Open Letter to Manchester United

A copy of this was sent in the post addressed to David Gill on 18/03/2010. The response will be published when/if received.

Dear Mr Gill,

I thought that I would be sad when the day finally came that I gave up my season ticket in the North Stand, Tier 1, Block N1403, but the overwhelming feelings I have are of frustration and anger.

I have been proud to be a Manchester United season ticket holder for the last 6 years, and have enjoyed watching the thrills and spills on the pitch - witnessing greatness from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy et al, along the way. I have followed the club on as many away trips as I could, including two (expensive) trips to the Champions League Finals as well as countless Charity Shields and other less glamorous matches at places like Wigan and Blackburn.

I have happily, and rather naively, paid whatever was required as the ticket prices have been hiked up as much as 48% since the Glazer takeover, but, after the money for this seasons’ Champions League Semi-Final home leg ticket has been compulsory-purchased for whatever price you deem fit, you will get no more money from me.

I grew up loving United, and possessing literally anything I could lay my hands on that displayed our club crest. As a kid I can remember the excitement of getting the replica kit on the very first day it came out, emblazoned with Cantona, or Keane, or whoever my favourite player of the month was. I should have guessed at the way things were going when you started launching three new kits a season, and surreptitiously withdrew the 'Football Club' from the badge.

When the Glazers took over, thousands of the hardcore fans gave up their season tickets, believing that the club was ruined. In hindsight, I wish I had left with them.

I stayed with the club, thinking I was doing enough of a protest by boycotting anything that made it into your 'Match-Day Revenues' - programmes, replica kit, food and drink - as well as anything connected to Manchester United, including the credit card and countless other streams of rubbish that you peddle to fans, who over-pay simply to be associated with the team.

Many fans are happy to think that this is enough, that by cutting down on the money spent in the stadium and 'megastore' we can justify the extraordinary amount of money that goes into the Glazer's back-pockets just for our season ticket. These same fans have told me that we are better off on the inside, that we can make enough noise, and show enough hatred in the stadium to make the Glazers sell the club. Sadly this has not proved to be the case.

After the first wave of real United fans left for FC United, or the local pubs, the stadium became funereal, with day-trippers who didn't even know the players, let alone the songs, coming to the games in their place. The only time it has any atmosphere at all is in the big games and on European nights.

I didn’t like the way the fans were treated with contempt (and still are), but it was enough for me to see the players, the quality football, to shout abuse at Ashley Cole and Peter Kenyon when they came and went, and be reasonably happy.

That was until I saw the true legacy of the Glazer takeover.

I can’t live with the fact that the Glazers have yet to put a penny into the 'franchise', but have taken over £20m out, and that their new bond allows them to take out countless millions more, every year.

I can’t live with the fact that they hope to sell and lease-back the Carrington training ground – perhaps not yet arranged, but undoubtedly in the pipeline. All those years of saving and planning have gone to waste - we're going to be back to renting, until we get gazumped by someone willing to pay more than us when the peppercorn rent ends in 10 years time.

I can’t live with the fact that I am financing their whole operation, giving them the means to continue to take as much money as they physically can out of the club, yet giving nothing in return.

And so, from May 2010, I will be boycotting Manchester United.

I won’t be renewing my season ticket. I won’t be buying anything connected to the club. And I won’t be buying anything connected to the sponsors of the club. The person I sit next to is doing the same, and so, hopefully, are thousands of others.

I know it will hurt. I know it won’t be the same to be watching the games on the TV instead of from the stands, and feeling that much more distant from the players at the club. I know there will be moments when I will want to return to the club, to watch the odd game, to support the lads or to boo the opposition. But I will stand firm. The Glazers will not get another penny out of me.

This is the ONLY way to get rid of the owners. They will only go when the cash cow they have been milking runs dry, when they can’t take out their annual £20m consultancy fees because it would mean not being able to pay the players, when they have ran out of players that they can sell for £80m to balance their books.

If this means that we are no longer the biggest or best team in the country, then so be it. If we lose our ‘global fanbase’, our propaganda-full dictatorial tv channel, all of our corporate sponsors, then so be it. If it takes a decade and a relegation to get rid of the Glazers, then I am happy to accept it. I am a Manchester United Football Club supporter, and I would gladly be in the stands on a cold winter Saturday in Macclesfield for a League Two match, having reclaimed our football club.

Once again, I re-iterate, I am boycotting Manchester United.

You will need to find some other mugs to pay the debt.

Yours sincerely,

A disgruntled fan.