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Fans’ anger threatens to destabilize United ahead of derby

By | 25th January 2010

Never in more than twenty years has such a bitter and poisonous atmosphere engulfed Old Trafford.

Generations of fans, spoilt by the success of Alex Ferguson’s men over the past two decades, have traveled to United’s home safe in the knowledge that if they don’t win the league one year, it will almost certainly return the next.

Others remember the days when United weren’t the biggest club in the world and have been eternally grateful for what Ferguson has achieved in the United hotseat. So the usual atmosphere around the Theatre Of Dreams can often be described as quietly content.

But such is the dramatic swing in United’s off-field finances – they have gone from the world’s richest club to one of the most indebted – fans feel they have been forced into action.

“Glazer – Forever in your Debt,” read the giant banner, unfurled by the fans outside the ground before the game against Hull on Saturday. The peaceful protest was then followed by a succession of chants aimed against the club’s American owners during the game, some of which were hateful and vitriolic.

Sir Alex Ferguson, who has up till now towed the party line and backed the owners, called for unity among the supporters, perhaps concerned divisions in the terraces can seep on to the field.

Those calls went unheeded as chant after chant swirled their way round the cold January air. Ferguson must now surely be worried that such anger and aggression will transfer across to the Manchester derby on Wednesday – as if the rivalry wasn’t tense enough as it is.

Such off-field distractions have been unheard of at United over the past 20 years, allowing the management and players to get on with the job of winning. But Saturday was evidence that the United empire is beginning to crack.

Although United ran out comfortable winners again Hull, shortening their Premier League titles odds as they did so, the chants certainly give their rivals more ammunition off the park.

Sensing a weakness, City have reveled in their near rival’s fall from financial grace, especially as they are currently swimming in money. Keen to exploit it, their taunts towards the red half of Manchester have only annoyed the United fans further, increasing the anger directed at the Glazers. A Sky Blue victory this week and could make things even uglier.

However, the Carling Cup odds suggest United are favorites to win the tie and that should be enough to get them to the final at Wembley.

Then again, how happy will United fans be if that’s the only trophy they manage to secure this season?

Reader Comments

The below views are those of our readers and do not reflect the opinions of Premiership Talk or its employees.
  1. Alastair says:

    20 years? Not quite true in 1998/9 seaso the fans were violent opposed to the BSkyB takeover and that didn't seem to affect the team did it.

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