LONDON Aug 3 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.
"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
($1.23 billion) 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
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
However, a recent survey commissioned by the club estimated
it had 659 million global followers - almost one in 10 of the
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