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Jan 18, 2010

Fans consider asking Fergie to quit in Glazer protest

The former chairman of one of Manchester United's biggest supporters group has suggested that Sir Alex Ferguson should quit as the club's boss, in protest of the Glazer family's ownership of the reigning Premier League champions.

• Manchester United Supporters' Trust respond to claims

Johnny Flacks, a founding member and former chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association, suggested that a letter campaign directed at the United boss could convince him to resign.

The idea was put forward at a meeting of the Manchester United Supporters' Trust - previously known as Shareholders United - before the 3-0 victory at Burnley on Saturday.

The group, widely accepted as the fans' "official opposition" to the Glazers after they attempted unsuccesfully to prevent the Americans' 2005 takeover, met to discuss the club's current situation before United's 3-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday.

"This is not intended as an Alex Ferguson rant," Flacks told the Guardian. "But he claims to be a socialist, a former shop steward and a man of the people, so he must be horrified by what is going on.

"It would work only if thousands of people sent a copy of this letter to Ferguson letting him know that our fear, if the Glazers stay in control, is that his legacy is going to be destroyed. We wouldn't want that and I don't think he would either."

Fans also discussed the possibility of asking United fans' favourite and Old Trafford legend Eric Cantona to act as their figurehead, and plans are being put in place for a protest march before the Champions League tie against Milan on March 10.

United supporters' groups have been in fervent opposition to the Glazer family, both before the takeover in June 2005, and ever since - with anti-Glazer chanting rife during the win against Burnley. Stewards were also quick to confiscate a large banner reading: "Love United, hate Glazer", after it was briefly unfurled at the Stretford End.

The Glazers recently revealed a refinancing plan but it has been met by scepticism by most supporters, and Flacks claimed that this is the perfect opportunity for Ferguson to make the ultimate sacrifice and stand down.

"We are talking about a manager who has achieved so much for the club and has created the monster that is Manchester United," Flack said. "But we have to look at the greater good and at the moment we have the ludicrous situation where a club that gets over 70,000 supporters is losing money.

"This would be Ferguson's chance of saying that something had to be done. He would be looking after the club in the longer term if it meant the Glazers would sell more quickly. And if he said he was going to resign, maybe that would also encourage potential buyers to hurry up.

"Moving to Carrington was his baby and he must be horrified that the Glazers could now be thinking of selling Carrington and then arranging for it to be leased back," Flacks said. "That would make Manchester United no better than a non-league club not even owning a training ground."

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