The dire start to the season at Manchester United has led to a reignition of the "Glazers Out" movement of the fanbase, and the latest movement has some fans calling for a boycott of the upcoming Premier League game against Liverpool on August 22.
The American owners of United, the Glazer family, have been deeply unpopular with the fans since acquiring the club with a leveraged buyout in 2005. The club has built up quite the debt bill over the Glazers' ownership and that, alongside issues with the direction of the club and the business decisions made, have fans calling for the Glazers to sell.
The #EmptyOldTrafford movement is gaining momentum on social media in the buildup to their next home game against bitter rivals Liverpool on Monday, August 22.
Manchester United fans propose boycott of Liverpool game in Glazers protest
United began the season with a dire home loss against Brighton on Sunday, after a summer of transfer inactivity that has left new manager Erik Ten Hag with his hands tied. Desperate moves for Marko Arnautovic and Adrien Rabiot are the latest signs of United's cluelessness in the transfer market, and anger towards the Glazers is intensifying.
Even those within the club have questioned the owners, with CEO Richard Arnold admitting their shortcomings in a meeting with fans earlier this summer, and former manager Ralf Rangnick sympathising with protesting fans last season.
The situation is certainly a messy one, and it could get messier. A section of United supporters are now calling on the fanbase to leave Old Trafford empty for the blockbuster clash with Liverpool in the Premier League on August 22.
The proposed boycott takes inspiration from Valencia supporters pulling off a similar protest against their owners late last season. A huge cohort of Valencia fans remained outside their Mestalla Stadium for their season-ending clash with Celta Vigo in protest against the owner Peter Lim, after leaked audio drew the direction of the club into question.
The #EmptyOldTrafford hashtag has gained momentum within the fanbase early this week, in light of the disappointing transfer window and opening to the season.
— WHF!🇾🇪 (@UtdWesleyy) August 9, 2022
— Sourav🔰 (@Sourav_Mufc) August 8, 2022
— Bill_United (@Bill_United44) August 8, 2022
— Olu4all (@Olu4all1) August 9, 2022
— Boycott Movement Against the Glazers (@BoycottGlazers) August 9, 2022
Dear #MUFC fans:
• Uninstall the Man United App.
• Unfollow on all social media.
• Boycott all their sponsors.
• Don't buy their official merchandise.
• #EmptyOldTrafford from the next home game onwards.
Hit them where it hurts the most.#GlazersOut #GlazersSellManUtd pic.twitter.com/0D9p4VKU4I
— διℜu (@SiruReddy_) August 9, 2022
This would not be the first time a home game against Liverpool has been targeted for protest against the Glazer family by the Manchester United fans. Little over a year ago, when games were routinely played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions, a break-in by United fans protesting the Glazers ownership saw the game called off and rescheduled.
Those protests came in the aftermath of the much-maligned Super League movement, of which the Glazers were vocal supporters.
The movement against the Glazers has intensified in recent days. Even if an empty stadium for a game as big as the North-West derby seems unlikely, it seems equally unlikely that the protests against the club's ownership will dissipate anytime soon.
After Sunday's loss to Brighton, Manchester United club legend Gary Neville was among those pushing for the owners to sell the club. Neville said:
If you've got a business and the people who are working that business can't do the job for you, then you remove them from those jobs. It's actually abuse to keep them doing those jobs for longer. Actually, to be fair, they don't enjoy it either.
The reality is those players either need replacing or supporting.
The money that was needed to rebuild that club this summer...I'm not getting eccentric about this or exaggerating or anything. They knew six, eight, 12 months ago that there was going to need to be investment this summer.
You've got to be concerned about every element of the recruitment.
The time has come for the Glazer family to sell the football club. The time has come. It's now.
It would be a striking sight to see Old Trafford empty for one of the biggest games in English football on August 22, but it would also be a huge surprise.
If the stadium does end up full, we can no doubt expect green-and-yellow scarves galore at the least, in a protest against the Glazers ownership that is becoming more unpopular by the day in Manchester (well, on the red side anyway...)