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Fergie: Don't let protests adversely affect United

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson accepts that anti-Glazer protests will continue this season, but urged the club's supporters to ensure that the Green and Gold campaign does not negatively impact upon the team's performances on the pitch.

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Ferguson has time and again called for understanding from the fans when it comes to the club's American owners, but protests have stepped up in recent months - with the Green and Gold campaign and season ticket boycotts forming supporters' main action against the Glazers.

The United boss has called for calm ahead of the new season, which begins against Newcastle at Old Trafford on Monday, and though Ferguson believes fans have a right to protest, he urged them to consider the impact their actions have on the team.

"One situation clouds the new season and that is the continued opposition to the Glazer family," Ferguson wrote in his programme notes ahead of the Newcastle game. "I have no problem with the Green and Gold campaign. Fans are entitled to protest as they see fit.

"But not to the detriment of the team. The fact is that the Glazer family own Manchester United and until they decide they want to sell, they will stay as owners regardless of the opposition. So it comes down to the extent of the protest.

"What I don't want to see is United mired in so much controversy that it deflects our purpose of winning matches. Whenever we have had success it has been a collective effort with everyone united - management, players and fans."

The Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) - the group responsible for organising the Green and Gold protest - agreed that getting behind the team is important, but also re-iterated a commitment to continued protest.

"MUST agrees wholeheartedly with Sir Alex that the first priority is to get behind the team - especially for those supporters who are inside the stadium and can influence the players on the pitch," a spokesman said.

"Undoubtedly there will be fewer scarves of any colour on display in the warmer months of the early season and no doubt some saw it as a fashion accessory for last season only.

"However Green & Gold will remain a powerful symbol of the continued desire for a change in ownership at Manchester United - a desire which burns within the vast majority of Manchester United supporters whatever colours they choose to wear.

"The Glazer family are loved by fans of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool as much as they are disliked by Manchester United supporters. That tells you all you need to know about their effect on our club."

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