne Rooney didn’t cost half what Didier Drogba did because his side are based in the North-West. When something’s the hottest show in town, like United have been for the past 15 years, you pay accordingly.
As for doing an AFC Wimbledon and entering FC United in the North West Counties League, good luck! I can’t imagine too many of the Old Trafford faithful wanting to swap top of the table clashes with Chelsea for tricky away trips to Skelmersdale United.