Anti-Glazer protest hits United's cash registers

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The Independent Online

Irate Manchester United fans took their battle with prospective Red Devils owner Malcolm Glazer to the heart of Old Trafford yesterday.

Supporters flooded into the club's Megastore before the Arsenal game and refused to leave, a move they hoped would have a severe effect on United's turnover. The scene turned ugly as the protest broke up, with some supporters hurling beer cans at the front of the store.

At the same time, around 3000 fans embarked on a noisy "Not For Sale" protest down Sir Matt Busby Way. Later, as the teams re-emerged after the half-time break, an effigy of Glazer was dangled from the second tier of the Stretford End, with a banner warning him that messing with United could "seriously damage his health".

The actions came on the day a senior figure within the Glazer camp denied rumours that the American planned to sell Old Trafford and lease it back as part of the financing package for a takeover. "It is not part of our thinking," he said.

Elsewhere, the Sports Minister Richard Caborn said he hopes the Football Association will undertake an independent review before Christmas. Officials at Soho Square have come under criticism following their decision not to take any further action against David Beckham after he admitted he intentionally picked up a booking during the World Cup qualifier against Wales.

Leeds United's finance director Melvyn Helme has hinted that the club are close to securing new investment. He would not comment on reports of a takeover by the American Burl Sheppard but said the board are making progress in attempts to find new money.

"Talks with a number of parties have reached an advanced stage," he said.