United's anti-Glazer fans threaten a 'nuisance war'

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The Independent Football

Manchester United fans engaged in the bitter campaign against Malcolm Glazer's takeover of the club are to start wearing red and white wristbands saying "Not For Sale".

Manchester United fans engaged in the bitter campaign against Malcolm Glazer's takeover of the club are to start wearing red and white wristbands saying "Not For Sale".

Proceeds from the selling of the 100,000 bands will go to funding legal challenges in an attempt to stop the American multi-millionaire taking overall control. The fans' group Shareholders United also say the sales will undermine the club's highly lucrative merchandising "really hitting Glazer where it hurts".

The supporters have threatened to cause " sheer pandemonium" at next week's FA Cup final against Arsenal at the Millennium Stadium through a range of protests including blocking turnstiles, hurling thousands of beach balls on to the pitch and a"Gandhi-esque" gesture of sitting down on the field.

Other, more extreme tactics being suggested are forging of tickets to create safety problems which will lead to the game being abandoned, and creating such mayhem that commercial sponsors and advertisers will withdraw backing.

Mr Glazer, who has 74.81per cent of the shares, expects to get to the crucial 75 per cent this morning which will allow him to take the club back into private ownership. This would leave United owing £540m because he funded the takeover by borrowing.

The fans say they fear Mr Glazer will asset-strip, with star players such as Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Ruud Van Nistelroy being sold if big enough offers are made by clubs such as Chelsea and Real Madrid.

It is believed 78-year-old Mr Glazer, owner of the US football club Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will try to redraw TV rights to games. He and his sons are said to feel United should gain more in media revenues than the present £ 50m annually by negotiating their own contracts. But Mr Glazer will need the backing of 13 other clubs for that, under the rules of Premier League constitution. That seems unlikely.

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