(WFI) Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he has “no problem” with its fans’ high profile green and gold protest campaign against the club’s controversial American owners.
Many United supporters have adopted the colours of the club’s historic predecessor, Newton Heath, as they seek to oust the controversial Glazer family.
Supporters have also refused to buy club merchandise and renew season tickets as they step up their campaign to exact a change in ownership.
Ferguson has been a strong supporter of the Glazer family, denying that their highly leveraged ownership of United has impaired his ability to manage United.
But as Manchester United prepare to kick off their Premier League season against Newcastle United at Old Trafford this evening, Ferguson has used his programme notes to seek to unify United’s fans and give tentative approval to the fan movement.
“I have no problem with the green and gold campaign. Fans are entitled to protest as they see fit. But not to the detriment of the team,” Ferguson writes.
“The fact is that the Glazer family own Manchester United and until such time as they decide they want to sell, they will stay as owners regardless of the opposition.
“So it comes down to the extent of the protest. What I don’t want to see is Manchester United mired in so much controversy that it deflects our purpose of winning matches.
“I see that one of the protest groups has come up with a slogan along the lines of ‘New Season, Same Goal’. I know what they have in mind but I just wish they meant that once again we will all be united, busting a gut to win something big; in that sense it is not a bad slogan.”
Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), which has organised the protests and numbers 162,000 supporters, welcomed Ferguson’s comments.
MUST CEO Duncan Drasdo praised Ferguson’s and said the first priority must be to get behind the team, but that this will not diminish the determination to get rid of the Glazers.
“Sir Alex has also called for fans to remain unified and to avoid divisions which only play into the hands of our rivals,” he said.
“We echo that sentiment too. It is crucial that supporters are tolerant and respect the views and choices made by others – whether they wear Green & Gold or Red, White and Black.”
By INSIDER’s James Corbett
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