United fans plan Glazer protests

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The Independent Online

Manchester United supporters are planning a day of transatlantic action against Malcolm Glazer's takeover plans which will coincide with the next home fixtures at both Old Trafford and the Raymond James Stadium, home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL side owned by Glazer.

Shareholders United, the action group for fans that own shares in Manchester United, is targeting the Premiership side's next home match against Arsenal on 24 October, the same day as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' next home fixture which is against Chicago Bears.

The demonstrations which are planned at both grounds will leave Glazer in no doubt that at least a section of the Old Trafford faithful will do everything to scupper his plans. The lobby group are also targeting Manchester United's annual meeting on 12 November.

Oliver Houston, a spokesman for Shareholders United, said: "United fans act in a spontaneous way but there will be noteworthy things happening." He said he believed that Sir Alex Ferguson would share the views of opponents to the Glazer family's bid, but because the manager is an employee of the company they would not be seeking a public show of support from him.

"Just as we had got over the Rock of Gibraltar row and the Rio Ferdinand affair and the team has started to play as if they really want it, this comes along and blows up in our face. It can only be a distraction for the team," Houston said.

Sepp Blatter, president of football's world governing body, Fifa, hardly found favour among the United support for his outspoken stance on the Rio Ferdinand case, but Shareholders United see the Swiss official as a potential ally because of his publicly expressed fear that the game is becoming too influenced by the dictates of big business.

Consequently, Shareholders United have written to Blatter and urged Fifa to "ensure that football clubs are properly run and encourage supporter ownership".

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