Football Protests: Do they work?

Here is Ed Wade with his summary of the most influential Football fan protests.

By Ed Wade.

It doesn’t take much to make fans voice their opinions when they get disgruntled, be it with the owners, manager or players. If something isn’t right, it’s not long before we see a march to the stadium, a banner outside the club, a written letter to the board of directors or even a stadium walk out.

We have most recently seen the likes of Liverpool have ticket prices lowered as a result of a stadium walkout, whereas Charlton Athletic will have to see if the weekend’s ‘Coffin’ protest against the club’s owners comes to any fruition. But how often does the protesting actually work?

  1. Liverpool fans reduce ticket price

With the growing amount of money in the Premier League including a new £5-billion-pound TV deal, fans across the UK are sick and tired of paying extortionate ticket prices. For Liverpool fans, £77 was the highest priced match day ticket and it was simply too much. The Kopites staged a mass walkout during their home game against Sunderland during the 77th minute and got their reward. The club Fenway sports group who are the club’s owners lowered the price to £59 and issued a statement of apology. Since then the Premier league has put a cap on prices for match day away tickets at £30. Score one for the fans.

  1. Seville protest the splitting of La Liga television money

The start of the 2016/17 season will see the television money of La Liga split fairly for the first time. With Spanish clubs negotiating their own deals in previous seasons, Real Madrid and Barcelona would take home the lions share, leaving the other La Liga clubs fighting over the scraps. In 2012 this became too much for Seville fans, who had a home match against Levante delayed, so that Spanish broadcasters could show a post ‘Clasico’ press conference. In protest of their treatment, Seville supporters bombarded the pitch with tennis balls. It has taken years to click but finally we will see a more even split of finances amongst Spanish clubs.

  1. Ajax fans wait until the 14th minute to enter stadium

During a champions league game in 2010/11 season, the famous Ajax VAK410 waited until the 14th minute (club legend Johan Cruyff’s number) before taking their seats against AC Milan. Supporters of the club were unhappy at having to fork out 80 euros for a ticket. Banners read ‘against modern football’ as the spectators expressed their views. Unfortunately, the protest didn’t work as UEFA fined Ajax for misconduct and prices remained just as high.

  1. Swedish fans stay silent over crowd rules

During a derby between Swedish giants AIK and Djurgarden in 2011, supporters of both clubs remained in total silence for the first 10 minutes of the game. The fans were protesting against the Swedish FA who had warned that attending football matches could be dangerous and wanted to prove just how much live games would miss the supporters. Such was the silence, you could hear conversations between players. The FA never a blind eye and didn’t really take any notice.

  1. Manchester United supporters try and get a new manager

It was always going to be a difficult job to replace Sir Alex Ferguson. David Moyes endured a torrid time at the club and was a dead man walking for much of the campaign. Fans were so unhappy with performances at the club, they flew a plane over Old Trafford during a game with Aston Villa, costing £840 with a banner reading ‘Wrong one – Moyes out.’ The Scot didn’t last till the end of the season and was sacked with three games remaining.

  1. A chicken goes wild at Ewood Park

During a relegation six pointer between Blackburn and Wigan in 2012. A 23-year old Rovers fan Anthony Taylor released a chicken with a Blackburn flag wrapped around it onto the pitch. It was a clever move as fans were unhappy with the club owners Venky group who, had made their money, you guessed it, by poultry. Things didn’t get better for the club as they lost the game and were relegated to the championship, with the same owners still there.

  1. Brazil protest its own World Cup

With Brazil set to host the 2014 World Cup, masses of public funding was used to build new and adequate stadiums. Brazilians were unhappy considering some of the more pending issues in the country such as housing and schooling, were often ignored. Brazilian authorities ended up firing tear gas during riots in Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro. There were continuous protests during the tournament, which also saw the ITV studio windows receive a battering. From a footballing perspective it was a massively successful tournament but the protests did very little in terms of funding change

  1. Luis Figo gets a head thrown at him

Luis Figo was labelled Judas after his transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000. The Portuguese star had spent five years at the Nou Camp and was a firm fan favourite. That love turned to hatred during the Clasico in Barcelona, though, as amongst all the booing and missiles Figo received, he also had a pig’s head launched at him whilst taking a corner. Figo never complained about Barcelona fans afterwards and really kept his Poker face to remain cool. The Referee suspended the game for 13 minutes, fearing for the safety of the players.


