Man United uprising grows

MANCHESTER, England - More than 20000 Manchester United fans joined the campaign to force out the club's US owners in 24 hours, the leader of the protest group said yesterday.

MANCHESTER, England - More than 20000 Manchester United fans joined the campaign to force out the club's US owners in 24 hours, the leader of the protest group said yesterday.

Manchester United Supporters Trust (Must) is campaigning to force the Glazer family to sell the club, which now carries debts of about £716,5million (R8,1billion).

Must is backing a move by a group of wealthy supporters known as the "Red Knights", who are planning to raise more than £1billion (R11,3billion) to buy the club from the US family who have owned it since 2005. The Glazers launched a bond issue last month to raise £500million (R5,6billion) in a bid to realign their debts.

Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of Must, said yesterday that after the Red Knights' plans were made public a day earlier, there had been an "incredible uptake" in support of the campaign.

"A month ago, prior to the publication of the bond prospectus, Must membership stood at 36000 members. Last night, that figure had doubled to an amazing 78 000 members... now bigger than Old Trafford itself," Drasdo said yesterday.

Meanwhile, club chief executive David Gill said on Tuesday that United continued to be a well-run club after it reported an improved financial performance. - Reuters

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