The banner, 'Blackie' which hangs from the upper tiers of the Stretford End at Old Trafford exclaiming to all that Man United fans “LOVE UNITED, HATE GLAZER“, made the cross Atlantic journey to the USA for the MUFC 2010 US tour.
The banner which inevitably brings out the worst in the Police, stadium security, and fury from the directors box at Old Trafford has a history of confiscation where ever 'Blackie' goes, North America being no different.
In 2004 the Shareholders United Banner “not For Sale" made the same trip but to a totally different reception. Stadiums such as The Giants stadium in New York welcomed the banner with open arms along with the protests that accompanied the banner by American members of Shareholders United attempting to stop the purchase of United by the Glazer Family.
'Blackie' is one of the most visual statements of the protest, along with the green and gold campaign to oust the Glazer family from ownership of Manchester United.
According to Manchester United the display of this banner is deemed a criminal offence even in countries where they, or their mindless minders 'CES' has no jurisdiction. The Rogers Centre in Toronto Canada clearly states that flags are allowed in the stadium with the exception of “nothing political “. Using their logic and United playing Celtic, a team from Glasgow Scotland, every Irish Tricolour should have been tore down as well?
The banner was unfurled in the United section at kick off and was forcibly taken down by the Ontario Provincial Police 25 minutes into the game.
The Operation was initiated by representatives of Manchester United and coordinated by stadium security with the OPP taking direction from Security. Six OPP officers surrounded the banner as it was voluntarily being taken down. There were two specific threats of arrest. For what crime I have no clue? To be honest talking to one of the police officers in scene after the game they had no clue either why they were forced into action in such haste and purpose.
I noticed a lot of cameras firing back on our area, including the media photographers who had formed by the corner flag. I looked to the right, and noticed they had unfurled the LUHG banner
A huge commotion developed to my right – I wasn’t sure what was going on at first, but soon realized that the banner was involved, as well as many of the United supporters next to him, yelling down at a few of the ground security staff who were at the foot of the stand.
With the noise, it was impossible to hear what they were saying and likely the banner owner and the other supporters wouldn’t have known what was going on, I immediately knew that the LUHG banner was in jeopardy. After a few hand gestures and such, the message was made clear and they began to wrap up the banner.
Deafening boos erupted from our end, along with some choice words for the security members. The boos turned into a huge, and extended rendition of LUHG, which seemed to involve every single person in our stand. It went on for a good few minutes, before turning into "We Want Glazer Out", soon as the banner went down though, it was the North American reds in the stand that seemed to be the ones that took exception to it, cueing the anti-Glazer chants.
It was pleasing to know that at least in this part of the ground, there were some educated supporters understanding what Uncle Malcolm was doing to our club. Half time arrived, calming a bit of the anger that the banner incident had caused.
Again what crime had been committed? In the USA and Canada the constitutions of both countries values and defends and protects Free Speech. Either David Gill, or Manchester United ‘s hierarchy should learn something about…. when in Rome, you don’t trample on individual rights., unlike their own kingdom back at Old Trafford.
The following day the Canadian Press reported the incident as did Manchester United’s mouthpiece in the daily telegraph Mark Ogden with a stark warning for the next game, he wrote that the banner was removed by security and that similar efforts will be in place in Philadelphia if such occurrences of the banner or/protests are repeated!
In Philadelphia, stadium security as well as armed police officers patrolled the stadium with vigour, so much so that green and gold balloons were deemed as offensive as, akin to sneaking in a bottle of booze and were summarily confiscated from several green and gold clad supporters upon entry to the stands.
Needless to say Blackie never made it past the obligatory searches of bags. I am quite sure the security personnel were on orders to look out for it or its owners and refuse it entry.
A Philadelphia Enquirer reporter discovered the banner in the parking lot and had this to report the following day: Reporters Story.
David Gill was quoted as saying that the Green and Gold campaigners were a small vocal minority inside old Trafford. His actions and that of Manchester United in attempting to stamp out any signs of the campaign on the US continent has been a total PR gaff and an embarrassment to his understanding of American culture, its civil rights, and the millions of his customers in the US.
The campaign was met with positive feedback from just about every American and Canadian supporters who showed their dislike of the problems that the Glazers have bestowed upon Manchester United.
Thousands of reds now support the fight against the Glazer regime and the mindless ineptitude of the club, and their horrendous treatment of fans (customers)at home and now abroad.
I think Mr. Gill may now find his “small vocal minority” is now growing into a world wide, organized protest of his collaboration, and treachery.
LOVE UNITED HATE GLAZER!