Football supporters are such a key part of the game and make for the whole dynamic of how the game is played. With the game always changing it will be fascinating to see what else supporters have up their sleeve.


See also – 



M.U Reform Required

We look into the structure troubles currently engulfing Old Trafford. This piece was first published in Manchester United’s Red News fanzine on 28/02/2016.

By Danny Wyn Griffith.

Until recently, a particular backroom role was always stigmatised within English Football, only to be regarded a normality amongst most continental sides.

The role in question has seen a couple of mishaps nearly forever tarnishing it’s image in England, despite some incidents being in the relatively distant past.

Recent sour incidents happened with Damian Comolli at Liverpool, Franco Baldini at Tottenham Hotspur and Joe Kinnear with his delirious ‘all my qualities put me head and shoulders above the rest’ rant upon his return to Newcastle.

Manchester United also possess their own chequered past with this role having seen Sir Matt Busby take a similar position when he retired in June 1969, with Wilf McGuiness being elevated to the manager role. That ended with Sir Matt briefly retaking the reigns in December 1970, when McGuiness was subsequently sacked.

This role often seems to either bring out a manager’s forceful or apprehensive side, depending on their personality, as it has reputation for ruffling one’s feathers from the off.

However, it has become abundantly clear that Manchester United desperately requires a Sporting Director or Director of Football in this day and age.

The club requires a figurehead to perform the glue-like role in between Ed Woodward, as Executive Vice Chairman, and the manager – be it Louis van Gaal today, or whoever it may be in the future.

The utter footballing disorganisation that has been allowed to infest the club ever-since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill left in 2013 has taken some doing, and the club is now in desperate need of restructuring from top to bottom.

The ‘one man does all’ managerial likes of a Sir Alex is approaching extinction, with only Arsene Wenger carrying that sword today, perhaps.

Modern day managers require a go-to man that is allowed to focus on tasks that arise outside first team matters, especially given the amount of commercialised PR-driven dribble that is put their way nowadays.

Nevertheless, a football club with the right structure, financial clout and a focused view on where they want to go, and how they want to do it, can go a long way to reaching their end-goal these days.

Manchester United need a club philosophy in terms of recruitment, youth development and playing style that doesn’t end up with someone in the dugout holding a Filofax containing notes on the ‘Ten best ways to cure Insomnia’.

The hierarchy have taken their focus off the youth academy to such an extent, that they’ve had to undertake a so-called ‘root and branch review’ of its dealings following a ten-match losing streak at U18 level.

This resulted in a departure for the long-serving Paul McGuiness, who fulfilled numerous club roles and nurtured many a talent over the years, at the beginning of February.

Remarkably, the youth teams have been so under resourced at times this season that they’ve had to wait until one age group finishes a match, in order to run a player over to be part of another age group’s squad.

Even more astoundingly, it took the club ten months and two rejections by known Reds in Oxford manager, Michael Appleton and Tottenham Hotspur’s Head of Youth Development, John McDermott to realise that the answer to Brian McClair’s long standing void already laid at the club in Nicky Butt.

In addition to this, we approach each summer transfer window in overconfident fashion, only to be outmanoeuvred and made a laughing stock amongst our rivals due to our incompetence and sheer ignorance, before adopting a scattergun-like approach come the end of August.

To make matters worse, Manchester City have shown United the correct way of late, by employing former Barcelona kingpins Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain to head their footballing programme as CEO and Sporting Director, which has now resulted in Pep Guardiola joining the club for a three-year stint before another so-called project takes his fancy.

All of this whilst United’s own Ed Woodward’s official job description on the club’s investor relations page ( reads his mammoth duties in plain black and white:

Edward Woodward, aged 43, is Executive Vice Chairman and a Director of Manchester United plc. Mr Woodward oversees the club as a whole having joined in 2005. Since 2013, Mr. Woodward has taken responsibility for all aspects of the football club, including transfers and the world famous Manchester United Academy.

Therefore, it should be no bombshell whatsoever that the footballing side of the club is in such disarray, given the man in charge specialises in investment banking, commercial operations and qualified as a Chartered Accountant from PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1997 after receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics at Bristol University in 1993.

Now tell me, what exactly has any of that got to do with Football?

Forget the current conundrum regarding the United Kingdom’s position within the European Union; Manchester United and Old Trafford requires reform first and foremost.


First published in Red News Issue 232 on 28/02/2016.

