Angry Man Utd fans call for sponsor boycott over IPO

LONDON Fri Aug 3, 2012 11:16pm IST

Shoppers walk past a Manchester United merchandise store at a mall in Singapore June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong/Files

Shoppers walk past a Manchester United merchandise store at a mall in Singapore June 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Chong/Files

Stocks

   
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United supporters opposed to the flotation of the English soccer club in New York called on Friday for a boycott of sponsors' products to put pressure on the Glazer family to ditch the plan.

The call risks embarrassing the club just days after it signed a record-breaking shirt sponsorship deal with U.S. auto company General Motors (GM.N).

"The boycott strategy is intended to send a loud and clear message to the Glazer family and club sponsors that without the support and purchasing power of the fans - the global strength of the Manchester United brand doesn't actually exist," the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) said in a statement

MUST has accused the American Glazers of hurting the team's performance by saddling it with debt in a 790 million pound takeover in 2005.

It has also been angered after the Glazers said they would raise up to $167 million themselves in the flotation after initially saying all the proceeds would be used to cut the debt.

"It is hoped sponsors will put pressure on the Glazer family to reconsider their plans," MUST added.

United have more than 70 commercial partners around the world.

MUST, which campaigns for greater fan involvement in the ownership of English soccer's most successful club, has around 180,000 members and has fought a high-profile campaign against the Glazers.

However, a recent survey commissioned by the club estimated it had 659 million global followers - almost one in 10 of the population.

The power of its brand was illustrated this week when it agreed the deal with General Motors to have the Chevrolet name on its famous red shirts from 2014. The agreement was reportedly valued at $60-70 million per year.

GM declined to comment on the boycott call.

(Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Mark Potter, For all the latest Olympic news go to here)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Champions' Clash

Champions' Clash

Real's Ronaldo on course to face Bayern.  Full Article 

Coach Quits

Coach Quits

Farbrace resigns as Sri Lanka coach, set for England role.  Full Article 

Winning Zeal

Winning Zeal

Guardiola says impressed most by Bayern's zeal for success.  Full Article 

Wrist Injury

Wrist Injury

Djokovic plays down injury fears, back for Madrid.  Full Article 

Comeback Challenge

Comeback Challenge

Phelps facing toughest challenge yet.  Full Article 

Doping Ban

Doping Ban

Three staff linked to Armstrong doping get long bans - USADA.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage