Tag Archives: Resentment

United against the Glazers: How long-running resentment from Man Utd fans

Sunday’s scenes at Old Trafford were seen by many as a reaction to Manchester United’s involvement in the ill-fated Super League, but the reality is the disconnect between the club’s owners and its fanbase has long been raging.

It has been a year of significant ups and downs for the billionaire Glazer family. Their bustling sporting portfolio saw perhaps its biggest success yet earlier this year when, bolstered by the addition of legendary quarterback Tom Brady, the NFL franchise they have owned since 1995, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

It was a remarkable turnaround for a sports team who had become little more than an also-ran in NFL circles, and much of it came about as the result of repeated and considered investment in the team.

Brady’s arm will cost Tampa and the Glazer’s a cool $ 41 million in 2021 alone (some of which is offset by league rules and salary cap dark arts, but that’s a conversation for another time) – but Brady is just one of a galaxy of experienced stars who, let’s just say, weren’t exactly tempted to sign a contract in Tampa Bay because of the team’s sterling reputation (prior to last year, the Buccaneers hadn’t made the playoffs since 2007).

But ask any Manchester United supporter about this and you will likely be met with a scowl. There is a prevalent thought amongst many United fans that Tampa’s recent success has been built on the backs of the world’s most famous football club, and if you dip into the archives it is easy to see why.

It was in 2003 when the patriarch of the Glazer family, Malcolm, set in place a series of actions which would culminate in Sunday’s chaos in the red half of Manchester when he purchased an initial stake of 2.9%.

By October of the following year, Glazer had upped his stake to almost 30%, and by the end of May 2005 he owned more than 76% of the club – prompting both the club and its board to advise shareholders to accept the Glazer’s ensuing takeover bid.

By June, though, signs were becoming clear that the thousands of fans who pack themselves into Old Trafford each week, as well as the millions who follow the club across the globe, were sounding the alarm bells when as part of the takeover the Glazers placed their own borrowings of £525 million ($ 730 million) – a figure which has since reportedly snowballed to in excess of £1 billion.

For some supporters, this signaled the end of a lifelong association with Manchester United. A host of furious fans set up a phoenix club, FC United of Manchester, who would be placed in the 10th tier of English football – and while they wouldn’t quite be taking part in the glamour ties Manchester United were associated with, FC United of Manchester was seen by some as a clean slate. A football club unencumbered by the grubby paws of foreign billionaires.

Fan discontent flash-boiled. “Love United, Hate Glazer” became a catchphrase rarely far from the lips of the Stretford End faithful. In July 2005, Glazer family members were whisked away from Old Trafford in a secure police fan after encountering furious protests at the Old Trafford. It was their first ever visit to the stadium.

Also on rt.com Man United vow to punish ‘criminal activity’ in wake of Old Trafford unrest as footage shows police officer ‘punching protester’

By 2010 the debt saddled onto the club had inflated past £700 million – with the Glazers against castigated for taking £10 million from Manchester United’s coffers for ‘management and administration fees’. They also borrowed a further £10 million from the club.

Then in 2014, Malcolm Glazer dies at the age of 85. Shortly afterwards, the Glazer family made $ 200 million selling shares in the now publicly listed football club, adding to the $ 75 million made in the same manner the year prior. Again, the furious fanbase was powerless – and the Glazer family vowed that they wouldn’t consider selling the club for at least five years, regardless of the overwhelming sentiment from supporters.

Remarkably, an investigation by The Guardian concluded that well over £1 billion has been removed from the club’s bank account since the Glazer’s debt was placed on the club in 2005, due to the accrual of interest and other assorted fees. The total debt associated with the club stands at over £450 million as of March of this year.

That brings us to the present day. Manchester United’s involvement as a founding member and signatory of the Super League, of which Joel Glazer was a key voice, appears to have been the straw which broke the camel’s back. Former players and fans alike have savaged the club’s ownership at every opportunity, with ex-United fullback Gary Neville being particularly vocal on the issue.

The first echoes of fan rancor were heard recently at United’s Carrington training ground when a disgruntled mob of supporters staged a sit-in protest and were only compelled to leave when personally addressed by manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, among other club dignitaries – but the true boiling point came on Sunday at Old Trafford, in a move which has made headlines across the world and will have even blipped on the Glazer’s absentee landlord radar.

And this is the issue. The Glazers view the Manchester United as a completely different entity to its supporters. The perception is that for the owners, the world’s most famous club is a financial asset – a piggy bank from which to shake out coins, hopefully without having to use a hammer to smash it. It is a franchise. It is a sports entertainment brand.

To fans, it is more than just a football club: it is an identity, and not a commodity. And unlike the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you can’t buy off the fanbase with shiny new toys. But for now, one suspects that the Glazer family are more than content in keeping their financial interests tied to a club they probably won’t be able to ever visit in their lifetimes.

Also on rt.com The battle is won but not the war – football fans must fight on against the gall and greed among the game’s elite

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Sport News

After Chauvin Verdict, Police React With Relief and Some Resentment

Author John Eligon and Shaila Dewan
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

MINNEAPOLIS — It was shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and all chatter ceased in the roll-call room for the Fourth Police Precinct in North Minneapolis. Everyone’s attention was glued to the television on the wall.