The Smalling Wall

Chris Smalling has enjoyed a rise in stature since Louis van Gaal arrived in Manchester. Here we look at the improvements he’s made.


By Danny Wyn Griffith.

Slowly walking off The Etihad turf last November, Chris Smalling’s face was awash with deep regret.

He had just been sent off in the 168th Manchester Derby and given Manchester City the edge in a match they had thus far been second best in. He was jeered off by both sets of fans. A rare site nowadays.

He proved the catalyst in a narrow 1-0 defeat to their local rivals. The Manchester United section went home cursing the Chris Smalling effect.

His first yellow card was needless, whilst the second bordered on career-suicide. That seemed to have guaranteed his departure from Manchester United come the end of the season – I was convinced of it.

Less than a year on from that day at Eastlands, his Manchester United career seems to have been restarted all over again. It was nothing more than a sharp learning curve, it seems. I’ve happily reconsidered my opinion of him since.

He has transformed himself from a nervy-lank into arguably the best performing defender of the English Premier League season so far.

He is Louis van Gaal’s go-to-man when it comes to defensive matters. He’s relished the task at hand without any qualms.

A Chris Smalling that seems to be growing in stature by the game is now marshalling a Manchester United defence that has been ridiculed since the heyday of a Nemanja Vidic/Rio Ferdinand partnership.

Louis van Gaal’s constant reminding of the process can be tiring at times, although he deserves praise for the development he’s overseen in Chris Smalling’s game.

Surprisingly, the Iron Tulip refused to accept any praise when questioned on the matter whilst suggesting the player himself was the one who took the initiative.

He said: “I think that the player when he does things, he does it always by himself.

“I help him with advice and demands, with training sessions, showing images to improve him.

“But he has to be open and he has to perform on the pitch. He does everything himself. The greatest compliment you need to make is to Chris, not to me.”

The difference in Chris Smalling’s defensive statistics since Louis van Gaal arrived underlines the Dutchman’s effect.

Per game – according to he now averages at least 0.8 tackles, 1.2 clearances and an interception more than at any other point during his top-flight career.

He’s developed a bully-type presence when facing Premier League strikers – see Romelu Lukaku last week – whilst every ball crossed into the box seems to have his name on it.

However, a sense of elegance has also been added to his game.

He was renowned for being shaky on the ball. It always seemed like an earthquake was taking place between his feet. He’d receive the ball and get rid of it pronto. If he dared to venture from defence, he was odds-on to turn around and pass back to his closest ally.

Chris Smalling was no Franz Beckenbauer.

Nevertheless, a look at his passing stats since Van Gaal arrived on Manchester highlights a startling improvement in his all-round game.

Since the start of last season, he averages at least 18.6 passes per game more than at any other point in his career whilst averaging an 87.5% pass completion rate.

He finished last season ranked in 20th place with an 88.6% pass completion rate – just behind accomplished passers such as Yaya Toure (17th place – 88.9%) and ahead of Nemanja Matic (36th place – 86.4%).

Evidence of his improvement is there for all to see.

Tomorrow will be the 170th Manchester Derby, and the first that Smalling knowingly heads into as a starter – barring any injury.

He’s a vital part of the backbone that has propelled Manchester United to the higher reaches of the English Premier League of late. He also grabbed a goal during the last meeting between both sides at Old Trafford in April.

The manager even talked him up as a future Manchester United and England captain this past week – further emphasising his sudden importance in the Dutchman’s eyes.

The boy from Greenwich has developed into one of Louis van Gaal’s most trusted confidants and he doesn’t seem to be looking back.

by Danny Wyn Griffith.

Chelsea In Crisis, They Say.

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have struggled so far this term. Tommie Collins (@CymroPort) gives his opinion on the matter.


By Tommie Collins.

As a long standing Chelsea fan since the 70’s, this so-called crisis amuses me.

The Chelsea team I chose to support because of the white stripe on their shorts – who went 27 years without winning a trophy of note – that previously teetered on the brink of relegation to the old Third Division in 1983 – who sack managers at will – that were European Champions three years ago and won the league at a canter last season.

They are now in the middle of a crisis, apparently.

Chelsea have the most successful manager in their history at the helm – although some beg to differ that we don’t actually have a history.

However, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are now languishing in the lower reaches of the English Premier League with rival fans tipping the special, grumpy or sometimes happy one as the next in line for the chop.

