There’s a lot of negativity around Manchester United
Manchester United is a club, to be a fan of which is at least interesting, not boring, although in recent years the stories around it are more like dramas than some action movies with a happy ending. “Flies” Manchester United on a variety of occasions. They lose to Everton unexpectedly, Cristiano Ronaldo smashes a child’s phone, and in a few days he will celebrate his historic hat-trick, or the fans stage a new wave of protests, or former players turned experts get another bucket of criticism.
Hate on the outside
Manchester United’s last match against Norwich (3-2) was remembered by some for the Ronaldo hat-trick we told you about. But many will attribute it to the resumption of active protests against the management of MU. After all, before this match, United lost at home to Atletico (0-1) in the Champions League, shared points with Leicester (1-1) and lost to Everton (0-1). Popular outrage took an open form.
The protests were organized by members of the fan group The 1958, who marched through the streets of Manchester to Old Trafford before the game with flags and firecrackers, and with insulting shouts at the Glazer family – the American owners of the club. They also boycotted the first 17 minutes of the match against Norwich, a minute for each year under the Glazer family. Among the shouts were the standard calls for the family’s departure, as well as some very ugly wishes for death.
Interestingly, around two thousand fans remained outside Old Trafford by kick-off, urging ordinary late fans to join them, chanting “If you love United, stay outside”. They came to the stadium later, though, missing one of Ronaldo’s three goals. Already in the stadium, a roll call of like-minded people took place with the slogan, “Stand up if you hate the Glazers.” That’s where more people joined in.
“It was amazing, one of the representatives of The 1958 group said about the whole protest. – We were fine with it. The fans are tired of just making do with social media. We’re going to keep it that way. The Glazers only think about siphoning money through sponsors. But we have a team, we are MJ fans. That’s all we have. And we rely on people.”
By the way, there were no pogroms and clashes with the police, although they took some security measures, blocking a number of approaches to the stores and the stadium. Activists continued to speak after the game, although there were fewer of them. Some even came not so much to the game as to participate in the action. Many had stocked up on green-and-gold scarves of the Newton Heath club, United’s predecessor.
Hate from within
It should be noted that it’s not only the owners of the club who are accused of plunging MU into debt and making profits without trying to achieve results in sport. The players also come under the hail of criticism. The object of fan anger has traditionally been Paul Pogba, who for many is the epitome of the crisis at United and the attitude of many at the club.
In the same match against Norwich, Pogba was shouted negatively, booed and buzzed. Paul, being an eccentric guy, fueled these sentiments by putting his palm to his ear, supposedly listening to what was coming from the stands. And there was enough foul language. They were especially clear when the Frenchman was substituted with Marcus Rashford midway through the second half when the score was 2-2.
After the game, MJ coach Ralf Rangnick supported Pogba and urged the fans to get behind the Frenchman:
“I can understand the fans’ frustration, but I don’t think it makes sense to fight with any individual player. We have a collective responsibility. So I will always defend my players. I didn’t see what he did, but I heard about his gesture. It was a man’s reaction to the chanting. There is no point in attacking one player. I will say from the game that Pogba worked well with the ball. It’s not the best position for him, but we didn’t have Fred and McTominay, so I had to make that choice.”