The Manchester United Supporters Trust, the chief opponents of thepresent Glazer regime, have reported a massive surge in membership overthe last few weeks.
They now claim to have in excess of 100,000 supporters registered,fuelled partly by the Red Knights, a group of leading City financierswho are looking to raise in excess of £1billion to seize control at OldTrafford.
Wayne's world: Sir Alex Ferguson is happy for any fans, including Manchester City ones, coming to Old Trafford to see the big stars
United chief executive David Gill slapped down the prospective buyerson Wednesday, when he insisted the present owners had no wish to sell,despite the massive debts incurred in their controversial takeover.Ferguson has reinforced that view.
However, with some friends among the Red Knights, including leadinginvestment banker Jim O'Neill, Ferguson understands what they aretrying to achieve. And he cannot see a problem with the proteststhemselves, insisting he would welcome anyone to Old Trafford providedthey backed his team.
'We take all sinners,' he smiled. 'I would even take City fans. I haveno problem with protest. There were plenty of green and gold scarves onSunday and I was delighted to see them supporting the club.
'We are quite happy. As long as they are supporting Manchester United they can wear whatever they like.'
Not United: Fans want the Glazer family to sell immediately
Thousands of fans have joined the green and gold protest against theGlazers by wearing the colours of Newton Heath, the club which predatedUnited.
It is not the first protest by supporters - Ferguson remembers theattacks on former owner Martin Edwards and the successful attempt toprevent BSkyB buying the club in 1999.
The Scot feels the whole club changed once it was floated on the stock market in 1990.
'When United became a plc a long way back, they were always going tobe bought,' he said. 'People forget that point. Once you are a plc yourcompany can be bought and people bought shares.
'The Irish trio bought shares. There were quite a few people stalking the club.
'But David Gill summed it up earlier this week. The club is not forsale. He has made it quite clear. The Glazer family have said it is notfor sale.
'I have no issue with the Red Knights. I know some of them. I don't deny them their right to protest.
'If they want to try and buy the club that is entirely up to them.'
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