Come on, will you – we were a poor side in crisis way back in those heady days of the late 70’s and early 80’s. See above for more details.

Onto this current crisis we go.

We are talking about the team who romped to the title a few months back, with fans and press alike handing out plaudits to the likes of John Terry, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas – who I had reservations about from the start.

Why you ask? It was nothing to do with Cesc really, it had everything to do with the club’s philosophy of signing young players at will only to loan them out to other clubs – eh let’s just say a certain club that participate in the Dutch Eredivise.

It was the sheer arrogance of the club’s “we’ll buy because we can” attitude. I and many other long-term fans believed youth should have had their chance.

This current crisis is thought to have started back in pre-season – or the lack of it, according to some murmurs.

Too many players have underperformed since. Ivanovic, Matic, Hazard and Fabregas spring to mind. The latter, according to some fans that go week in, week out seems like he just doesn’t have the desire to perform at the top level every match: he’s been having a right mare, actually.

So José the magician is having his first crisis as a manager.

The Eva Carneiro incident has clearly affected him and the club also. In my opinon, José got that wrong.

The indiscriminate substitutions and dropping of players – especially the captain, leader, legend John Terry – suggests that something is wrong in the camp.

The futile attempt to coax John Stones from Everton ended in disaster and gave a message that José can no longer buy anyone he takes a fancy to. This also proved another kick in the teeth for many a youngster waiting in the shadows.

Chelsea have made errors in the past by sacking or not awarding contracts to managers at vital times. The McCreadie incident with the row in the 70’s springs to mind, whilst more recently you have the Carlo Ancelotti dismissal.

Getting rid of Ancelotti was a huge mistake, in my opinion. A mistake the club took a long time to recover from. Therefore, we need to stick with José now.

For some fans, this man can do no wrong and they’re entitled to their opinions, but for me he should toe the line and keep quiet during some situations. If the dressing room holds egos and players want him out, then they are doing a mighty good job of accomplishing it.

In life, we all make mistakes and should show some humility when they are made. I think it’s time for the special one to admit to the former and improve on the latter, perhaps.

Keep the faith.

Tommie Collins.

Tommie with José last season.

More is Expected, Memphis.

Memphis Depay hasn’t been at his best of late. Here, we look at the the reasons behind his form.


By Danny Wyn Griffith.

“He’s our new boy on the wing, Memphis Depay…” sang Manchester United fans to the Because I Got High – Afroman tune whilst building up to their first away match of the season at Villa Park in August.

Two months on, Memphis Depay could be dropped for this Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash at Goodison Park, according to numerous reports.

The Dutchman arrived in Manchester with high expectations following a twenty-five goal return at PSV Eindhoven last season. So far, things haven’t materialised to that extent having twice been substituted at half-time in his past six appearances for Louis van Gaal’s side.

It definitely seems as if Depay has found the pace and demand of the English game difficult thus far, having excelled in the UEFA Champions League.

His stats seem to back-up the thought that he’s currently more adept to European opposition. His UEFA Champions League stats show he’s had 1.9 shots, 0.6 dribbles and a key-pass per game more compared to his showings in the English Premier League, according to

He has three goals in four European games, compared to just one in eight domestically. The cross he provided for Marouane Fellaini’s late header against Club Brugge in August is his only assist of the season – the match he scored two of his four United goals, in fact.

However, reports have emerged that exterior aspects might be hampering his game with a reported dressing-down having been given to him by United’s assistant, Ryan Giggs.

Although Louis van Gaal warned of a potential bedding-in period being required, stories of this sort were not expected so early on in his Manchester United career – despite past off-field problems.

He himself already seems quite wary of the demands asked of him when recently questioned about the difference between the English and Dutch league in leading Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf.

He said: “There are a lot of games in Manchester. There are very few rest days and on training days you are mainly concerned with recovering.

“It’s heavy, two games a week, always at a high level, and my body has to get used to that.”

Memphis seemed to be a confident and carefree soul when he took PSV to the Eredivise title last season.

This season, he seems to have had his wings clipped.

Louis van Gaal’s reserved playing style and the increased competitive nature of the Premier League haven’t helped matters. You also wonder if he’s taken too much for granted early on in his Red Devils career.

However, a reprieve in Ashley Young’s knock might see him given another opportunity to impress this Saturday.

If he does, United fans might just be going home high on Holland’s finest.

The Basque Gem of Manchester

Drinking Kalimotxos with Basque locals after Manchester United’s defeat to Athletic Bilbao, whilst praising a certain Ander Herrera..

By Danny Wyn Griffith.

Ander Herrera first came to my attention during the Europa League tie against Athletic Bilbao in 2012.

He dominated the midfield during both ties, and emphasised Marcelo Bielsa’s philosophy at the San Mamés with his industrious performance.

A mate and myself were left praising him and his team whilst drinking Kalimotxos (Pints of Red wine and Coke) with locals after the 2-1 second leg defeat on that night in Bilbao.

United officials also took note, and finally completed the deal two years on from the humbling defeat in the Basque Country.

Given his mesmerising recent performances for Manchester United, the mind-boggling question is – How did Ander Herrera become United’s “odd man out” in the first place?

Nearly seven months ago on a sunny afternoon in the M16 0RA area against QPR, United fans sensed the much-needed complete midfielder had finally been delivered.

Ander Herrera of the Basque Country produced a swashbuckling performance in which he produced a goal and gave glimpse to midfield capabilities not seen since the heyday of the legendary, and particularly hard-to-replace, Paul Scholes.

Ander went on to start cementing his first-team place, and despite the patchy form United kept producing, his new venture seemed rosy.

This was until a fractured rib against West Ham brought a stop to his progress at the end of September. He was not seen for a month afterwards, until he made his comeback during the Monday night match against West Bromwich Albion.

According to reports, he picked up another knock on the ribs during the first half, and was hauled off at half time. His replacement, Marouane Fellaini, made an instant impact with a goal-scoring second-half performance and the rest was history.

Fellaini, ridiculed throughout his Manchester United career thus far, had now become indispensable in Louis Van Gaal’s eyes.

Herrera was reintroduced to the line-up nine days on against Hull City and produced an assist on his return. This would prove to be a false dawn, though.

He was pulled out of the starting line-up after the unconvincing 2-1 victory away at Southampton, in which he was substituted after 51mins, and was only seen from the beginning against lowly Yeovil Town over the course of the next two months.

To make matters worse for Herrera, The Iron Tulip reached an opinion that he was too much of a risk taker for a team looking for results, rather than performances.

What must be remembered is Ander Herrera was the main standout performer for Manchester United on that cold evening in Yeovil. He produced a 20yard effort rewarding of the man seen as Paul Scholes’ replacement, which lifted United past the League One strugglers.

However, Louis Van Gaal had other ideas. He proceeded to drop Wayne Rooney into a midfield three – sometimes as the holding-midfielder – and kept Herrera watching on from the bench.

His absence came around the same time his name was dragged into a match-fixing case going back to his time with Real Zaragoza. This might have been Van Gaal’s way of taking him out of the limelight. Who knows?

Herrera’s reprieve came due to an unfortunate injury picked up by Daley Blind during the first-half against Burnley under the Old Trafford lights on February 11th. On came Herrera, and he hasn’t looked back since.

You’d expect a player to be out-of-touch given the lack of competitive playing time he’d seen over the previous two months. However, it became immediately clear that Herrera is a natural footballer. His “off the cuff” instincts and effort outweigh any lack of match sharpness that his absence might have caused.

He built on his encouraging cameo performance against Burnley by scoring in the next two matches away at Preston and Swansea, respectively.

Ander Herrera has been a mainstay in United’s midfield ever-since. Deservedly so, may I add.

United’s renaissance could be put down to recent stability and Van Gaal’s firm choice on formation more than anything else. However, Ander Herrera’s reintroduction coinciding with the run of form should not be ignored.

In my eyes, he’s the fine definition of a complete-midfielder. He brings box-to-box elements to a midfield that has looked static – to say the least – over the last few years.

In addition, his eye for that final ball certainly cannot be faulted. Look no further than the pass he produced for Juan Mata’s opener away at Anfield. The link-up play and “brotherly-love” United’s midfield Spaniards put on show that afternoon is something the Red Army should get giddy about.

Manchester United fans would have been forgiven if they thought the International Break had come along at the wrong time, given the form on show.

They were to be proven wrong though, as Herrera and co. produced another solid performance against Aston Villa this past weekend.

It might have been Rooney’s stunning finish that stole the headlines, but it was Herrera’s brace which emphasised his importance to this current United side.

In this form, he is truly un-droppable. The Basque gem of Manchester is certainly here to stay.


By @dannywgriffith.


Info used above sourced from and Picture sourced from


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