The photo of David Beckham wearing a green and gold scarf applauding Manchester United supporters at Old Trafford is PR the leaders of the Glazer protest campaign couldn’t have scripted better.
Not surprisingly, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust followed up this morning with an email to their 100,000+ list smartly capitalising on the moment:
I’m sure you were watching the incredible moment last night when Beckham bathed in green and gold. It’s moments like this that justify all the collective effort we’ve been putting into this campaign. We are showing our strength. We are making a real difference.
Last night we welcomed a legend back to Old Trafford – now we need to capitalise on this moment and bring other United heroes into our fold.
We’ve just written a letter to Beckham, Cantona and all of the former United players which calls on them to join our campaign to reclaim United. As a show of support we want you to add your name to the letter too – we’ll then deliver it and the names of all of the people who have signed it, to the players and the media.
This is our chance to reach out to the United players who built our club – who led from the front and defined United’s success over the past decades. But our club is in trouble – we need them to lead United again right here, right now.
The letter goes on to conclude that “Last night, Beckham united with the fans and led by example. Beckham has shown his true colours, now it’s up to us to show ours – we need to build on this moment and build on this chance for change.”
Again, this is a fine example of the professional nature of the protest campaign. The photo of Beckham from last night has been embedded into the header of the letter. One public moment and he’s now the figurehead of the campaign.
Beckham, though, might have received a phone call or two after the game, as he distanced himself from the political implication of the green and gold:
“I’m a Manchester United fan and when I saw the scarf I wanted to put it round my neck,” Beckham explained. “It’s the old colours of United but, to be honest, it’s not my business. I’m a United fan and I support the club. I always will, but it’s got nothing to do with me how it’s run. That’s all to do with other people. I just support the team. I will always support the team.”
It’s always a little sad to hear say someone say they support a team but that how it’s run is not their business, but it doesn’t really matter much what Beckham says about it after the fact. It’s always been about the imagery for Beckham, the iconic moments, and this lasting image is a moment worth a fortune to the protest movement whatever was actually whirring in Beckham’s brain when he put on the scarf.
“Change can and will happen – we just need to fight for it,” MUST’s email to 100,000 concludes. “Last night thousands of green and gold scarves were on show in Old Trafford. One rested on the shoulders of an icon.” And that’s worth a million to MUST.
- If you can find it amidst perhaps the most ad-plastered news site I have ever seen, northjersey.com has a few interesting comments from New York Red Bulls managing director Eric Stover, including a proud claim that they might hit 8,000 season ticket holders by the end of the month. Which, I guess, is a big improvement (or he wouldn’t be happily bandying about the number), but means the Red Bulls still have enormous single game sales work to do to keep the 25,000 arena reasonably full each game. Still, improvement is improvement.
- In a more aesthetically pleasing and thoughtful piece about the state of soccer in the New York area, This Is American Soccer features an op-ed on a “last chance for MLS in Manhattan”: “RBNY has its new home, but another structure’s future also places the city’s soccer future in the wind. Pier 40, one of the largest and most-used sports facilities in Manhattan, is in dire need of rehabilitation. Just as with RBNY, many plans have failed. But Greenwich Village resident Patrick Shields thinks he has the answer.”
- Fake Sigi says “foreign investment in MLS has nothing to do with collective bargaining”. And I’m pretty sure he’s right.
- Speaking of the MLS labour dispute, Steven Goff reports that with a mediator now at the table, the owners and players “keep talking”.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.