Then came the verdict: Derek Chauvin was guilty on all counts, including murder, for killing George Floyd last May. The station house stayed silent, the officers processing what the verdict meant after a year of tension and conflict, said Inspector Charles Adams, the precinct’s commanding officer.

“It was just like, wow,” Inspector Adams said.

For him, it was a relief — he felt that Mr. Chauvin had been wrong and that his actions, kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, cast a negative light on policing.

But the verdict did little to end months of upheaval and anxiety in his profession.

“So much is being thrown at us as law enforcement officials,” Inspector Adams said. “We’re unsure how we’re going to police in the future.”

Police chiefs and unions across the country condemned Mr. Chauvin’s actions and applauded the jury’s verdict, but not always with the same zeal or for the same reasons. Some said they hoped it would restore faith in the criminal justice system. Others said it would help keep the peace. And still others indicated that it would clear the way for “honest discussion” about policing.

The feelings of rank-and-file officers were more complicated: a mix of relief, resentment at being vilified alongside Mr. Chauvin and unsettling thoughts of themselves in his shoes.

“They’re thinking, ‘Man, I’ve got to think long and hard before I get out of my car and get into something I don’t have to get into,’” said Jim Pasco, the executive director of the national Fraternal Order of Police.

In the Minneapolis station house, Inspector Adams heard of remarks from a few rank-and-file officers who believed the defense’s argument that drugs killed Mr. Floyd and that Mr. Chauvin had followed his training.

“Some just think he got a raw deal,” Inspector Adams said. “But there’s a lot of them who think he was guilty, too.”

The full extent of the fallout for Mr. Chauvin will be known on June 16, when he is scheduled to be sentenced.

He is being held alone in a cell in a maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, Minn., a Twin Cities suburb. He is allowed out for exercise for only an hour each day. Even then, he is kept away from other inmates. Prison officials said Mr. Chauvin was being kept in solitary for his own safety.

Outside the Twin Cities, in rural communities where “Back the Blue” banners hang in storefronts, Mr. Chauvin’s trial at times seemed a world away. There, largely white police departments patrol largely white communities, and residents are often friends or relatives of law enforcement officers.

In Gilbert, Minn., a community of about 2,000 three hours north of Minneapolis, Ty Techar, the police chief, said he watched only about an hour of the trial and 30 seconds of the body-camera footage. While he said that what Mr. Chauvin did would be unacceptable in his department, he stopped short of saying he agreed with the verdict.

“For me to sit here and make a judgment on whether he got a fair trial, I don’t know all the evidence,” he said. “I haven’t looked at it closely enough.”

He added: “Is it second-degree murder or manslaughter? I don’t know much about the case.”

Police unions historically have been the staunchest defenders of officers, even those accused of wrongdoing. They did not defend Mr. Chauvin, but some used the verdict as an occasion to criticize public figures who have scrutinized the police.

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a statement that it wanted “to reach out to the community and still express our deep remorse for their pain” and that “there are no winners in this case.”

“We need the political pandering to stop and the race-baiting of elected officials to stop,” the statement said. “In addition, we need to stop the divisive comments and we all need to do better to create a Minneapolis we all love.”

Police and union officials have argued that the consistent pressure some community members and elected leaders place on law enforcement can be a detriment.

In Minneapolis, there are several efforts to significantly downsize the Police Department and create a new public safety division. The governor of Minnesota has come out in support of a bill to limit police traffic stops for minor infractions. The Justice Department on Wednesday announced a broad civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.

Inspector Adams said that several officers were now hesitant to perform even some of the most basic duties like traffic stops, worrying that such situations might escalate and get them in trouble.

In New York, a union leader seemed to play on such anxieties.

“It is hard to imagine a tougher time to be a member of the law enforcement profession,” Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, wrote in a letter after the verdict was announced. He warned members that their every action was being recorded and that “scores of attorneys” were eager to sue them.

“Our elected officials are complicit in perpetuating the myth that we are the enemy,” he added.

Attitudes like that, activists said, speak to the resistance of law enforcement to be held accountable and allow police abuses to continue.

Some police officials said the backlash to Mr. Chauvin’s actions actually provided an opportunity to improve.

“I think it takes us a step closer toward reform,” said Michael S. Harrison, Baltimore’s police commissioner. “It doesn’t make it harder to do our jobs. It makes it where we have to train better, and use best practices and we have to do our job the right way.”

The guilty verdict was a significant reminder for officers to stay within their training, said Rick Smith, the police chief in Kansas City, Mo.

“I think officers understand that going outside the norms leads to potential issues,” he said. “And this one highlighted that in the hundredth degree across the nation.”

Inspector Adams said he believed that the judicial process ultimately helped the profession regain some of its credibility. Nine current and retired members of the Minneapolis Police Department testified against Mr. Chauvin at trial, including the police chief.

That testimony, Inspector Adams said, showed the public that Mr. Chauvin was not representative of the Minneapolis police. The prosecution’s assertion during closing arguments that its case was against Mr. Chauvin, not the police, also helped, he said.

After Chief Medaria Arradondo testified that Mr. Chauvin acted outside of department policy, Inspector Adams said he texted him to say he was proud to belong to his staff.

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Eric Killelea contributed reporting from Minneapolis. Kim Barker and Ali Watkins also contributed reporting.