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Fans backing Fergie

18 Jan 2010 11:15:45

Fans backing Fergie

MANCHESTER United supporters battling to oust the club's owners have distanced themselves from calls for Sir Alex Ferguson to step down. The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) launched a campaign to eject the Glazer family after the club's financial reports were revealed amid huge controversy last week. But MUST bosses said they back manager Sir Alex "100 percent", in the wake of reports that fans want him out of Old Trafford. Around 300 Reds' fans piled into a meeting chaired by MUST to debate the Glazers' £500m bond scheme to alleviate the club's £700m debts. The M.E.N was allowed to attend the meeting, but not report on it directly. At the meeting in a Stretford pub, a campaign was launched to oust the Glazers, and afterwards stories arose that fans also wanted the manager to resign in protest. They also proposed trying to get a high profile figurehead for the campaign although they have not decided who that could be. Founder and former chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association Johnny Flacks, who attended the meeting, proposed a letter for Sir Alex to step down. Chairman Duncan Drasdo said in reply: "We believe the organisation and the vast majority of United supporters are 100pc behind Sir Alex Ferguson. The only people we want to see leave Old Trafford are the Glazer family. "All United supporters are entitled to voice their opinion but these comments were made by one individual at a meeting where it was made clear it was private and journalists were briefed that it was totally off the record, to allow supporters to speak freely. "We believe that all those journalists who attended the meeting respected this agreement but the story came from reports on internet message boards followed by a call direct to Mr Flacks rather than from the meeting itself. "MUST does not believe that the views expressed represented a widespread view of those present and indeed other speakers who offered the counter point of view were given a loud round of applause." Supporters' meeting The supporters' crisis meeting came after the implications of the Reds' financial results were revealed last week United's American owner Malcolm Glazer aims to refinance a hefty chunk of the £700m debts loaded onto the club by raising £500m from investors across the globe. The report also revealed that £20m had been paid out in loans and "management and administration fees" to the Glazer family and its affiliated companies. Speaking after the meeting Drasdo said: "The first step is to get the Glazers out. "The longer they are there, the more damage they will do. "The whole bonds issue is not about helping the club - it is about how they can get money out of the club." While sources close to the Glazers continue to insist there is no cause for alarm, the mere mention of United's Carrington training complex, or the iconic Old Trafford having to be sold off and leased back - as highlighted in the documents championing the launch of a £500m bond issue - has been enough to set alarm bells ringing with the loyal fans. The perceived ring leaders of an anti-Glazer demonstration inside Old Trafford were ruthlessly ejected by stewards towards the end of a 3-0 win over Burnley. Massive security gates across the tunnel area, erected following the mass protests against the Glazer family in 2005, were also closed to prevent any irate supporters getting near to the directors entrance in a growing sign of wariness, even though none of the Glazer family were present. "All these years we wanted to get that 18th title to move level with Liverpool," said Mark Longden, chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association. "Now I wonder what the chances are of either of us getting to 19 in my lifetime, given the level of debt that is saddled around the club. "United and Liverpool are the two most successful clubs this country has ever had. "But they are both being driven to oblivion - and the football authorities and the government have allowed it to happen." What do you think? Have your say.


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