05/19/2005: Loyal Backlash?
Another follow-up to my “story post” about the Fierce Loyalties of the Brits' passion for their soccer teams is found in this NY Times piece about Malcom Glazer: English Are Hostile After a U.S. Soccer Takeover by Sarah Lyall:
”…As far as anyone can tell, Mr. Glazer, 76, has never been to a Manchester United game, or possibly even to any soccer game. Which might not be so surprising, according to his sister Maria. "He has never liked sports," she told The Daily Mail.
And then, of course, Mr. Glazer, who made his fortune in real estate and investing and has owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League since 1995, is an American.
So the news that Mr. Glazer - a man said to know so little about any kind of football that he once cheered for the wrong side during a Buccaneers game - was buying their beloved team was bound to upset Manchester United fans. It is as if a Japanese tycoon had suddenly swooped in and bought up the Yankees, using millions of dollars of borrowed money.
"No offense, but it just smacks of imperialism," said John Marchant, a 28-year-old advertising executive and Manchester United fan, walking past the team's Old Trafford stadium the other day. His indignation accelerated from 0 to 60 in the space of a single sentence. "He stands for everything that's bad about globalization."
Some Manchester United fans are so upset that in the last few weeks they have burned Mr. Glazer in effigy outside the stadium, ripped up their season tickets, threatened to disrupt future games and urged a boycott of the team's merchandise and products from sponsors like Nike, which, coincidentally, is an American company.
"That man is not welcome at Old Trafford," said Oliver Houston, spokesman for Shareholders United, a group representing small investors in the team, which had been a publicly traded company. Meanwhile, a militant fan group called the Manchester Education Committee declared Old Trafford to be "occupied territory" and vowed not to rest until it had forced Glazer to sell the team…”
Karen on 05.19.05 @ 05:33 AM CST