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Feb 23, 2010

Harris urges United fans to intensify Glazer protest

Keith Harris, the former Football League chairman who has formed a consortium looking to buy Manchester United, has urged the club's fans to "hurt the Glazers in their pockets" if they want to force a change of ownership at Old Trafford.

With the Glazer family deeply unpopular with large portions of the United support after placing a burden of debt on the club, Harris, the chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, claims he has assembled a group of wealthy individuals who are ready to buy the Americans out.

Harris has been involved in a number of football takeovers in recent seasons, including Randy Lerner's purchase of Aston Villa, and the football financier, who is a United fan, believes a fan boycott is the only way to force the Glazer family to sell their stake.

"Turning up to games ten minutes late and things like that doesn't do the job," Harris told the Daily Mail. "The green and gold protest is fabulous, a symbolic and significant message to the owners. It's like the white handkerchiefs in Spain. But that won't force the Glazers to sell to us.

"However, if enough people - and I am talking about thousands - stop turning up to matches and no not renew their tickets, then that does it. The supporters have to hurt the Glazers in their pockets.

"They have to be prepared to take the pain of not watching their club in order to achieve a long-term gain. Supporters have to be galvanised to say, 'we will not come. We will not buy programmes and merchandise'.

"It's a big ask, it's a risk, but that is what must happen. The Glazers are thick-skinned and seem impervious to protest. They will not be impervious to enormous drops in their revenue.

"I would not talk about this if I didn't have full confidence in our ability to raise the money to do this. I never talk publicly unless I have confidence. Getting the money together is the easy bit, but we can't make an offer until the Glazers are placed in a position where they are forced to consider it."

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