When protests go too far

January 30, 2020 - 09:00
What they don’t have a right to do is what a small group of fans, I say fans in the loosest sense of the word, they are mindless idiots in all honesty, did on Tuesday night.


UNDER FIRE: Chief executive Ed Woodward whose home was attacked by mindless thugs on Tuesday. — AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

There’s nothing wrong with sounding off. When you are aggrieved or angry about a particular point, then speak up. Don’t suffer in silence. Football fans included.

There has been many a time when supporters of a particular club have disagreed with, or objected to, decisions made by those in the corridors of power.

And when that happens, many stand up and are counted in the form of chants, protests and in some extreme cases, hiring a small aircraft to fly over your team’s stadium on match day dragging a large banner revealing their message.

I’ve never quite understood the thinking behind that one if I’m honest.

A few seasons back, Liverpool fans were unhappy with an increase in ticket prices.

The highest price for a ticket was being bumped up to 77 pounds, that’s about VNĐ2.3 million, so as the match against Sunderland at Anfield reached the 77th minute, thousands of Liverpool supporters walked out.

At the time, Liverpool were two goals up but after the mass exodus, the visitors scored twice and the game finished two apiece.

Those in charge took note, and the prices of tickets were frozen. The protest, albeit very peaceful, had the desired effect.

On Saturday night (early hours of Sunday morning, Việt Nam time), Manchester United fans are planning a similar demonstration when they play Wolves at home.

On the 58th minute, supporters are being urged to get up and leave the stadium in protest at the way the club is currently being run by both their American owners, and head honcho, Ed Woodward.

Now from a Liverpool supporting perspective, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t rubbing my hands with glee at the current situation at Old Trafford.

The once very mighty Manchester United are today a shadow of their former selves, and what must be most worrying for United fans is they are a long way, years in fact, of returning to their perch.

The fans have a right to protest. They have a right to organise a walk-out, and if they think it will have the desired affect then sure, hire a plane to fly over the stadium.

What they don’t have a right to do is what a small group of fans, I say fans in the loosest sense of the word, they are mindless idiots in all honesty, did on Tuesday night.

In the dead of night, and dressed in black like some sort of band of mercenaries, the gang of thugs went to the home of the chief executive and fired flares at his house and spray-painted the gates.

It was dangerous, absolutely ludicrous and whoever the hell these idiots are, they should be brought to justice, named, shamed and locked up.

No matter how bad the club is doing, resorting to these abhorrent actions is simply insane.

The club quickly spoke out and said in a statement: “Fans expressing opinion is one thing, criminal damage and intent to endanger life is another. There is simply no excuse for this.”

The weekend before, after beating lower league opposition in the FA Cup, some supporters were singing a song that basically encouraged people to build a bonfire and burn both Mr Woodward and the owners of the football club.

If one of those flares fired at his house had caught light, then maybe their wish would have come true.

United’s planned walk-out at their next match is scheduled to take place on 58th minutes, a nod no doubt to the Munich air disaster of 1958 when many players and officials were killed in a plane crash.

Hold the protest, be heard, be seen, and make a difference.

But for the love of God, don’t take actions into your own hands and potentially cause another unforgivable tragedy to fall upon Manchester United. — VNS