IMUSA - Independent Manchester United Supporters Association

Behind the windows of Manchester there is an insane love of football, of celebration

- Eric Cantona

IMUSA news

Police State Old Trafford rears its ugly head once again

17th January 2010

It's been just a couple of years since IMUSA's comments to the effect that the inside of Old Trafford was sometimes like a 'police state' led to Sky TV cameras being banned from the next United press conference as punishment for broadcasting these comments.

At yesterday's game we saw once again that those in charge of the OT 'match day experience' will not tolerate anything that disrupts the image of United supporters as being other than completely hypnotised by the ball and only concerned about the result.

There was a small protest inside the ground, following the news of the Glazers' financial ravaging of our once debt free club. All this involved was the unfurling a "Love United, Hate Glazer" flag over the front of the Stretford End.

The reports from our members are that this was dealt with swiftly, savagely and almost certainly illegally by the stewards in that part of the ground.

The individuals concerned were manhandled, kidney punched and in spite of them making it clear that they were the only ones involved, everyone in the row of seats behind the flag, including a young child, were evicted from the ground as well. One member described the incident as follows;

"I was shocked by the treatment of anti-Glazer youths by MUFC Stewards. I protested but it needs more people to join in. The leaders of the Stewards claimed it was safety & security and "we're only doing our job" or "we're only doing what we're told"; but a perfectly peaceful demo by a small group was brutally quashed. I really was shocked."

If the plan was to silence this protest, it failed.

The previously sporadic anti-Glazer chanting erupted and according to one of our members, "exceeded anything I've heard, even in 2005".

This protest was reported in several national newspapers, such as The Telegraph and on the the web.

We are also aware that the BBC have received several complaints from people in the ground, who had nothing to do with the protest, saying that they did not give it enough (ie any) prominence on their MOTD coverage.

IMUSA have been asked by the flag's owners to contact the club to arrange for the return of the flag following its confiscation and have done so. We will also be asking the club to check the qualifications of the stewards involved in dealing with this protest and to review their behaviour.

A lot of fans are clearly upset by the revelations about the Glazers' mishandling of the clubs' finances and so there must be an expectation that more protests will follow.

A less barbaric way of dealing with these protests, that does not include assaulting, evicting and confiscating the season tickets of fans who are merely expressing their concern about the long term future of the football club they care so much about, must be found.