I can try to explain. But please don't you or anyone else confuse this explanation with approval for the act of violence. I will never ever say violence is o.k. This will also be probably a much longer explanation than what you wanted, but ....
Manchester United is one of two football (soccer) clubs based in Manchester, England. Manchester is a working class City, one from where Marx and Engels thought about a Revolution. It is a city based on Cotton Mills, and factories, and one where football overtakes religion as a passion.
For years Manchester United was far behind a footballing enemy, and close by city, Liverpool in terms of success. Success in the 70's and 80's for United was beating Liverpool, winning the F.A. Cup. But like every sports fan (fanatic) out there, at the start of every season United fans had hope.
Then came Alex Ferguson. A gruff, dour Scotsman, of working class origins, who through grit, brilliance, and hard work (since he has retired he has lectured in the Harvard M.B. A. program), transformed United into one of the best teams in the world. United won and won and won. United surpassed Liverpool, and TBH didn't even notice there was another team in the City of Manchester.
But Fergie retired.
Before he retired United was taken over the Glazer family from Florida who also are team owners of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. And the Glazer family took out huge loans on the back of the club, and plunged the club into massive debt. They appointed Ed Woodward (yes I am finally mentioning Ed) as what is basically the CEO of the club.
Woodward had been previously successful at United by making sponsorship deals. But football deals -- this has not proven to be what he has been good at. We have had 4 managers since Fergie left. The club is in bad shape and we have become the laughing stock of English football.
In the mean time Liverpool and Manchester City (once famously dismissed by Fergie as "noisy neighbors") have won and won and won.
Twitter has been full of #woodwardout and at games songs (rude and clear in their intention) have been sung suggesting Woodward go away have been commonplace.
Tonight was Manchester United fans at their worst. Using violence to get a point across. It's not o.k. Its never o.k. It has happened before: when Wayne Rooney (once a United player) was going to leave, his house was attacked, a once club director Maurice Watkins' car was attacked. Woodward is being blamed for the demise of the club.
Sports is a place where emotions run high. Tonight was sport (my sport/my team) at its worst.
Not sure if this is what you had in mind when you asked ... but .. @Shay any other thoughts?
This is horrible on so many levels. Horrible that people would think that firebombing someone’s home is ever acceptable to resolve conflict. Horrible that the GM would destroy what so many people held dear.
How do you appropriately deal with someone destroying what you care about?
There is a show in the States called The Connors and last week’s episode is relevant to this discussion. The family are die-hard Chicago Bears fans and are yelling and screaming at the TV as the team’s fortunes change with each play. Becky’s boyfriend interrupts the dad and says “Guys, it’s just a game.” Becky’s dad takes a moment, and then schools the boyfriend that it’s what brings them a bit of joy in their otherwise disappointing lives and they share in the teams joys and heartbreaks.
I haven't seen that episode, but will look for it. Understanding sport as more than sport, understanding it as identity, is vital in an attempt to understand this event and many others.
That is the best explanation I’ve ever heard. Thank you. Is your user name from the team?
Also, I was under the impression that things may be looking up a little? I have a son who is fanatical about Euro football.
United78 comes from United as in Manchester United and 78 from 1878 when United were originally founded as Newton Heath.
The article written by a United hero Gary Neville, is, I think urging the fans to give Ole, the manager time. Pointing out that he is going back to the United basics of giving youth a chance etc.
The issue for most fans is that they are not patient - after all how did the team fall so fast in such a short space of time? And as United fell, Liverpool and City have risen up. Most of the complaints are also not generally biased against the manager but the CEO (Ed Woodward) and the owners, who are seen as taking huge amounts of money out the club.
A factor which needs to be considered here is that many of the fans earn less in a year than most of these players earn in a week! So when the players "complain" about being tired -- frankly they havent been up since 5 or 6 and going to work and doing manual labor all day. When the modern players says I have to look after my mother - the response from the fans is so do I and I have to do it on a lot less money. So the discontect betwen the players and fans is only increasing. Gone are the days when the average fan knew the players. This is all adding up to discontent.
My view for what its worth is that we do need not necessarily a new CEO but a Director of Football - someone who understands the "moneyball" factor in modern sport. I am also sadly not convinced by Ole -- He can start a game well tactically but cant change the syatem when there are issues. Subs (substitutions) are a factor part of sport!