One of the biggest rumbling stories in English football over the past few years has been the Glazer ownership of Manchester United.
Sections of the club’s fanbase have long been opposed to the hierarchal structure in place at Old Trafford, but as protests in Manchester grow in number, it has become a particularly important story in modern English football.
The yellow and green (or gold and green) scarves have become synonymous with United fans’ ‘Glazer Out’ protests over the years, while rivals of competing clubs ridicule the colour scheme and compare the Red Devils to the similarly kitted Norwich.
The scarves are not a fresh element of United fans’ hatred towards the Glazer family, though, so here is the backstory of why you will see them at every game.
You would not have seen yellow and green scarves at Man Utd games before the Glazers took control of the club in a leveraged buyout in 2005. It still took a few years before the scarves started to gain popularity, though.
Hatred towards the Glazers became more widespread in 2010, when the green and gold protests truly began. There is a famous image of David Beckham holding a green and gold scarf when he came back to Old Trafford with AC Milan in the Champions League. Similarly this season, there was a moment when Erik ten Hag picked up a green and gold scarf to hand back to a fan with a smile on his face. Needless to say, that has been read into as Ten Hag wanting the Glazers gone, which you can make your own minds up on.
The reasoning behind the colour of the scarves is that before Manchester United became Manchester United, the club was called Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Football Club. Founded in 1878, their kits were green and gold and the club would become United in 1902.
The scarves are used as a reminder to mainly the Glazers but also others at the club about the core values the team was founded upon. As the name suggests, it was railway workers that founded the team.
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The hatred of the Glazers has existed among a section of the fanbase since day one, in 2005. The Glazers purchased Man Utd in what is known as a leveraged buyout. They essentially borrowed the money needed to buy the club, and the debt from that borrowing was placed upon the club.
It was controversial then, and it was the first thing the Glazers did to anger United fans.
United had almost no debt at all between 1931 and 2005. Overnight with the Glazers’ takeover, it rose to an initial £550m and then rocketed to more than £700m by 2010 while the owners restructured finances in such a way that kept the club functional while they made money.
United have been paying interest and dividends to the Glazer family ever since. United had paid roughly £743m in interest by August 2022, all on a debt that the club did not have before the Glazers. No other Premier League club makes dividend payments and United’s payments have averaged around £22m since 2016.
All of that financial strain, coupled with the fact that no interest has been shown in the sporting side of the operation, means fans really hate the Glazers. They have appointed investment bankers to do the jobs of football professionals and allowed standards on and off the pitch at Old Trafford to slip year after year.